In business, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. Sales goals, margins, expenses, etc. – a lot of those reports come across my desk. But as 2017 comes to a close, I find myself focusing at some figures more than others.
Inspired by Dave Sheridan at Protective Life Insurance, I wanted to share some data that maybe doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Here are three numbers:
I’ll give you a couple hints. The first and third figures come from all lines of business combined. The second is from our life insurance division. You don’t have to guess – here are the stories behind them.
As we embark on a new year, these numbers will stay etched in my mind. We’re in this business because we care. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. Every. Single. Day.
I’ll leave you with some words that I’m sure you’ll read again and again in 2018 … these words are my promise, and the promise of every person on our team: Whatever the question, whatever the need. Ash Answers.
Around here, interns don’t just sit on the sidelines – they’re in the game working with some of the best in the business! We want to help grow the next generation of professionals because we know they’ll help us grow in return.
We recently asked our interns an important question: What was your first impression of Ash Brokerage? We’re flattered by what they had to say!
I like that everyone is treated as a valuable member of the Ash team. Even as an intern, I got to jump right into the deep end and help fill a role within the company.
Of course, the cool new building left an awesome first impression, but the people are what really left a lasting impression on me. Everyone was very welcoming and made me feel like this is right where I belong! Not to mention their passion for their work and dedication to helping others.
Everyone at Ash Brokerage has been extremely welcoming since day one. The people here are a close-knit community that are passionate about their work with a strong vision for the future.
Coming from a manufacturing environment, I was thoroughly impressed with Ash. The environment change was almost overwhelming. Extremely impressed with the consistency of infrastructure. I was used to working with companies who priorities were not keeping up to date with computer systems. This would make my job extremely difficult. All in all, it’s a great company and I look forward to continuing my work here.
People at Ash work together to create good results in a professional manner, employees want to see each other succeed; they receive any question and are happy to help! Overall, Ash seems like a great place to learn and work!
I never imagined that so many of my co-workers would become my friends.
Want to see what they’re talking about? Make your own first impressions by applying to join our team. See our current openings at: http://www.ashbrokerage.com/Careers/Openings
Several months ago, more than 40 women of Ash Brokerage raised their hands. They joined together to help build new homes – and new lives – for local families.
Our team, “Big Ash Hammers and Heels,” was part of 10th annual Habitat for Humanity Women Build, where all-female teams from the area came together to volunteer, raise funds and create awareness for Habitat in a special way.
Before you hear about our team’s experiences, you should know a few things about Habitat for Humanity. First of all, it’s not a hand out – it’s a hand up. Contrary to popular belief, the homes built by the organization are NOT free. The families who are selected for the program pay zero-interest mortgages, making the dream of homeownership possible for those who would otherwise not be able to afford it. They are required to take classes on personal finance and put many hours of “sweat equity” into their home and the homes of other families in the program.
The Greater Fort Wayne program is unique in that it has created a community of homes at Fuller’s Landing, a subdivision off Cook Road. The plot of land was donated to Habitat several years ago and has 110 lots. So far, they’ve built 28 homes with a goal to finish 10 more in 2017.
The idea of building a community was based off a similar program in Nashville, where they realized that Habitat families have a special bond and tend to look out for each other. They also made sure to add a front porch to every home because studies show that front-porch communities tend to have lower crime rates.
The Fort Wayne program is so popular – and there is such a need – there are already 27 families on a three-year waiting list. For now, they’ve had to close the application process.
Two other fun facts about Habitat in Fort Wayne:
In addition to volunteering at Fuller’s Landing for a day, the members of Big Ash Hammers and Heels were tasked with raising money to support Habitat for Humanity. Here are the final results of our efforts:
We asked our Women Build participants to share a bit about their work with the project. Some had previous experience with the Women Build or other Habitat builds, but for many, it was their first time volunteering. Their stories are both inspiring and entertaining!
Learning about Habitat for Humanity and what they REALLY do was inspirational in and of itself. I learned how to hang siding and soffit, how to install cabinet doors and adjust/level them, and they even trusted me with a nail gun – yikes! The two team leads I worked with weren’t experienced: one was a retired software/IT guy and the other was a school teacher. Just like me, they didn’t really have experience when they started their volunteer journey – they’re just giving their time to a family that in the end is going to have a real home to call their own!
Funny note: Everyone thinks having to listen to “safety” and wear the hard hat and safety glasses is annoying, but let me tell you why they do it. Not 10 minutes into working, Jessica Garman wacked me across the head with a two-by-four. Thank GOODNESS I had a hard hat!
