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2015 40 Under 40 Broker Awards: Erik Zentler

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Vice president of aviation

John F. Throne & Co. Insurance Marketing Inc.

Age: 37

For Erik Zentler, it's all about doing what can't be done.

“If you hang a giant saw underneath a helicopter and hover it next to power lines, that's attractive to me because most people would say, 'Gosh, you shouldn't even have insurance!' ” Mr. Zentler said. “That's what draws me, something unusual and seemingly impossible.”

Mr. Zentler has always enjoyed stepping up to the challenges of accomplishing things that others think are out of reach and exceeding the expectations of clients and prospects.

“Aerial sawing is a highly specialized industry, considered by many to be 'high risk,' but Mr. Zentler created a comprehensive insurance program that gave our helicopter company better coverage while reducing our premiums by almost 50%,” Ashley Haddock, owner and CEO of Rotor Blade L.L.C., said in a letter.

Mr. Zentler was recruited in 2004 to work for John F. Throne & Co. Insurance Marketing Inc., a Seattle-based insurance brokerage service that specializes in aviation.

He said he was attracted to the morals and ethics of the industry.

“Erik is a true professional who conducts business in the utmost ethical manner,” said Michael Chevrette, East Brunswick, New Jersey-based senior vice president of the aviation division of Great American Insurance Co. “In an industry where mutual trust is vital, working with Erik has been nothing shy of an epiphany,” he said.

Mr. Zentler said he has been seeing a lot of consolidation, both on the client side as well as the industry side.

“With historically low rates, both interest rates and insurance rates, people are looking for some kind of return on their investments. Although there is always pressure, it seems to be a little frantic these days,” he said.

Looking forward, he believes there is the potential for success in his industry. “There will continue to be changes, some expected others unforeseen. As long as you take a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach, change lends itself to opportunity.”