It has been almost 40 years since the Harry P. Thal Insurance Agency began. I was in the instant printing business with two locations and an advertising agency in Orange County.
The business was sold, and I called my Prudential group health insurance agent to change my group policy to one for the family. My agent, Doug, recognizing my potential, offered me a training/sales position with Prudential, which included health insurance and other benefits. I signed on, and the rest was history. My training was in life and health. Prudential had the best individual and group product available on the market, and with all my business contacts in Orange County from the print business, the transition was a breeze.
The director of the Senior Services in South Orange County was divorcing her husband (an insurance agent), and asked me if I could advise her seniors on Medicare matters. There were no books or manuals and definitely no internet in the early 1980s, so I learned what I could from the various companies selling Medicare supplements. The Medicare Advantage and HMOs weren’t to be until later. I learned from the insurance companies, all offering policies that differed, as plan design was then up to the company, with no industrywide, government-regulated standardization like we have today.
My work ethic and word-of-mouth spread over the next few years. I left Prudential. I could no longer afford the time when the phone rang with seniors needing assistance. I was now advising three senior citizen centers and two hospital programs. We had four agents on-site at the two hospitals, one in the Laguna Beach area, the other near Long Beach. Life was good.
My little daughter, Melanie, grew up, went to college and then fell in love. Several years after she married, we followed her to the Kern Valley. I maintained my Orange County phone number, and to this day, it still rings. The Orange County business continues to prosper, as word-of-mouth keeps the phone ringing. Many of my early seniors have passed, but their children are now turning 65, and as their parents were so well served, they continue to call, and the Southern California business continues to prosper.
I have been in the Kern Valley now for 20 years. The same reputation that earned awards in Orange County continues as I pride myself on honesty and integrity. Today, I am campaigning to my clients better and lower-cost plans. My commission dollars get cut, as saving the client money is costing me. It is worth doing the right thing.