I signed up to raise money to support Habitat’s mission and give back to an amazing cause that impacts so many lives. Last year was such a great experience that I wanted to be a part of Ash’s team again this year and raise some money! BIG THANKS to Ash for allowing us to make a BIG IMPACT for Habitat for Humanity families in Fort Wayne!
This year I was able to experience electrical work. (NO LIVE WIRES!) We ran cable and phone lines. (Yes, they can have a real telephone in their home.) We finished all the outlets and made sure they were ready for inspection, which was the following day. I later found out we passed!
The most memorable thing about our workday was the amount of mud and rain we were dealing with. It created an extra challenge, but it really contributed to our feeling of solidarity as we all dealt with it together. We created walkways over mud with extra boards, we warned each other about puddles as we walked blindly with dry wall, and all of us took turns trudging through the thick muddy spots to get to our materials. By the end of the day, we had embraced the rainy chaos and felt like we really worked hard and well together.
It was pretty cool to get to meet the homeowner, who stopped by while we were working on her home. A lot of great people working together to make dreams happen – I would 100 percent encourage others to volunteer at least once. I can’t even put into works how humbling the experience was. I am definitely looking forward to going back.
I learned a couple of things while working on the house, one from my crew chief and one from my personal experience:
This was my second year volunteering for Habitat, and each year I feel like I enjoy it more. All of the site leaders were so friendly and encouraging. It was also neat because I found out that one of the leaders knew my dad, so I enjoyed making that connection with him. I would encourage others to volunteer because just think about how important your own home is to you and the smile on someone’s face when they receive their new home which they’ve worked so hard for. It can really change a family’s life.
This was my third try with the Habitat group. The first time was totally unorganized so we just stood around, second time got rained out but, as they say, the third time is a charm. Kristy Holland and I worked inside a house running electrical, telephone and cable wiring. Our “supervisor/instructor” was wonderful – he is an instructor for the electrician’s apprentice program. In addition to giving good instruction and letting us roll after that, he shared the story of the homeowner we were doing this work for. She takes care of her niece who is disabled, and this house represents a permanent home for her. I am very familiar with losing it all, building back up, and finally being able to purchase a home of my own (in my case, again). These are amazing stories, and it is an amazing organization with volunteers doing work from the heart. I will definitely do it again next year!
Once we were on site, I realized that one of the houses we were going to be working on was actually for a girl who graduated high school with my daughter and is now a single mother. She comes from a great family, so I was so excited to be able to help build her and her daughter a place to call their own. Pretty powerful stuff!
My funny takeaway: Our team job on build day was to put up siding, so being able to learn that skill was pretty cool … I tell everyone I can now side a house, but only the bottom 5 feet – you’re responsible for the rest! (No ladders for this girl!)
This is my fifth time volunteering for a Habitat build; however, it was the first time I learned that this isn’t charity per se. It is way for people who have had it rough to stand back up and take hold of their finances. This is an organization that offers a chance to own a home to someone who wouldn’t be considered otherwise. I thought it was amazing that the homeowner not only volunteers time toward building someone else’s home, but also takes budgeting and finance classes, and saves for a down payment. I appreciate that this organization isn’t giving a hand out, but a hand up. I am glad to have been a part of that.
Our build day was overcast, rainy and muddy from rains during the week – not at all what I wanted for this day. As we walked from the host house to the build site, even though I had on a rain poncho, I still got pretty wet. I was thinking, “Great what a way to start my day!” The day ended up being educational, fun and fulfilling. I got on the electrical team, and Bruce the foreman showed us how to install electrical boxes and run the wiring. He emphasized to us to look at this house like we were going to live here – well, that put a different light on things! While putting electrical boxes in the kitchen, my team discovered some of the boxes weren’t all the same height from where the kitchen counter would be – so we redid three of them and made sure the rest around the counter were all the same height.
After lunch we went outside (it had stopped raining). We sorted and restacked usable materials and threw trash away. You guessed it – our shoes got pretty muddy! Our team even took a picture of our muddy shoes! I can’t remember the last time I have been so muddy that it was a chore to pick up my foot – it actually was fun! Being a small part of the big project was an awesome way to help women get affordable housing – and now I have electrical experience as well!
The women’s build was such a great experience! We all worked extremely hard as a team, and it was truly rewarding to know all of our efforts were for others. I left with a great feeling of accomplishment and could hardly move the next day from running the air gun most of the day – I used muscles that hadn’t been worked like that in a while!
