Our next interviewee, Matt Simon, President of CoverLink. really needs no introduction because so many in the industry and in his town of Bellefontaine, Ohio know him all too well. Many in his community have grown up with Matt, attended school together, played sports, shared life events, and are still a big part of his life.
Matt Simon has that charismatic quality that makes you instantly feel at ease as if you have been friends with him for years. Really that’s how you should feel because Matt is an open book, there’s nothing extra that he holds back, in fact, go ahead and judge that book by its cover because what you see is what you get. This is the quality we love about Matt Simon, it’s never about him – it’s about YOU, the client, the associate, the carrier partner, anyone but Matt.
Since so many, know Matt so well, I hope to highlight some stories you haven’t heard yet or don’t know about Matt.
I’m going to take this story back a few chapters to share that Matt’s dad, Tom Simon, moved to Bellefontaine when Matt was only 1 years old, to run an insurance agency. Matt has grown up alongside of the family business, even interning there during the summer months.
Coming near to the end of college, he knew as a young adult three for sure things:
- He didn’t want to go into insurance
- He didn’t want to live in a small town
- He didn’t want to work in the family business
Staying somewhat true to his commandments, he took a job in Columbus, Ohio with Motorists, thinking there would be plenty of opportunity with a big company to have a multi-faceted career path. And with 4-months left of college, Matt worked a full-time job, 3-days a week, while wrapping up his business management and economics degree at Wittenberg University.
While working for Motorists as an underwriter, part of his role was leaving the office to meet in-person with agents, which he loved. One of Matt’s all-time favorite people in life is Curtis Miller, an independent agent out of Parkersburg, WV, who Matt was visiting when his life came into perspective!
After his office visit with Curtis they went to lunch. It didn’t take long, before Curtis asked Matt the life-provoking question – “Matt, what the hell are you doing with your life!?” Curtis elaborated sharing he knew what his opportunities were with Motorists and what he had to gain from working in the family’s agency. He reminded Matt that he would be down-right crazy not to take over the family business.
Six-months later, Matt was back at his family’s agency and still to this day, Curtis is not only Matt’s favorite person, but also Matt’s dad’s favorite person.
Matt’s dad, Tom Simon, has a funny fun-fact. He has a really hard time letting go of old cars. In fact, Matt remembers there always being far more cars in the driveway than there were drivers. Even now, it’s just his dad and mom living at the house, and they have 4 cars for 2 people. However, this recently came in handy when one of Matt’s clients had a car in the repair shop after an accident, and the work was taking longer than the rental coverage would cover. Tom insisted the client take one of his cars from his “fleet” to have until his car was out of the shop.
That story gets shared among the community, posing the question, does your insurance agent lend you his car? Probably not!
As I mentioned, Matt knows everyone in Bellefontaine and everyone knows Matt. He has had to overcome the fear of being viewed as a salesperson but rather someone that can offer advice and be a trusted advisor.
One of the most impactful moments for Matt, as an independent agent, was when a friend, someone he had gone to school with, hired Matt as his insurance advisor. And because he listened to Matt’s advice and put the recommended coverages in place, less than two years later had coverage for a major claim that would have previously been uninsured.
Matt continues to live his and the agency’s values by doing the right thing through various commitments to his community and the insurance industry by not only volunteering his time but encouraging his associates to consider their own volunteer opportunities. CoverLink is actively involved in numerous community organizations including: United Way of Logan County, Logan County Chamber of Commerce, the local Rotary and Kiwanis club, and the board for their local hospital, Mary Rutan Hospital. One of the agency’s big passions is being a part of the small towns where they’re located. As an example, there’s an ongoing downtown revitalization project for Bellefontaine being spearheaded by one of Matt’s longtime, childhood friends. Over the last 7-8 years, Bellefontaine has experienced major traffic (in a good way) to the downtown area for local restaurants, retail, and living. Matt loves seeing the progress and supporting the cause, and has witnessed the benefits it’s bringing to the local community.
Professionally, he has been involved with OIA since 2011, serving on the Board of Directors, as past-president, and participated on various committees. He serves as an advisor at Bold Penguin and is involved with neon as an advisor, pilot agent, and investor. It’s his passion and commitment to help bolster cutting edge information and progress the industry forward.
As we approach our last chapter of our interview with Matt Simon, it’s where he leaves his closing remarks for the next generation of independent agents. He wants you to consider what you can give back that goes beyond yourself. If you can sincerely answer the question, “What can you can give to make the organization better?”, then he promises that you will get so much more out of it than what you could ever put in.
That’s the Story of Matt Simon, the guy who didn’t want to be in insurance, work for the family business, or live in a small town, doing all three and we wouldn’t want the story to end in any other way.