(Note: This story appears in the January 2023 issue of ED Magazine)
Brian Bazemore lives to navigate the sometimes-treacherous waters of insurance for his clients.
ED: What’s one trait about yourself that people you conduct business with wouldn’t know about you or would be surprised to find out?
BAZEMORE: I was offered a full-ride Division I wrestling scholarship while in high school but ended my career prematurely due to injury.
ED: What attracted you to the insurance industry in the first place? When you were younger, what career path did you think you’d pursue, and how did it evolve into insurance?
BAZEMORE: I was originally an art major in college with plans to go on to be a fine arts painter. I toured Europe one summer with my mentor watching him work and he mentioned how much he missed his family and hated the clients that he worked with. It was then I decided that I no longer wanted to be an artist professionally.
I changed my major to business. I worked in a college bar and the owner would always complain about his insurance cost and how his guy never took care of him. My stepfamily owned a small regional insurance brokerage and I made a few calls and he moved his insurance to the family firm. After a summer internship in the family business, I fell in love with helping people navigate the insurance needs of their business.
ED: When you’re not in the office or working first-hand with a client, how do you enjoy spending your time? What are your favorite hobbies?
BAZEMORE: I have a wife and four children (all boys, ages 18,16,11 & 5). Most of my spare time is traveling/watching my boys play sports — primarily football and wrestling (both of which I lettered in high school). In the spare time, I enjoy playing bad golf, watching bad NFL football (it’s part of being a Carolina Panthers fan) and watching great college football (Georgia Bulldogs).
ED: Despite its extreme significance (especially in this industry), insurance can sometimes seem dry or intimidating — what tactics have you used that have helped make this subject matter more digestible and easy to comprehend?
BAZEMORE: I always try to tell stories using real-life circumstances and experiences to explain how insurance coverage is applicable. It’s always my goal to try to put myself in the seat of my client and give them the best information and advice from my professional perspective.
ED: What’s the strangest claim you’ve ever dealt with in the industry?
BAZEMORE: The strangest claim I’ve ever seen happened with one of my colleague’s clients. His client was a fairly wealthy collector and had just purchased a very expensive collection of rare cigars.
The client’s brother-in-law was house-sitting and decided to host a card game with a few of his college buddies. You guessed it: they smoked his $10k cigars. The client wanted to file a claim stating he had coverage for fire on his collectibles. Long story short, the client decided to take the matter up personally with his brother-in-law and not pursue the claim.
ED: Is there an insurance-related question that shocked you, and if so, what was it?
BAZEMORE: Unfortunately, nothing in the insurance industry shocks me anymore.
ED: If you could change one thing about the adult nightclub industry, what would it be and why?
BAZEMORE: I would like to see the adult nightclub industry get the respect, validation and recognition from the traditional business community that’s deserved. There are so many quality operators in the industry working very hard to shed unfair, antiquated stereotypes surrounding the adult nightclub space.
ED: Do you have a favorite sports team? Is there a sporting event you’ve never attended, but wish to?
BAZEMORE: Carolina Panthers; Super Bowl but only if my Panthers are playing.
ED: Do you have a favorite band or music artist? Do you have a concert wish list?
BAZEMORE: I love music of all types! Can’t pick just one. The first few to come to mind are BB King, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Ozzy, Muddy Waters, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley. I love seeing live shows and before kids had the luxury of seeing a ton of great bands so most of my “wish list” are guys that are deceased or no longer playing.
ED: Do you have a dream vacation destination? Or a personal favorite location you like to visit?
BAZEMORE: Every couple of years, my wife and I charter and bareboat for 10 days or so with friends/family in the British Virgin Islands. It’s such a special place and I love being able to island hop at will and just unplug. I also sneaky like people calling me captain! Lobster Trap, Anegada (British Virgin Islands) is my happy place!
ED: What’s your most memorable industry-related experience (either EXPO, our outside of EXPO)?
BAZEMORE: I love EXPO! The events, workshops but most of all the people! I have made so many great friends from EXPO and the experience gets better every year!
For more information, visit ajg.com or call (704) 860-3301.