Born in Frederick Memorial Hospital “way too many years ago”, Sean has moved around Frederick County. “I spent the first 14 years of my life in the Urbana area,” says Sean. He points out that it was “back when Urbana had cows and tractor dealerships. And, the Turning Point Inn was actually a private residence.”
He then lived in the Johnsville area and attended Walkersville High School. Sticking to his home turf, Sean went on to Frederick Community College and then Maryland’s Frostburg State University.
The Solution to A Tough Job Market? Ski Through It!
Graduating with an Accounting Degree in 1991, he was met with a depressed job market. Having become an avid skier while in college, Sean headed to Colorado where he spent the next year as a ski bum. Well…not quite.
It’s tough to live on the love of skiing alone. Sean drove horse-drawn sleighs for Keystone Ski Resort and fully enjoyed it! Then, it was back to the East Coast and the real working world.
He landed a job in the Accounting Department of the Standard Federal Savings Bank. About a year and a half later, he moved on to a position as a Credit Analyst at Farmers and Mechanics Bank.
Sean is kind enough to enlighten those of us who wonder how his educational background fit into a banking career. “A Credit Analyst,” he explains, “is kind of a bridge. You need accounting knowledge but it’s a banking environment. That’s how my Accounting Degree wound up in a Bank.”
A Steady Climb Up The Corporate Ladder And Then A Big Leap
“I guess they thought I had a little more personality than the average Accountant, and when the opportunity came about, they moved me into a Juniior Lending position.” Eventually, Sean was doing regular Commercial Lending and continued doing so for a decade. Then, from 2006-2012, Sean was a Commercial Lender at Sandy Springs Bank.
Everything was going great until the economy went south. “It was a wonderful professsion. I loved it! It was very good to me,” says Sean. “Obviously, when the recession hit, there weren’t too many loans to go around.”
Call it Fate…call it serendipity…call it what you wish but the opportunity for a career shift popped up out of the blue. Sean was suddenly approached by a soon-to-be-retiring Nationwide Insurance agent with the offer of taking over his long-established Agency. This wasn’t an ominous offer by some stranger. “He was my Agent since I was sixteen!”
“In a normal market environment, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought,” shares Sean. “But, with the recession, and with the Banking Industry being kind of down, I’d give it some thought. And, I took the leap!”
Sean is quite candid about what the career change has been like. He left his previous job to …well…to take another job. But now, he’s the owner and works for himself. Three years into it, he has no regrets about making the switch from a Lender in Commercial Banking to Nationwide Insurance Agency Entrepreneur.
“On most days, I say I couldn’t be happier. As I tell people, if this job was easy, everybody would be doing it. It has its peaks and valleys but it has been a wonderful experience. I’m glad to be able to help the Community.”
A Long-Time Active Member Of The Community
Sean serves Frederick County with pride. “I was Frederick’s #1 Fan before it was cool to be a fan of Frederick!” (Well, that settles that!) He goes on to point out that he was groomed to participate. In his Banking career, he was always expected to be part of the Community; to volunteer; to sit on boards. “That’s what people in that profession do.”
Still, there are only so many hours in a day and only so many ways to divide them up – even for a number cruncher. “When I got into Insurance, I had to cut back a little bit because it was a complete career change.
Naturally, it took up much more of my time.” Sean continues, “I was not only running a business; I was learning an entire industry! So, I pared back a little bit. I still volunteer whenever I can.” Let’s see..
He used to be on the Downtown Frederick Partnerships Board so he still volunteers for them for Alive at 5. He’s the current Board President of the Tourism Council of Frederick County. He’ll gladly talk about the “shiny new Visitor Center” right off the corners of East and South Streets.
“Ive been on that Board for about 10 years. I was on the path to the Presidency when I took this Insurance job.” Sean came close to bowing out of his position because of the commitment that was needed to make the transition in careers. Lucky for Frederick County, he stuck with it!
He’ll be the acting President for another six months, and then, as he puts it, “I’ll coast into the ol’ immediate past-President cushy life and serve out my time as a regular Board member.” Sounds like there might be some well-deserved family time in the mix.
The Hottest, Steamiest Event Of Sean’s Life
It’s a date he’ll never forget – July 15, 1995. It was one of the hottest days ever in Frederick County, and, it was his wedding day! (What were YOU thinking?)
How hot was it? A balmy 106 Degrees. And, the heat index? An incredible 123 Degrees! It was so hot that all of the outside wedding events had to be scrapped, including the planned convertible ride from the church to the reception. Sean and Heather Quill are celebrating their 20th Wedding Anniversary this year.
