Meet Josh Zylks of First State Insurance of DeQueen in DeQueen, AR
How long have you been with your firm and what’s your role there?
I have been at First State Insurance of DeQueen for a year and a half, since July of 2019. I am a producer, I am new to insurance, and I have been learning a lot every day! Last year, to keep life from being anything but boring, just before I changed careers to the independent insurance world, my wife and I had our first baby – our little girl was born.
Prior to insurance, after college, I worked 9 years in the aviation industry and airport management. Then, last year I had this opportunity to change careers into insurance and I took it. What’s interesting is that looking back, I worked a couple summers during high school as an office gopher for one of my coaches…. who was an insurance agent! That was 15 years ago. Life certainly takes interesting turns. I’m happy to report that I am simultaneously enjoying both my new career and being a father. There is never a dull moment!
If you have a niche market that you’re involved with, how did you get started in that niche?
We have 2 primary niche markets that make up 60% of our business. One niche is that we insure poultry farms and our second niche is non-standard auto. We are owned by First State Bank and we exist as an agency primarily to insure the large farms they finance. Tyson & Pilgrims have large operations here. The employees who work there and live in the area need personal lines insurance which creates the niche for non-standard auto. We are grateful and proud to be the trusted advisor helping everyone in our community with both commercial and personal insurance needs.
What is the favorite part about working in the insurance industry?
It all comes back to people, it’s a people business. I enjoy meeting with people and talking with people. Additionally, I like explaining things to people, educating people and trying hard to make sure they understand and are not intimidated by insurance. I want them to trust that we play a beneficial role for them as people, their livelihood, and that we want the best for their farm no matter what happens.
What is your proudest moment in serving a client?
The one that stands out to me is a new client who was sole owner of a poultry farm as a result of divorce. She and her husband owned the poultry farm jointly before the divorce. They had a fire loss 3 years before for which they were not properly covered. This resulted in financial problems overall and made it a difficult risk to find coverage for. It took 3 months, but we did finally get her properly covered/insured. Shortly thereafter, the farm was hit by a tornado! Of course, that was a terrible thing but it felt good that she was covered and therefore able to rebuild and survive. We were able to make the best out of a bad situation.
What are 3 key words you’d use to describe what you do?
Serve, protect, educate. We serve clients by protecting their property and lives. The best way to do that is to educate. I thoroughly enjoy that part – explaining and discussing with the client what insurance can do and why and what they need, including coverages they never thought about. I want them to feel good about it and not just buy something because they were told they had to.
How would you describe your productivity before and after using eForms Wizard?
One look at my desk and you will know that I am not the most organized person in the world. eForms Wizard definitely keeps things organized and usable. It’s allowed us to have all of the information we need for our prospects and clients in one place. Certificates, changes, and updates are right there at our fingertips and legible and usable. My handwriting is not legible but when I use eForms Wizard it comes out legible on a PDF or printout.
What is something most people don’t know about you – maybe a unique hobby or interest?
Space Flight. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid. In college, I wanted to become an airline pilot, so I took flying lessons but ran out of money. I did end up in the aviation industry as my first job out of college before finding myself enjoying the insurance industry. Regardless, I have always been, and am, an avid follower of everything and anything NASA – SpaceX related as well as the world of aerospace and rockets.
What does an ideal weekend look like?
A weekend around the house would include coffee, newspaper, and yard work. A weekend not around the house would include a picnic and a day hike somewhere. We enjoy the outdoors, especially with our 19-month-old little girl – it’s fun to pick up leaves and sticks and discover.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Gomukh Glacier! Gomukh, is the at the end of the Gangotri Glacier and the source of the Bhagirathi River, one of the primary headstreams of the Ganges River in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India, in the Himalayan mountains. After I got out of college, I had a friend living in India as a missionary and had the opportunity to stay with him and travel. It was a 3 day hike with an elevation of 13,200 ft. It’s a 24 mile round trip. The scenery was on a whole different scale compared to anything I had ever seen prior (the Rocky Mountains, the Smokey Mountains). I will never forget it; it was a most memorable experience.
What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Dishes. I love paper plates and bowls – they are one of the greatest inventions!
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