By Rick Kern
Somebody once said that, “The Kingdom of God is relationships,” and a lot of people share that sentiment — among them is Terry Glasbergen, owner of Glasbergen Insurance Services. “It’s all about relationships and I make relationships easily,” says Glasbergen, “You know it’s like servant leadership.” And while it is a godly principle he has integrated into his business practice, it is driven by a deep enduring love for God, people, and a passion to make a difference. ”I try to find something positive about everyone I talk to,” he explains, “the reason I’m successful is because I’m open and I’m transparent and I love people.” He continues, “I respect people and I want them to feel comfortable and I want to be able to enter their life and make their life a little bit better in one channel and the channel that I have to use is Medicare insurance. I love making life easy for people.” It may not be your garden variety sales pitch, and it certainly is not a chapter from Dale Carneigie’s 1936 masterpiece, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” but it comes from the heart and goes out to every life Glasbergen touches.
Terry gave his life to the Lord back in 1978 but like many people he went the way of the Prodigal and drifted away from his first love. “I had some situations where I kind of had to walk away from the Lord for a while,” he reflects, “and I married a woman but we were unequally yoked. We had four kids but that marriage didn’t work out for a lot of different reasons.” He continues, “Amazingly, the day I walked out the door, I felt the Lord just embrace me again. Like I knew He was always there, but it was like I was back home. I got away from whatever situation I was in which turned out to be not a good one unbeknownst to me.”
Glasbergen got into insurance some eight-years ago as a result of being on the wrong end of an economic slump. While figuring out his next move he wound up reading an Aflac flyer at a meeting and pursued it because he felt it was something he could do. “I kind of managed the interview and told the guy he was going to hire me, but it was all the Lord,” he says. “I had nothing to do with it. That was a door that was open.” Continuing he recalls, “It was 2008 during that downturn. I was the last one hired and the first one out the door.” Going on he explains, “Basically, I started out with Aflac though I didn’t really know what it was, but fell in love with it — the product. You know, it was helping people and that’s what I like to do the most, is helping people. Then someone introduced me to Medicare five-years ago and I fell in love with that and the rest is history.”
In many ways Terry has crafted “Team Glasbergen’s” catalog of insurance products specifically to meet the needs of disadvantaged clients — following his heart for the downtrodden. “The Lord has given me just such a feeling for those that are kind of down on their luck, are struggling,” he reveals passionately. “The Lord just gives me that peace to help these people. He’s given me this gift that I can talk to, that people will open up and trust me because I think they see the Lord in me.” Glasbergen continues to pour his heart out, “Now, I’ve cried for these people, I’ve laughed with these people, I’ve prayed for these people and we’ve become friends! Most of those people live in the city and that’s where God has led me.”
It’s not your typical corporate playbook but while Terry Glasbergen is good at what he does, his company and life are governed by eternal values rather than corporate values. “That’s how I look at my book of business,” he explains. “They’ve become friends because they need someone who is going to care about them and a lot of times in the inner cities especially, they don’t care. People don’t care.” My colleagues don’t want to go into the inner city. I love it there! That’s my home.” The wrap is priceless as Terry strives to bring both insurance services and light where the “Son don’t shine…” “You know, Jesus worked with the poor and the under privileged. He kind of put me there to do that same thing in my opinion. I do have some passion for this — if you couldn’t tell…”
Glasbergen began his career teaching at school in Sherber, a small town in central New York, and then transferred to New Jersey where he taught psychology. His vocation took a sharp turn when he went to work for the Marketing Division of Dun & Bradstreet selling business information. The venture laid the groundwork for a career move to an advertising agency which, in turn, led to Glasbergen opening his own advertising outfit. He worked for the Yellow Pages for some eight-years in that capacity which he loved. Unfortunately, it was a travel-intensive position and did not mesh with his new marriage leading to yet another job that didn’t work out! That would be where the bottom dropped out… …And God stepped in.
