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Meet Hadley Wood of H. Linwood Insurance Services Inc. in Carlsbad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hadley Wood.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hadley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My path to the insurance world is not unique – like most agents and brokers, it is something we usually fall into by accident. I don’t think any kid dreams of being an insurance broker! Insurance is actually my second career. In the 90’s and early 00’s, I was involved in the entertainment industry for 13 years. I loved it but the terribly long hours, grind and unbearable commute each day really wore me out. I moved back home to San Diego in 2003 and could not translate my career down here, so I took the first job I could find within biking distance from my home. Although I knew nothing about insurance, I took a huge pay-cut and was hired as a Wholesale Manager at a then-small brokerage in Carlsbad (SIS Insurance) – was thrown into the fire and had to learn on the spot. I soaked in everything I could, read every trade publication and networked with all the right people. After 2 years of this and getting my insurance license, I was approached by one of my contacts to start a partnership arrangement and run the retail insurance side of a large national structural warranty company. Wow – what a break! I was nervous and excited. Was I experienced enough to do this? Probably not – but I charged forward and set up an office in Carlsbad, hired brokers, designed the website, retained appointments with insurance carriers and marketed out to new clients.

From 2005 until the end of 2009, I was the President of SHW Insurance Services. I was proud of my accomplishments and the business we had built. The problem was that most of our clients were in the building and construction industry and when the 2008 recession hit, no one was building anything in California. I had made a key business mistake by putting all my apples in one risk barrel! My partner and I decided to split and I scrambled to pull all my knowledge, resources and contacts together to launch my own agency in January of 2010. I borrowed from my 401K, my parents and maxed out my credit cards to launch my business on my own. I worked 12 hour days, weekends and lived frugally for the first year. January 2018 marks the 8th year of my company’s success and resilience! I have 4 brokers with satellite offices that work for my company, over 500 clients and boast over 3 million in written premium a year. I believe that if you believe in yourself and your business and invest in yourself, you can really succeed!

Has it been a smooth road?
Owning your own business is never a smooth road. And if anyone says it is, I would love to meet them! Your learning and tweaking things on the fly and sometimes, your gut instinct fails you. In the beginning, I tried to cut costs and move quickly to get everything launched – that came back to bite me in the %$@* when my Corp was set up mistakenly as a C Corp and not an S Corp. I also ran 3 versions of my business card until I thought it worked. I was too impatient. Your business is like a having a child – you nurture it and love it but sometimes, it drives you crazy. The struggle of time management, delegation and saying ‘No’ have always been my key problem areas and I work on this everyday.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My uniqueness is my passion to work with new business owners and entrepreneurs. Because I am an Insurance Broker (not an agent) – I work for the clients, not the insurance companies. I only sell to business owners, no personal lines or life/health products so my clients are always interesting, excited about their businesses and each client has very specific needs. The insurance world is actually very exciting and dynamic. I know people are going to think – wow, is she nuts? How can insurance be exciting? I think of my job as a business consultant. I ask a lot of questions and get to learn a lot about all types of businesses. I do a lot of research to provide the best risk management coverage options and that means working with over 20 different underwriting companies. Newer insurance products like Cyber Liability, Employment practices coverage and Drone coverage provide me with a learning experience. Creating my own marketing campaigns, blogs, digital postcards and more allows my creative side to stretch its legs. I love what I do and have retained 90% of my clients – so, I think they love what I do too!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
In my eyes, San Diego is just becoming a ‘young adult’ as a city. For years, San Diego felt pretty stagnant and stale. I have seen enormous growth and opportunity here in the last 10 years. I believe that this is the perfect time for ANY business to launch in San Diego. The diversity element, talent pool, and resources for new business ventures is off the charts. I meet with Angel Investors and business incubator programs all the time and they are seeing more and more people come through their channels. Businesses would be crazy to not take San Diego seriously right now.

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4 Comments

  1. Geoffrey

    May 17, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Great article and congratulations Hadley!

  2. John

    May 18, 2018 at 2:14 am

    A very inspiring article of hard work and determination.

  3. avis starofservice

    May 22, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Congrats Hadley ! Very useful post.

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