The following “Six Questions” short interview with Jim Convertino, Director of the Professional Athletes & Entertainers division at Britton Gallagher, was conducted by our Contributing Writer Cameron Chung. Connect with the PAE division on LinkedIn & Twitter.
(1) What is your exact title with Britton Gallagher? As a follow up, what do you do on a daily/weekly basis in your current role?
As the Director of the Professional Athletes & Entertainers Practice at Britton Gallagher, my team and I work closely with sports agents, lawyers, business managers, accountants, and financial advisors to ensure their clients have the proper insurance protection for their unique exposures. We provide complete personal and commercial insurance coverage reviews and simplify our clients’ insurance programs for them while becoming an asset for the agent or advisor as an additional service they can provide to their clients. We emphasize a sense of urgency for all of our clients and partners as part of our service model.
(2) When did the Professional Athletes & Entertainers Division start with Britton Gallagher? How did you first get involved in this division?
My team and I joined Britton Gallagher a little over two years ago to start this Practice here but I have specialized in providing coverage for professional athletes and entertainers for over twenty years. I saw a tremendous void in the insurance industry in providing professional athletes and entertainers with appropriate insurance coverages and decided to specialize in this niche area. Advisors often let us know they have been looking for someone like us and appreciate what we add to their service model.
(3)What services does your company offer to athletes and entertainers?
We work closely with our sports agents, advisors and clients to provide a complete personal and commercial insurance review. We not only provide a simplified insurance program for each of our clients’ homes, automobiles, jewelry, watercraft and umbrella coverages, we also cover their exposures outside of their personal insurance exposures. There are significant liability exposures for our clients’ Foundations, personal appearances, special events, birthday parties, commercial ventures, Shell Corporations, LLCs, singing and promotional tours, television and movie productions, musical instruments, golf tournaments, life and disability coverage, basketball, baseball, hockey and football camps, websites and charity outings. Unfortunately, many professional athletes and entertainers are unaware there are liability exposures with each of these. We also provide coverage for many of our clients’ family members and create liability firewalls to minimize our clients’ liability.
Our clients are only calling my cell phone for any insurance related issues or claims at any time. They are not calling a service center or getting a voicemail hoping for a call back during the weekend or after business hours. Our unique service model is specifically designed to simplify our clients’ entire insurance program with one insurance broker. Their agent or advisor truly appreciates our service model as much as their clients do.
(4) What is the most difficult part of your job/industry? What changes would you like to see, or expect to see, down the line?
Educating our sports agents, advisors and clients that insurance isn’t a commodity. It is an integral part of their financial portfolio and something they should look at before there is a significant loss of personal wealth that could have been covered with the right insurance program. That reflects back on the advisor, which can cost them their clients and reputation.
Unfortunately, we see many advisors and agents who do not make an insurance review part of their clients’ financial plan. Many of their clients have the same insurance coverage they had when they were younger and had much less exposure. Understandably, many advisors tell us it’s simply because they do not have the confidence in finding an insurance broker who understands the business of sports and entertainment and is willing to provide the type of service required to meet their clients’ extraordinary demands. They are often surprised at the exposures and coverage gaps we find when providing our review for their clients. I would like to see more sports agents and advisors look at insurance differently and have an insurance review done for all of their clients, especially those with Foundations, charity events, websites and sports camps.
(5) What aspect of your career are you most proud of?
Changing the perception of what insurance is and providing a unique service for our partners and clients. I love being available for our clients and earning their trust. Integrity is so important in this business. Many of our clients had never had an insurance consultant advise them about the risks and exposures they face with their unique lifestyle. I am especially proud of our service team of Client Consultants and our Associate Director, Jani Memorich, who specializes in providing coverages for our clients’ Foundations, disability risks and commercial ventures. We have received tremendous positive feedback when we discuss our unique service model with agents and advisors and they appreciate we understand we are representing them to their clients. Our service also provides our partners with a competitive edge when recruiting prospects and having us as part of their team for their existing clients.
(6) What advice would you give to aspiring sports/entertainment business professionals who want to work in the sports world?
It’s imperative to see these professional athletes and entertainers as clients and not celebrities. In order to provide a service for them, you must know everything about them. Knowledge is truly power when providing a service for any professional athlete or entertainer. My team and I are constantly staying on top of our clients’ contracts and endorsements so we can assess their exposures and proactively advise their advisors and them to ensure we are updating their coverages and offering additional solutions.
There are truly no shortcuts in working with professional athletes and entertainers. I often receive emails and phone calls from people who wish to get into the sports and entertainment business. I let them know I am available 24 hours a day and sleep three hours a night. For example, I am available at 2am if my client calls me with something he or she needs, which often happens. Most importantly, I truly enjoy what I do and am extremely competitive. I have been invited to speak as a panelist on insurance related issues in sports and entertainment a number of times and have also been a guest lecturer at a number of colleges. Many individuals ask how do they get into this business or how can they duplicate our service model. If you are willing to make sacrifices, have integrity, be honest and distinguish yourself, you can succeed in this very competitive world.