You could almost title that chapter in Terry’s life with the iconic opening line from Dickens’ masterpiece “A Tale of Two Cities,” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” On the one hand his mother-in-law was living with them and was struggling with Alzheimer’s. Complicating matters was the recent purchase of a second house prior to abruptly losing his job. Glasbergen had purchased the second property under the assumption that he had a steady paycheck coming in to cover the mortgage. What made it the best times, however, was that his faith rested in the promises of God not in the promise of a paycheck or the fickle nature of circumstances. The uncertainty of the future and the adversity blocking his dreams were eclipsed by the hope his faith in God inspired.
“You know, I just trusted in the Lord,” Glasbergen acknowledged forcefully. “Did our credit get destroyed? Absolutely! Did my 401K go? Yeah, absolutely…” He continued, “But I had peace in the whole thing. The fact is that I was at my bottom and the only person I could trust was the Lord.”
It was at that point that the opportunity with Aflac fell into his lap opening a multitude of doors and setting his sails in a completely new direction. “Then the Aflac thing came out and I just soared at that,” he recalls, “and now I found the Medicare programs on top of it.” Going on he explains, “I’m still doing the Aflac a little bit, but it’s not as much as, you know, it’s helping people, helping businesses. You know, I like the one on one. I love just sitting there chatting with people and talking. I do talk about the Lord a lot.”
And you can see why… Insurance, by nature, goes head-to-head with life’s curve balls — calamities, misfortunes, disasters, and heartbreaks. It takes on the uncertainties and insecurities that cast a long, dark shadow we are all forced to live beneath. And in discussing our vulnerabilities as we determine what specific coverage we need, it forces us to get-in-the-face of tragedies that all-to-often do not end well. Tragedies that we hope we will never have to meet head-on but live with the grim reality that if we do, it is wise to be prepared.
Consider a brief overview: Life Insurance covers us if we die, Medical Insurance pays out when we are injured or ill, Renters or Homeowners Insurances back our play in the event of a catastrophe such as fire or theft, and Auto Insurance handles car accidents that can be life changing, and on it goes…
By nature discussing insurance needs, with their vast spectrum of complex options, necessarily defaults to life’s grittier and more delicate topics and that includes the often uncomfortable afore-mentioned themes. And there is no one people group that has to deal with as many of these issues at once as Senior citizens — it just hits them from every direction.
Thus, while insurance can be confusing, frustrating, and even mysterious for anyone, it is especially challenging for seniors. To counter the daunting challenge of the multifaceted nuances unique to insurance, Glasbergen takes the time with each prospective client to help them cut through the clutter and confusion of each plan they offer.
Additionally, Glasbergen is well aware of the confusing nature and financial hardship created by Medicare and Medicaid programs. In response he has crafted his insurance practice to be largely senior driven. “My main focus is helping seniors with not only financial issues, but to make sure they’re taken care of financially. I’m not a financial planner, but it’s all senior driven,” says Terry. “I work with what the client’s needs are; I don’t push my agenda on them.” Continuing he explains, “Basically, I’m writing small ticket insurance policies for people who just want enough to get themselves buried so they’re not a burden on their kids.”
During the Medicare enrollment period Terry puts in 60 to 70 hours a week due to the widespread interest, need, and confusion about the many programs that are offered. “I take a lot of time up front,” Glasbergen explains, “I don’t go in and say, OK, we’re going to sell you this plan. No. It doesn’t work that way.” He goes on, “I sit down with a client. I figure I look at what their needs are, whether we talk about life insurance, or just strictly Medicare, after I have a relationship with them, then we talk about some of the other things. I’m a consultant. I try to advise them to do the best they can. If they’re happy, they’ve got a plan that’s working for them, I say fine, then you need to stay with that plan. But if you ever need to make a change, call me and then we can sit down.”
Among the many professional virtues integrated into Glasbergen Insurance Services, is the nonnegotiable effort to make their clients understand exactly why they are purchasing any insurance policy that they are interested in. Glasbergen endeavors to make sure the client knows exactly how their insurance plan will best meet the needs of their family before they purchase it.
“It’s a really cool existence,” reflects Terry Glasbergen. “To me, this whole business has become a ministry, a ministry that pays pretty good!”
For more information or to contact Glasbergen Insurance Service, visit their Website at www.glasbergeninsurance.com or call (585) 455-2356.