Peter Van Aartrijk: Is It Too Painful To Leave, Or Too Painful To Stay?

by | October 2, 2020



In this episode of Agents Influence podcast, host Jason Cass interviews Peter van Aartrijk, Author, Podcast Host, and CEO at Aartrijk. Peter talks about the services that their company has to offer and the significance of working on company culture. He also shares his knowledge and expertise in the insurance industry and branding strategy.

Episode Highlights:

  • Jason introduces Peter van Aartrijk. (1:42)
  • Peter mentions his podcast, Insurance Journal: On Point. (4:05)
  • When did Peter start his podcast? (4:14)
  • Peter shares that he started his podcast with Rick Morgan. (4:28)
  • Jason mentions that Rick is a jewel to the insurance industry. (4:57)
  • Where did the idea of Brand Camp come out, and does Peter still do it? (5:55)
  • Peter mentions that they started the first Brand Camp in 2009, and it was Rick Morgan’s idea. (6:07)
  • Peter shares that Rick was not afraid to take on the traditionalist in the industry, he didn’t want to have a lot of change, and they’re protecting their golden goose, and challenging the industry. (6:38)
  • Peter mentions that Brand Camp was an idea that led to more valuable ideas around the industry, and a chance to discuss how they can possibly bring 100 people together, to talk about all the great ideas connected to insurance and brand. (6:53)
  • Jason mentions that his ideas for AI BrainShare came from the Brand Camp. (7:05)
  • Jason shares one of the coolest stories that he has in his arsenal. (7:45)
  • Jason mentions that the main reason that people say they like going to conferences and conventions is that they like networking. But on second thought, there’s very little networking, with the way conferences and conventions are set up currently. (9:33)
  • Peter mentions that they picked cool hotels, cool cities, and cool people for their conference. (10:18)
  • Peter shares that they turned it around where the audience was the show. Therefore, the discussion in the audience was the show. (10:45)
  • Jason mentions that he has owned his agency for 10 years, and he never stamped a piece of mail, all his life. (12:15)
  • Peter mentions that the management systems have evolved to where the systems are a little more dynamic and sophisticated. (13:02)
  • Peter shares that the transactional filing was a game-changer for a lot of agents to move from using the alphabetical order to a more functional type of filing. (13:10)
  • Jason shares a story about the time when they had filing cabinets. (14:03)
  • Peter mentions that workspaces are significant. (16:10)
  • Peter shares that if you’re interviewing someone to work at your agency, half of the interview is convincing them to work in the office and the other half is convincing them to join your agency. (16:20)
  • Peter mentions that if he were to give a transactional filing TED Talk, it would be an extreme agency makeover. (17:24)
  • Jason mentions that he won an award and a scholarship, during the Brand Camp. (18:04)
  • What does Aartrijk do? (18:30)
  • Peter mentions that he and Chris Amrhein created the company called, Insurance Is Fun. (19:00)
  • Peter thinks that marketing is underestimated and unappreciated in the insurance industry. (20:04)
  • Jason shares that today’s companies are finding ways to build company culture, and to measure safety, they’re going to build a culture that includes everybody understanding that safety is vital. (21:16)
  • What’s the difference between curated and uncurated cultures? (21:46)
  • Peter shares that most agencies have uncurated culture therefore, CSRs will do some rogue ideas and produce a runaround, and try to build their brand to the detriment of the mothership. (22:03)
  • Jason shares that he’s reading a book about a man teaching the importance of culture, and how it relates to safety. (23:53)
  • Peter mentions that positioning yourself with prospects in a different way is a classic type of marketing, and that is missing in our industry. (25:14)
  • Jason mentions that sometimes it’s too painful to leave, and sometimes it’s too painful to stay. (26:21)
  • Peter mentions that he wrote a book called The Powers: Ten Factors for Building an Exponentially More Powerful Brand. (26:35)
  • Peter shares the conversation he had with the CEO of Thimble. (27:41)
  • Jason shares that he’s not advocating to fire people. But in the insurance industry, it’s very difficult to get rid of some people, who don’t want to change. (30:04)
  • Peter mentions that if you manage your employees, they’ll manage the brand for you, to ensure that people want to work for your agency and want to buy insurance from you. (31:21)
  • Peter mentions what Daniel Burrus talks about. (35:10)
  • Jason talks about real situations that are going on, with COVID-19. (37:27)
  • Peter thinks that we shouldn’t be wallowing business owners at this point. (39:30)
  • Peter shares that he would get very comfortable with using video with clients and reach out to them. (40:32)
  • Peter mentions that he’s reading the book called The Win Without Pitching Manifesto, by Blair Enns. (45:08)

Key Quotes:

  • “Hey, I may not always be excellent, but I’m always confident.” Peter van Aartrijk
  • “You can’t go to a meeting, and just sit there and listen. I don’t like those kinds of meetings. I mean, they’re good for an hour or two, but not an entire conference built around people speaking at you. I like it when there are more dynamics and discussion among the group, then you get some organic thought coming out of it. And some of the best ideas come from those conversations.” Peter van Aartrijk
  • “Where people work is important, why they work is even more important, why they want to work with your agency. And all those other issues of when, and how they dress and all that’s fine. But I think that the important thing is what is the environment in which you’re asking people to come to.” Peter van Aartrijk
  • “You have to do marketing to get to the point where you have a relationship to where you can play golf and do all sorts of things. Marketing is what gets you there.” Peter van Aartrijk
  • “The core values are what drives the company’s success. Because when people on the inside act like they should on the outside, there’s no disconnect between the people who make the bread, and the people who eat the bread or buy the bread. It’s all the same that’s why our favorite brands are like people, and they’re like trusted friends because we’re sharing the same core values.” Peter van Aartrijk
  • “There’s a lot of risk in hiring new people. But I think most of the problems that firms have is they don’t prune the rosebush or they don’t create an environment in which people want to leave” Peter van Aartrijk
  • “The world has changed, and I think a lot of agents are pivoting, as painful as it is. And some are energized about it like you seem to be. But we’re seeing a shift, and I’m excited about the agents in the future.” Peter van Aartrijk

Resources Mentioned:


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