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2015 40 Under 40 Broker Awards: Billy Bray

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Vice president of property/casualty

Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc.

Age: 29

At 19, Billy Bray knew that if he was going to be as successful as he wanted to be in the insurance industry, it meant he would need to learn all that he could about the business.

The Houston-based broker for Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc. reads about 25 to 30 books a year, sometimes listening while driving.

“I read and listen to as many books as I have time for,” he said. “All of my mentors are far beyond my current success level. I am trying to grow to the next level so one day I can be a mentor, too.”

Mr. Bray not only reads to improve his education, he also graduated from Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.'s Hartford School of Insurance and holds the commercial lines coverage specialist professional designation. Only nine years in the insurance business with just five of those in commercial insurance, he will close this year as a $1 million producer.

“I've seen him in action, and he is wise far beyond his years,” said Tracy Dieterich, Houston-based vice president of employee benefits at Wells Fargo Insurance. Mr. Bray is a true student of the business, his customers see him as a trusted adviser, committed to adding value, problem solving and first class customer service, he said.

“As companies grow, their needs grow, and part of my job is to help them see changes as their company develops,” Mr. Bray said. “You've got some companies growing from essentially zero at a rapid rate and they've got to be able to control that exposure, they've got to limit their liability claims and control their costs at the same time.”

Mr. Bray is also a leader in his community and is on the boards of directors for several nonprofit organizations, including the Rotary Club of Houston, where, at 29, he was nominated to run for president. The average age of club members is 58.