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Whether it was on the radio in your car during the drive home or the commercial break during your favorite show, you may have heard or seen an advertisement from Farmers Insurance which ends off as “We are Farmers, bum ba dum bum bum bum bum”. Although there are many companies that have catchy jingles and advertisements there are only a few companies that provide an excellent product and reliable service. As an attorney, I am always advising clients of various risks involved with particular ventures and transactions. Mitigating risk is a cornerstone of every venture and transaction. This being the case, I never underestimate or downplay the importance of having adequate insurance coverage and limits to my clients. Given that many home and business owners are worried about mitigating risk it is important to understand the proper insurance coverage they need but to also provide them with reliable service and individualized attention. With this in mind, I interviewed a local Farmers Insurance agency owner Roman B. Ilyaev, to discuss the services his insurance agency provides.

IM: Good afternoon Roman. I would like to thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to sit with me and discuss your Farmers Insurance agency. Perhaps you should tell our readers about yourself and how you entered the insurance industry. 

RI: Prior to entering the insurance industry, I was a technician working with traders and brokers at a top European bank. I was very intrigued by what the traders and brokers did on a daily basis rather than servicing their equipment. It is at that point, I went back to school and received a finance and investment degree from Baruch College. Thereafter, I went to work as a Citigroup analyst. As we are all aware, in 2001 the financial sector took a dive given the burst of the tech bubble. After witnessing firsthand the effects of the crash to the financial sector as a whole and the individuals who built their careers in it, I decided to become an entrepreneur where I can have more control of my destiny. With this in mind, I ventured into the insurance industry. I was always taught by my parents that one must work hard to achieve anything in this country. So in 2009, I opened an Allstate agency and became an authorized agent. I stayed with Allstate from 2009 through 2012. At the time of sale, my agency was generating over three million dollars of premiums annually.

IM: It is my understanding that there are many insurance companies on the market today. Why did you make your eventually move to Farmers Insurance? 

RI: In 2012, I learned that Farmers Insurance was expanding its operations to the East Coast. The more I researched into the company the more I understood that Farmers Insurance is a company that will do everything in its power to benefit the insured. They always put the customer first. This is inline with the way I operated my previous insurance agency. Farmers Insurance always represents its brand and moto, “We are Farmers”. Farmers Insurance provides customers with guidance and information and not merely an operator on the other end of the phone. With Farmers Insurance, the customer experience is always the number one priority.  This being said, I became the first Farmers Insurance agent in the State of New York.

IM: I am sure our readers would like to know some of the many services your agency provides as it relates to insurance.

RI: My Farmers Insurance agency provides all types of insurance coverage, personal and commercial. The policies we provide include auto, home, commercial, life insurance and umbrella liability. With regards to life insurance policies, I believe it is important for every individual to plan for future events accordingly and leave a legacy to their beneficiaries. This being the case, there are several options available with regards to life insurance including long-term-care riders. A life insurance policy will allow an individual to leave an inheritance to loved ones.

I have been in the insurance industry long enough to know that no single company can provide insurance for all types of occasions. This being the case, if Farmers Insurance cannot write the policy, I will look outside of Farmers Insurance to seek coverage from other choice carriers. Knowing the latest market updates allows me to look outside of Farmers Insurance and provide customers with the best deals in such situations. This also allows me to service all clients regardless of the policy type they need.  

IM: Over the last several years, I have heard numerous friends and family members speak highly of your understanding of the insurance industry and their overall satisfaction with the services your Farmers Insurance agency provides. What do you believe is your greatest attribute when it comes to servicing your clients?

RI: My greatest attribute is that when a prospective client calls or visits my agency I want that client to understand the insurance coverages and limits that they need to best protect them. If the prospective client is already insured, I do a thorough and comprehensive review of their current policy in light of the particular situation. This allows me to better understand the particular needs of the client. For me, at the very least, if I don’t furnish the policy for the client, the client will understand their needs going forward.

That is why when a prospective client calls they can expect honesty and full transparency with regards to their particular insurance needs. Additionally, I endeavor to treat all of my clients like family. This is only accomplished if there is trust between the client and I. This trust is what I work for every time a new or current client calls my agency with inquiries. I want every one who interacts with my agency to feel comfortable and completely satisfied with their experience. Such business practices have allowed me to receive awards from Farmers Insurance for procuring new business. As a matter of fact, I will be recognized at Farmers Insurance’s 90th Anniversary gathering at Disneyland later this year. Such accolades in my industry can only be accomplished by gaining the trust of each and every client an agency services.

IM: Lastly, just by the look of your agency and the time that I have spent here, I see that you have a very busy agency. I am sure that you get calls from prospective clients trying to search for a new insurance carrier. What are some of the common mistakes that you have found some brokers make when furnishing their clients with a policy?

RI: There are numerous mistakes that I come across on a daily basis. One of the most common mistakes that I see is that when I ask prospective clients why they carry a particular insurance or coverage they merely tell me the broker mirrored the pervious policy that they had. This is a big mistake since situations change over time. The coverage which was adequate at one point in the past, may not be adequate today. Circumstances and situations change over time. Instead of a comprehensive evaluation of the situation by the particular broker, the client merely received what they had before which may have been sufficient at one point but may no longer be adequate. Additionally, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Although clients want to mitigate risk they also want to lower costs. In such situations, a broker may reduce costs but does not communicate the fact that the coverage and limits may no longer be sufficient in the particular situation. As I have previously stated, when I meet a prospective client, I evaluate the proper coverage and limits based on the particular situation. This allows for the client to mitigate risk as best as possible.

IM: Roman, I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to meet with me. Our readers and I would like to wish you and your agency a Shana Tovah and continued success.

The next time you purchase a car, home, or business or merely want to compare your existing insurance rate give Roman Ilyaev a call at 718-896-2886 or visit him at his conveniently located Farmers Insurance agency at 9108 63rd Drive, 2nd Floor, Rego Park. Roman and his experienced staff are sure to treat you like family and give you peace of mind. 

 By Ilya Mordukhaev, Esq.