There’s no doubt having life insurance is essential. In addition to helping with funeral expenses, it is a wealth-building tool many have used to help propel their families to financial stability.
On the flip side, selling life insurance has also proven lucrative for agents. It yields the same opportunities with the additional benefit of being a successful business owner.
Here are three Black life insurance entrepreneurs who’ve built successful careers and agencies.
1. Anthony and Rickeyta Starks
Founded by Anthony in 2014, Financial Freedom is located in Dallas, Texas. On its website, the company is described as “an independent financial service brokerage” with the core values of growth, legacy, integrity, protection and service.
According to the couple’s bio, Anthony got into the insurance business in 2009 after losing both his father and grandfather within 12 months. Neither had proper life insurance, which motivated Anthony to enter the field to ensure other families wouldn’t have to go through the same trauma he did. He is currently the director of sales at their companies.
Rickeyta was initially a stay-at-home mom who began helping her husband with data entry as his business grew. She realized she was passionate about service and now works as Freedom Financial’s service director. She is also an award-winning author and founder of a non-profit called The Shed Women’s Group.
The Starks, who said they earn multi-six-figure incomes, recently appeared on the CA Power Players Podcast hosted by serial insurance entrepreneur Cody Askins to discuss how they thrive as married entrepreneurs.
“The business is just an extension of your life. If you can really get that in perspective … it really helps to focal point that priority of what goes in what order,” Anthony said when Askins asked how they balance everything, along with raising their three children.
“The only way a marriage or a business can last is depending on … how much pressure you can handle. Anytime you’re building muscle, anytime you’re building something that’s going to withstand time, it takes getting uncomfortable,” Rickeyta added.
As devout Christians, the couple credits God and their faith with helping them build their empire.
“When you think about power couples, people typically go to the secular mindset of, ‘Hey, we are just winning monetarily,’ but it goes beyond that. What does the day to day look like?” Anthony said. “Are you fighting through those crucial moments to make sure that your marriage lasts? Those are power couples who don’t get the recognition, so it’s beyond just, ‘Hey, we’re bosses making money together.’ What examples are you leaving as values planted in your households? Are you leading your family?”
“It’s more than having work-life balance; it’s more having work-life priorities. I built this business so I could have more time with my family [and] build the lifestyle that we want to have,” Rickeyta said. “Putting everything in priority of God first, family and then business, once any of those things get out of whack, your life is out of whack.”
They are hosting the Power Couples Conference on Nov. 11 in Dallas, Texas, to help other couples align their strengths and scale their businesses.
2. Edward Pritchett
When Edward Pritchett became an insurance agent, his first two years were rough. A graduate of Yale University, Pritchett entered the insurance industry as a field agent in 2008 after losing his career as a chemical engineer in that year’s recession.
By his admission, he only made $30,000, much of which he reinvested into his business. But through hard work and perseverance, the tide soon changed.
“It wasn’t going very well for me and so there were a lot of doubts,” Pritchett said during a speech to a group of fellow agents. “Here’s where clarity was able to come for me: I was able to find someone to speak like into me, someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself.”
Fast forward to today and Pritchett is the founder of The Pritchett Agency and a senior partner at Symmetry Financial Group, the agency with which he’s been partnered since 2010.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Pritchett’s namesake agency is “one of the largest production organizations and fastest-growing agencies within Symmetry Financial Group’s $300M a year insurance marketing organization.”
Pritchett, who resides in Dorado, Puerto Rico with his wife and their four children, touted how lucrative the insurance industry is.
“By building us all up when continue to grow this industry that really has no limits. There’s no end to what you can in the insurance industry,” Pritchett said. “There’s so much blue ocean. … In the life industry in the United States in 2020, they had their first trillion-dollar year of premium from consumers to carriers and guess who has to get in the way of that.”
He also takes pride in how transformative having life insurance is for families – noting how it helped his mother stay afloat and raise them in their home after his father died.
His company’s slogan is “We don’t create your legacy, we help make it better.”
He believes heavily in having clarity, focus, faith and mentorship as a guide to success.
“The principles of success are universal. If it works, it works,” Pritchett said. “You have to be clear about what you want and then believe that it’s possible for you. … It’s simple to say, maybe even simple to hear, in practice, that’s where the toughness comes.”
“Belief creates reality. If you believe, your reality will become what you believe. That’s how everything works,” Pritchett said.
3. Jeremy Whitaker
Jeremy Whittaker has been heralded as a phenom and rarity in the insurance industry. The former door-to-door salesman made $250,000 in six months and $1.2 million in his first 18 months selling life insurance primarily.
He founded The Whitaker Agency in 2016, which is also a Symmetry partner and one of its top-performing agencies.
Despite his mind-blowing success, Whitaker says when he started selling insurance, it wasn’t as seamless as he thought it would be.
When Askins asked how he accomplished his astronomical sales in such a short time, he was transparent about the challenges.
“It did not seem as if that was going to be my story if you really iron it out,” Whitaker said. “I definitely wasn’t foreseeing $1.2 million in 18 months. If you really want to know the truth, I thought it was going to be hard for me to do $100,000 my first little while [because of] the way it was looking.”
“For the first six weeks in the business, all I did was struggle. … I remember wanting to quit more than one time,” Whitaker said.
But he didn’t quit. The West Memphis, Arkansas native said he decided not to let the little voice in his head telling him he would fail win.
“All my life, I let that voice take over, and finally, I decided I wasn’t going to let that take over anymore. It didn’t matter how anybody felt, including me,” Whitaker said.
Today Whitaker has accomplished something Askins said is “unheard of” in the insurance industry – and he continues to thrive. His motto is, “Helping common people live uncommon lives.”
He also coaches and encourages people looking to begin insurance careers not to let inexperience limit them.
“I didn’t have experience coming here either, most people didn’t, but what I learned along the way was that it didn’t matter about the experience because what I was lacking in experience, I can make up for in hustle,” Whittaker said.