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February 21, 2024

John Lawrence

Columbia, Maryland-based president, Twain Insurance Agency

Columbia, Maryland-based principal, Commercial Insurance Associates LLC

The future of the insurance industry appears exceptionally promising. Initially, when I entered the field, there was a noticeable disparity, characterized by an aging cohort of producers with a backfill of talent. However, the landscape has evolved significantly. In recent times, I have observed a presence of young, dynamic and highly successful producers making their mark. This generational shift not only revitalizes the industry but also indicates a vibrant and sustainable future.

My primary aim is to uphold a set of core values and ensure that every aspect of our service aligns with these principles. My journey in the insurance industry began with an initiation at an agency right after college, where I was immersed in a diverse range of functions — from administrative tasks like mail handling and certificate issuance to critical operational roles in account management, marketing, loss control and claims management. This foundational experience instilled in me the understanding that the delivery of exceptional service to our clients hinges on the seamless collaboration of all these functions. Achieving true client satisfaction is my ultimate goal, and it is predicated on our ability to integrate these diverse roles effectively and cohesively.

One of the paramount challenges confronting our industry revolves around adapting to the changes in commercial insurance, particularly with the integration of artificial intelligence. While the advent of AI presents unparalleled opportunities for enhancing client services, it also raises concerns about maintaining the foundational element of trust that our clients deeply value. Our commitment to leveraging technology must be balanced with a steadfast dedication to personal engagement.

My initial foray into the industry occurred during my first week on the job, presenting an unexpected yet memorable introduction. Our underwriter from Travelers Cos. Inc. was hosting a dinner for my boss and extended an invitation for me to join. As a 21-year-old at the outset of my career and mindful of my finances, the prospect of a complimentary meal was appealing. The evening's special was surf and turf, a luxury I decided to embrace. The following morning, my boss, with a touch of humor, suggested that perhaps I should secure some business with the insurer before opting for such extravagant dining choices in the future. Hopefully, I have paid Travelers back tenfold for their investment.

Seek out a mentor: The importance of finding an experienced mentor cannot be overstated. Identify your unique selling proposition: Discovering and embracing your unique selling niche is crucial. Embrace the power of preparation: Remember the adage we often reiterated on my college football team: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

I would love to coach a high school football team one day.

I was an economics major while studying liberal arts at Hamilton College.

What excites me most is the journey itself. I am embarking on this venture alongside two partners and a staff that boasts a longstanding history. We are fully aware that challenges are an integral part of our path forward. However, it is this very journey, with its ups and downs, that will make achieving our end goals all the more rewarding.

Having spent a considerable amount of time in Maryland, I often find myself reminiscing about my origins in New York. Consequently, my preferred meal is a classic slice of New York-style cheese pizza.

“Blue Ocean Strategy,” by Renee Mauborgne, a gift from my parents one Christmas. It's been a guide for me professionally, teaching me to look for fresh, less competitive spaces in business.

Cooking, traveling and golf would be the top of the list, although right now the majority of my free time is spent with my two kids and wife. As they get older, hopefully I will be able to blend all of them together.

While I have many favorite TV shows, including a recent foray into “Suits,” my all-time favorite remains “Breaking Bad.” The series has not only captivated me with its compelling storytelling but also resonated on a personal level. The iconic phrase, “I am the one who knocks,” has become somewhat of a rallying cry among my partners and me. It symbolizes our determination and resilience in the face of challenges encountered while establishing our own agency.

Coaching sporting teams for my 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.