“My better half is a 23-year employee of Frederick County Public Schools. She’s currently the Guidance Counselor at Parkway Elementary School, after spending a number of years at Monocacy Elementary School.”
Taking a peek further back, Heather was also at Whittier Elementary. It all began with her first position at the North Frederick Elementary School. Sean tells us, “Her background in Counseling has served me very well.”
Now that he’s an Entrepreneur, he’s an avid reader of books that can advance his career. He’s currently reading “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz, Ph.D., one of the many books on selling that have caught his interest.
The Family That Skis Together…
Family time is very important to the Quills. Sean, Heather and their two daughters are avid and active snow skiers. The sport that Sean latched onto in his college days is now enjoyed by the entire family.
He points out some of the reasons why it’s the perfect family activity. For starters, unlike golf or softball, it’s suitable for all ages and all abilities. They often ski the same slopes and there’s a lot of fun and social interaction.
“It allows you to focus on family and the experience. It’s a very unique bond that we have. My daughter Kampbell and I spend a lot of time skiing together, even though she’s much better than me now.”
Kampbell, 13, attends Monocacy Middle School and is an enthusiastic runner and saxaphone player. Sean is quick to add that she’s ‘a fantastic cook who has the luxury of knowing exactly what she wants to do with her life long before most people.”
She’s been interested in stirring things up in the kitchen since she was old enough to stand at a stove. A quick review of Kampbell’s Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting? “It’s to die for!” And, that’s coming from Dad – a taster who isn’t that into chocolate.
Khloe, 16, is into volleyball, theatre and track. She attends TJ (Gov. Thomas Johnson) High School and recently attended a Leadership Conference at Mount St. Mary’s. She also recently got her Learner’s Permit and it prompts a drive down Memory Lane.
Sean happens to be the oldest of eight ‘first cousins’ in a very tightly knit family. He has been like an older brother (8 years older, to be exact) to Eric Verdi.
Eric’s Dad, who had been like a father to Sean, had taught Sean how to drive. Years later, Sean taught Eric how to drive. So, who’s going to teach Khloe how to drive? Sean would like Eric’s Dad to be the driving instructor, once again!
Both girls excel academically. Does it make this Dad extremely proud? You betcha! “Neither of my children has ever gotten a ‘B’. When my Mom used to say that ‘Sean has never gotten a ‘B”, she really meant that I had never gotten anything as good as a ‘B’! So, I blame all of their successes on their Mom.”
The Challenges Of Moving From Corporate Banking To Entrepreneurship
Sean is quick to respond when asked to reveal his greatest challenge in moving from Corporate Banking to being an Entrepreneur who owns his own Insurance Agency.
“The biggest challenge is the whole ‘business owner’ thing. I was fortunate enough that when I was in banking, I had to worry about making loans and entertaining clients. I didn’t have to worry about meeting payroll. I just got a direct deposit.”
Sean continues, “I didn’t have to fret when the copier ran out of paper. When I went home at the end of the day, I went home at the end of the day. Obviously, as a business owner, it never leaves you. You can leave the office, but you never leave the job. That’s been the biggest change.”
So, what’s the upside to owning his own business and being his own boss? “Well, it’s a double-edged sword,” said Sean. “When you own your own business, it’s all what you make it. You reap the benefits. The losses hurt more but the victories are fantastic!”
“And, since it’s my agency, I get to control the image. I’m only as good as my customers’ think of me. I’ve never stopped trying to create the best possible impression.” That applies not only in Sean’s own customer base but in his referral source network.
“Cultivating a positive image that leads to more business that leads to more success – that has been the best thing! Instead of being just a number in a bank, it’s all me!”
What Does Nationwide Have To Offer To Consumers?
It’s probably a sure bet that nearly everyone has seen the Nationwide commercials with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Danica Patrick. But, what types of insurance aren’t being advertised?
“It’s everything you see in the commercials but it’s also a lot more. Most folks associate Nationwide, as they should, with home…auto…life. Nationwide also has a very good Commercial Business Insurance ability.”
Sean continues, “They also happen to be the #1 Farm Insurer in the entire country; big dairy farms, crop farms, etc. This particular Agency has a lot of farms in its portfolio.”
Sean Quill Insurance is a Captive Agency; Nationwide is the only insurer that’s represented. Sean points out that a lot of businesses go to insurance brokers because they can broker out to various insurance companies while having one sole agent. However, the brokers DO NOT have access to Nationwide’s products, services and coverage.
