Insurance, you can’t live without it, or at least you shouldn’t. Whether it is health, life, auto, business or home owners insurance they all play an important role in our lives.
Defined as coverage by contract in which one party agrees to indemnify or reimburse another for loss that occurs under the terms of the contract, insurance is not as complicated as it seems according to Bill Hawthorne.
|SERVING THE PEOPLE—Bill Hawthorne, president of A For the People Insurance Agency has been a staple on Wylie Avenue for 10 years. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)
Dedicated to offering insurance products that provide quality protection with value pricing, Hawthorne says his agency, A For The People Insurance Agency, Inc., is designed to serve the people. He says throughout his 10 years in the business, “We have developed a solid reputation for: customer care, personal attention to details, providing a broad array of insurance solutions, and being focused on budget needs.”
Concerned about more than just the insurance needs of his clients and the community, Hawthorne is positioning his agency to establish A For The People Training Institute. “This is a lucrative business. You can do it for a long time and the career opportunities are unlimited,” he says. “It has been rewarding for me and I’m just looking to help the community. It is a career good for young people, women, the disadvantaged and disabled.” From his experience, he says he has observed that the average age of an agent is 55.
The three week to two month classes will prepare participants for the Pennsylvania Insurance Pre-Licensing Examination. Getting into the nuts and bolts of the industry, he explained the classes will equip people to handle property and casualty insurance first and a second class will take place for life and health. AFTPI will then offer on-the-job training support with veteran insurance agents and other agents-in-training. This phase provides interaction with clients and service partners from the many companies. The Institute, Hawthorne says will enable participants to work within other agencies and teach how to setup their own business and agency. Participants will be equipped to set up and operate anywhere in the country. Hawthorne pointed out that the A For The People Insurance Training Institute will produce qualified insurance agents and insurance support staff. “We will offer Certificates in Risk Management, Customer Service Specialists, and Claims Adjusters.”
Qualifications to take part in the Institute require applicants to be 18 years old or older, having a clean record, people skills, good study habits and a willingness to learn.
“When I started this agency I operated with three used desks, an old laptop and printer, worked full time at another job and part-time for myself. Now he has seven employees and owns the building he operates from. His agency provides auto, business, environmental contractors, homeowners, life, malpractice and renters insurances. “We have a long history of providing Pennsylvania residents affordable insurance coverage,” said Hawthorne. He also provides notary services.
The Beltzhoover native and Mt. Oliver resident started his career in the computer business, became an automation specialist and expanded into the software area where he traveled across the country meeting a lot of people and agents. “I was learning the insurance business and that’s when I saw how the community was getting ripped off.” Recognizing how the business has expanded and noting the influence of televised insurance company commercials Hawthorne advises people to be aware of what and how they purchase insurance. “Having an agent that is sensitive, provides personal attention and highly trained in assessing your insurance needs is important,” he advises.
Located at 2514 Wylie Ave. in the Hill District, Hawthorne has operated there from day one. The Institute, located next door is also a building he owns. Calculated to be at least 100 years old he thinks it was once owned by Madame C.J. Walker between 1918 and 1920. “What history,” he said. “With her being a self-made entrepreneur and the first woman millionaire, what a great place for displaced workers, college students, veterans, and anyone with the true desire to succeed to receive training and licensing necessary to become a Licensed Insurance Agent. His commitment goes as far as him investing his own money to rehab the building for training purposes. Once completed, the site will be available for businesses within the community to utilize. His goal is to have the building completed and classes running by the end of October. “Our goal is to have 100 people trained by the end of 2012.”
Considered a creative entrepreneur, Hawthorne has also tried his hand in the entertainment business. This year he sponsored six busses that traveled to Canton, Ohio to the Hall of Fame Stadium for the O’Jay’s benefit concert, recently sponsored the Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and ConFunkShun concert and has plans on bringing the Whispers during Thanksgiving.
“I like music and giving back to the community. I have been put in the position where I can help people,” said Hawthorne. “I am blessed to be here. The A For The People Institute and concerts is just my way of saying thank you.” His company slogan, “We are here to serve the people,” he pointed out, says it all.
(A For the People Institute; 412-621-5581.)