It was a great experience. When you combine helping others with enhancing friendships, the result is nothing but joy.
To our partners in protecting lives:
Life insurance isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean our work has to be difficult. That’s why Ash Brokerage is rolling out changes that will simplify and streamline your business. To give you better, faster and more accurate service, starting June 5, e-delivery will be used for life insurance cases with the following carriers:
E-delivery is just one piece of a suite of electronic tools you can use to make your work easier. I strongly encourage you to take full advantage of our e-application and e-delivery platforms – not just with the carriers listed above, but with any carrier you’re working with. With simplified and streamlined service, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner.
By using our full offering of electronic tools for e-applications and e-delivery, you’ll:
|Ensure proper forms are used and apps are in good order (IGO)
No circling back for missing requirements
|Reduce your overhead costs
No printing or mailing required
|Allow clients to engage on their terms
Take delivery on the go; collect signatures from multiple parties at the same time
|Improve cycle times and placement ratios
Close more cases and get your commissions faster
Earlier this year, our case management teams were restructured to include e-application specialists. Your e-app case manager is trained and ready to help you make an easy transition to our digital platforms. If you haven’t already, you can reach out to them to get started on your next case.
Cases can still be processed via paper application, but after you experience the ease of doing business digitally, you may not want to go back!
I promise you this: No matter the case size, we’re here to help. A computer will never replace our care and commitment to you. We’re here to help you build your business and protect your clients’ lives. That will never change.
Tim Ash is known as a visionary in the financial services community. He is an industry leader who envisions a future where insurance is easy, affordable and an essential part of a sound financial plan.
As CEO of Ash Brokerage, Tim has fostered an environment of success with team-focused empowerment and client-centered service. He has built a culture where people not only believe in what they do, but more importantly, they understand the reason behind their efforts. Everyone at Ash Brokerage knows their work makes a difference — in the lives of their clients and their communities.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
You can’t always control what kind of challenges life will throw at you. But, you can always choose how you respond. Just ask Ash Brokerage’s own Kristin Snyder, who has turned a very difficult situation into an inspiration.
In May 2015, Kristin’s son Daniel was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). This causes Daniel to see with tunnel vision, which will progressively get worse over time. The tunnel will get smaller, and eventually, it will result in complete blindness.
Daniel developed RP from a related genetic disease called Cohen Syndrome, which is characterized by intellectual and physical disabilities, congenital neutropenia, autism and retinal degeneration. He is currently 11 years old but functions at a 2- to 3-year-old level. Because of his developmental disabilities, he does not understand why he cannot see at times or that he’ll one day go blind.
“As we drove home from Riley Hospital after Daniel’s diagnosis, my husband and I began researching and found the Fort Wayne Vision Walk, which benefits the Foundation Fighting Blindness. We immediately decided we wanted to help find a treatment/cure and formed ‘Team Daniel’ to help raise money and awareness,” Kristin said.
Team Daniel has since become a force. They’ve not only participated in the Fort Wayne Vision Walk for two years, but they’ve also participated in other fundraising efforts to support the Foundation Fighting Blindness, whose mission is to drive research providing preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by blinding retinal diseases. Check out this video from the 2016 Vision Walk.
In the 15 months since Daniel was diagnosed, Team Daniel has raised more than $15,000 for the Foundation – and they’re not done. The team’s second annual online silent auction is set for Dec. 14. Last year, they raised almost $3,000 with the auction, which is supported by donations from individuals and businesses.
“Team Daniel gives our family hope and something positive to focus on. We’ve succeeded in turning a very negative situation into something positive and inspiring,” Kristin said.
The Ash Brokerage family has joined her in support. During one of our Friday Morning Meetings, Tim Ash explained why we’ve all been inspired by Kristin and her family.
“Kristin hit this challenge head-on,” Tim said. The average person would have responded with a ‘Why me?’ attitude, but she didn’t let this humongous challenge bring her down. That, to me, is award-worthy. She would probably say the wind in her sails is from her teammates, family and friends, but she has definitely set the example to follow.”
In March, the Snyders traveled to the University of Iowa to participate in new research focused on genetic mutations and a gene editing platform that may be able to reverse blindness in individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa. This research is funded by the FFB and may provide Daniel with treatment options.
No matter the outcome of the research, Team Daniel will continue to raise money and awareness.
To support Team Daniel and the Foundation Fighting Blindness, you can visit Team Daniel's Vision Walk Page.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.