“You’re never going to see a commercial about Nationwide’s business insurance. I was very pleasantly surprised to see what a great opportunity it was – not only for me, but for the folks who had never experienced Nationwide Commercial. I’ve created a lot of happy customers, I’m proud to say!”
The Benefits Of Fluency In The Language Of Business
Sean’s background in the Commercial Banking industry has been of great benefit in his new business. “I love to speak the language of business. I’m lucky enough to be fluent in it, across a lot of different platforms. When you’re in Lending, you have to learn about a lot of different businesses and understand their credit worthiness.”
It’s also highly beneficial to his customer base as he’s able to help them to understand Nationwide’s offered proposals. Increasing awareness leads to further business.
“Not all insurance is created equal. Insurance is almost like speaking a different language. Insurance is something everybody needs and hardly anybody truly understands.”
“Nationwide is one of the highest rated bonding companies in the entire country!” Sean happens to be a Nationwide Agent who is very familiar with bonds. This is a huge plus for all of the business contactors who require bonding.
“Bonds are something that a lot of contractors need. Everything from HVAC contractors, electrical contractors, glass contractors – a lot of times, they’re required to have bonds for their jobs. That’s another unique market that I’ve been pursuing, as well.”
What You Don’t Know About Your Insurance Coverage Can Hurt You
Sean knows that a lot of insured clients feel that they’re covered because their premiums are paid. “That’s usually the case,” says Sean. “But, there are certain situations where you think you’re covered and you’re not. Just because you pay your premium, you are NOT automatically covered.”
He issues an educated warning. “Insurance is much, much more than the premium you pay. If your focus is only on the premium you pay, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of potential heartbreak in the future.”
“All insurance policies have limits. The scope of those limits dictate the premium you pay.” Often, when first-time home buyers have questions about insurance, the local network of Mortgage Lenders send them to Sean for some expert advice.
Being three years in the business, he’s very much aware of how much he did not, and still does not, know about insurance. “So, one of the benefits I try to provide is speak to them in very understandable language as I would want someone to explain it to me.”
Sean doesn’t use jargon and he doesn’t talk over anyone’s head. “And, for better or worse, I don’t focus on price! I explain to people what insurance is about. I explain to them what they should have, what they need, how they can best protect themselves. Then, I will work backwards towards price, if I have to.”
Understand The Real Value Of Your Insurance Policy And Premiums
It’s important to choose an Insurance Agent who can steer you in the right direction and tell you why it’s the best direction to take. When you call a toll-free number for Insurance Company X and receive a quote over the phone for your car or home, you’re probably speaking to a Customer Service Agent who just wants to earn a commission by selling you a policy.
You might agree to the price and start the policy, without having a clue of the full details of your coverage or the actual value of the policy. It might be possible to get TRIPLE the coverage that you just bought for as little as $50 more.
When it comes to homeowner insurance policies, it’s extremely important to understand the various components. “The first, and foremost, thing that everyone thinks about is what happens if it burns down.” Well, hey, it’s insurance. If it burns down, the house gets replaced, right? Sometimes. “Guess what? There’s a limit on the policy!”
The Importance of Understanding Insurance Policy Limits
“If you come to me and you want to insure your $450,000 house but you’re not straight forward with me and you want to try to save some money – and tell me to only insure it for $180,000? Five years later, you’re paying the premium and your house burns down and…guess what?”
“You’re going to have yourself a world of hurt and a world of heartbreak. You’re going to be in a bad place and you’re going to be angry. You’re going to completely forget the conversation you had 5 years earlier where all you wanted to do was save money on your premium on the front end.”
Sean continues with this sage advice, “It’s very important to have detailed discussions about what’s in your policy, what your policy should do for you and the limits you should have. The number assigned to your house on a policy can be, and usually is, substantially different than what you paid for your house.”
“And, it will be substantially different than the tax value, which tends to be the other value people look at other than appraised value. The insurance company only cares about replacing your house; what’s known as the reconstruction cost.
Using the example of a tiny 1000 sq ft two-bedroom rancher in Potomac that’s picked up for $850,000. The replacement cost could be $150,000. You wouldn’t want to insure it for the purchase price. You’d be paying money that you’d never get back.
But, buy an old farmhouse up in rural Vermont for $175,000. The replacement cost could be $375,000. You have to make sure that you don’t insure it for what you paid; you insure it for the cost to rebuild it.”
