Most of us do not associate the word “ministry” with “insurance,” but Terry Glasbergen, of Glasbergen Insurance, does.
People can purchase Medicare plans, anywhere, but may not know if their choices will meet their needs down the road. That is why Glasbergen sees himself as a resource more than an insurance salesperson.
“My approach is to sit down with people and help them understand what they’re looking for in a Medicare or life insurance plan so I can guide them correctly.”
Glasbergen asks questions, drilling down to personal and family needs — doctors, prescription, and any special needs.
“I represent most major carriers in the marketplace. Plans offer unique sets of benefits, which often include drug coverage (Medicare Advantage). If I enroll a client into an incorrect Medicare plan, who have I helped?”
For him, it all boils down to educating clients so they can make the best insurance choices, and long before Glasbergen Insurance came to be, Glasbergen was a teacher. “The skills I had teaching at school are still the same skills I use now with my clients.”
His clients become his friends as he develops relationships with them. Glasbergen follows up with each client every year and never misses sending a birthday card. He feels the hardest part of his work is when he loses clients to death, because it is like losing friends.
“It’s really looking the person in the eye and understanding who they are. I hope they see Christ in me. That’s one of the things that really sets me apart; I put people at ease.”
Glasbergen’s clients range from suburbanites to residents of the inner city, even to those with no residence at all. He said that as he works in Monroe and Wayne counties, he finds working with suburban clients vastly different from working with inner city clients.
“In my opinion, neither of the groups understands each other and their lifestyles. I’m fortunate to live in Webster and have a livelihood in the inner city, working with people who have different needs.”
He believes the Lord continues to draw him into the inner city to help people. He likes to work with the homeless at the Dimitri House, soup kitchens, and food pantries. Sometimes he just hangs around, talking with the people.
“These are probably the most rewarding places I go because I can communicate with people who have needs beyond insurance. Often I’ll share the Gospel with them, especially the loners.”
Homeless and alone, rich or poor, people need access to proper Medicare and life insurance plans. Many of his clients have dual qualifications, both Medicare and Medicaid. He remains amazed at the number of people in the city who do not have life insurance, thinking their children will take care of it, or they do not need it. “Just put me in a box,” they will say. Yet, he can offer a reasonable plan that would at least be enough to bury them.
Glasbergen’s reward is when people are so thankful they break into tears, because the unique plan he qualified them for will give them access to over the counter products they could not have afforded.
“I love this plan because it helps so many people.”
When people face life-threatening illnesses, he can offer a supplement plan. Although it has higher premiums, it covers everything — doctors, hospitalization, especially for cancer patients (but they have to buy a separate drug program). “I help them navigate the waters for the drug plan as well.”
By taking the time to get to know his clients and developing trusting relationships, Glasbergen often discovers unmet needs he is able to address. Some need a plan where a physician makes a house call since they are unable to get to the office. Some need food or furniture. He networks with churches, community agencies, and tells people where to get food, including the Father’s Heart Food Truck. Occasionally he makes referrals to other agencies such as adult protective or veterans’ services.
“Most times, after talking with people, the Holy Spirit will guide me to better understand their needs. I am so thankful for the gift of discernment. Sometimes we will talk about the Lord, pray together, cry together, or laugh together. Eventually, we get down to business.
Because of his perspective, Glasbergen goes to health fairs or churches, when invited, to set up a table to provide insurance information. Now, during the Medicare enrollment period (October 15 through December 7), when people have the opportunity to keep or change their Medicare policies, he can be found at Walmart located at 1490 Hudson Avenue, just south of Ridge Road East. His hours are posted at the store during the open enrollment period.
However, throughout the year, he goes to low-income and senior high-rise apartment buildings to educate and help the homebound residents with their Medicare insurance needs. This is most helpful during the Medicare enrollment period. He also honors requests from churches to set up a table to help their congregants before or after services with information about Medicare insurance coverage.
When asked what message he wanted to share with readers, Glasbergen responded simply that the work he does is personal to him.
“I don’t see it as a business. I see it more as a ministry, helping people of all ages, colors, and creeds.”