Carrying Minimum Liability Coverage Is Risky
Sean wants everyone to fully understand this. “Liability is an often over-looked item for people purchasing insurance. Liability is what happens if you’re sued for something that happens on your property.” Like what?
“It could be a party you have where someone steps on some broken glass and needs some stitches… they seek recourse for lost wages. They think you were negligent and try suing you for more money.” It’s very unwise to try to save money by lowering your liability limit.
Sean uses this example to make it painfully clear. “If someone sues you for $500,000 and wins, and you only have $100,000-$200,000 of liability on your house, you’re responsible for that entire $500,000.” The amount awarded isn’t going to go away just because you don’t have it.
He reminds us that the liability limits on an automobile policy works the same way. “Think of the situation where an otherwise wonderful, caring, considerate person is reaching for the phone that they dropped and they rear end a family of four in a minivan. That is all their fault and they are entirely responsible for all the damage they’ve done to people and to property.”
If you try to save some money by having lower liability limits, you’re responsible for everything. So the question is: Is insurance going to pay for everything or are YOU going to pay for a lot of stuff?”
Another example? Look at the State of Maryland, where the lowest allowable liability limits are $60,000 for personal injury and $15,000 for property damage. $15,000!
What’s included in the definition of ‘property damage’? “In insurance parlance, what property damage is when you hit somebody else and it’s your fault – property damage is their car; property damage is the guardrail you took out; property damage is the fence you took out, the house you hit, anything like that.”
“If you only have $15,000 of coverage, if you accidentally rear end and total even an older vehicle, $15,000 is not going to get you anywhere. Can you go out and buy a $15,000 new car right now?” We all know the answer to that one.
Sean continues, “I challenge you to go driving up 270 and see how many cars you see that are only worth $15,000. If you don’t have at least $50,000 of property damage coverage on your policy…”
Carrying The Cheapest Policy Is Absolutely Dangerous
“I try to take the time to make sure that folks understand that focusing on getting the cheapest policy you can get is extremely dangerous. That’s kind of the service I provide.”
Sure, there are times when people thank Sean for the information but still opt for less coverage with a cheaper policy. That’s their prerogative. “I can’t stop them,” says Sean.
“But, I can feel better knowing that I provided them with a wealth of information. No one can ever come back to me and say ‘Sean, why didn’t you tell me this?’ I try to make sure that all of my clients, potential clients, and even clients I don’t get, are better educated – even if all they do is meet with me.”
Bundling Policies Is A Smarter Way To Save Money
“Any insurance company is going to give you a benefit by having what’s called multi-lines. If you bundle your home and auto, you’re going to get preferential pricing. You’ll get additional preferential pricing if you take out life insurance with us.”
In addition to the financial incentive to bundle policies, there’s also a customer service benefit. “It’s a single source phone call. If anything goes wrong, if you have any questions, if you need to make any changes, you just call me.”
Sean Is Available To Review Your Current Policies
Suspecting that it sounds ‘geeky’ and wanting everyone reading this to know that he really isn’t that much of a ‘boring, uninteresting person’, Sean also wants everyone to know that he thoroughly enjoys spreading the Gospel of Insurance.
“I’m very aware how little good people understand about insurance. And, I don’t expect them to learn. That’s what I’m here for. Just a policy review could provide a lot of benefit. It would not be the first time.”
So, who is the ideal client? That’s easy! “Obviously, I would love to have the entire World as my clients. I feel like I’m very good at what I do and I personally feel that I can provide benefit to just about anyone that they might not have right now.”
“Please understand how important the right insurance protection is for you. Just make sure that you at least have a base understanding of what you have, and, more importantly, what you don’t have in your insurance policy.”
Sean adds, “It’s so beneficial just to understand what you have, even if you don’t make any changes.” And, yes, he’s very sincere about helping you to determine if you have the coverage you think you have and the coverage you need. “I would be more than happy to advise and offer assistance to anyone.”
You’re invited to reach out to Sean with your insurance questions, to discuss your policy needs and/or to request a policy review. It’s so easy!
“If you ask my wife, I am available 24 hours a day. It’s 2015! I’m a mad texter!”
The Office of Sean Quill Insurance: 301-898-7077.
Office Location: 27 E. Frederick Street, Walkersville, Md.
Sean’s Cell: 301-693-4744. (It gets emails, it gets texts, and if you’re old school, you can even place a phone call to me.)
Drop Sean an Email: QuillS2@Nationwide.com
Sean is licensed in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia
Content Provided By Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #010 – Hosted by ‘First Cousin But Like A Little Brother’ Eric Verdi