Jay Roberts, President of SIA Truck Insurance Agency, joins us to talk about niche insurance and how their understanding of the industry provided better service for customers.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Jay Curry: We’re back. Hello Texas. Welcome back to “Texas Business Radio.” We got a great segment here. I’m calling this, “Build Your Own Business.” Now is that America or what? This is going to be great. Before we get started, let me remind you, just sit back and relax. Everything we do is on TexasBusinessRadio.com, TexasBusinessRadio.com. You can go there, you can see every interview, all the information about our sponsors, Matt and I, even Daniel’s probably in there somewhere. Just relax and enjoy the program.
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Let’s get started. This is going to be a great segment on how to build your own business and be very successful with it. We have in the studio Jay Roberts, who is the founder, CEO, President, you name it, Chief Bottle Washer, whatever needs to be, but you’re not a one man shop, so that speaks much for it. Specialty is insurance. Specialty, specialty is trucking insurance. Name of the company is SI Trucking. Jay, thank you for coming in.
Jay Roberts : Yes sir. It’s SIA Truck Insurance, yeah, SIA.
Jay Curry: SIA Trucking Insurance.
Jay Roberts : Yes sir.
Jay Curry: Jay, tell us what the heck that is all about.
Jay Roberts : Well, I started the business back in 1982, the insurance business. Very, very young, learned a lot. I’ve worked for many different companies and had the pleasure of working with a lot of different companies around the states.
Jay Curry: In insurance.
Jay Roberts : In the insurance, all those years ago.
Jay Curry: Your background in insurance goes back …
Jay Roberts : 39 years.
Jay Curry: 39 years.
Jay Roberts : Since 2011, when I moved back here from Nevada, I wondered what I was going to do. I sold my insurance business back there, and I came out here to Houston again, where my family is, my kids and my parents.
Jay Curry: Where you’re from.
Jay Roberts : Yeah. I decided I would take what I knew, the different, the aspects of what I learned with different types of insurance and companies, and see what I could do with it. I designed, after I looked at the insurance market …
Jay Curry: Industry.
Jay Roberts : Industry. The truck insurance really, really struck me as the way to go-
Jay Curry: Big need.
Jay Roberts : The way to go. Big need, it needed some help. I needed some help. It was a big challenge, it’s still a big challenge.
Jay Curry: You become an expert in that field, and trucking’s kind of unique.
Jay Roberts : It is very unique.
Jay Curry: You don’t want just your everyday insurance company involved because there’s a lot of laws, a lot of regulations, every state’s different. Trucks go from one state to the other.
Jay Roberts : Different types of cargo, different types of trucks, different companies, yes sir.
Jay Curry: You also specialize in helping the truck owner, driver, rather than working for an insurance company You have a lot of insurance companies that you can tap to get the best solution.
Jay Roberts : Yes, yes.
Jay Curry: Tell us about why that’s important.
Jay Roberts : Someone calls in and they have, oh, 25 trucks. What they do, they’re interstate, they’re not just intrastate here in Texas.
Jay Curry: Right.
Jay Roberts : They’re interstate. There’s certain companies that will write you … They’re specialized in that, interstate. What you do, whether it be frozen foods or if it be steel or hazmat …
Jay Curry: Hazmat.
Jay Roberts : … or anything, yes. I find the companies that will write that particular genre of trucker and that cargo and put it out to market.
Put it out to market, market comes back and they give me the different rates. I, on a spreadsheet, look at it, give it to the client and say, “This is this, this is this. This is what you want, this is what you need.” I try and help the best I can.
Jay Curry: When we talk about trucks, we’re not talking about a little pickup truck. We’re talking about the big ones.
Jay Roberts : Huge.
Jay Curry: Big trucks. Are there, there just got to be multiple kinds. I mean, you’ve got-
Jay Roberts : Oh lord.
Jay Curry: … Hazmat trucks, and everyone’s a little different. Is that right?
Jay Roberts : Every one’s a little bit different. The older trucks are coming … Well, they don’t like the older trucks anymore. The government-
Jay Curry: They want to get them off the …
Jay Roberts : … Especially California.
Jay Curry: Yeah.
Jay Roberts : They’re just … The newer trucks are what everyone wants.
Jay Curry: Of course, they’re the most expensive but they meet all the-
Jay Roberts : Correct.
Jay Curry: Laws and regulations and emissions, and things of that sort. Tell me about why a trucker, and I guess, you really deal more with the truck owner than the trucker, but if they’re self-owned, you’ll deal with just one, right?
Jay Roberts : Correct.
Jay Curry: It doesn’t have to be big, but you also deal with mass fleets.
Jay Roberts : Correct.
Jay Curry: The whole … You really specialize, get to know this business, have spent 39 years at it, and being an expert in the field, why other than that would somebody come to you?
Jay Roberts : They come to me because of the service, once they see the service. I have to get them with the prices and have to sell somebody on it. When someone has a large fleet, 100 trucks, everyone is gunning for that business. The person that has it, the company that has it, the large, large, large brokers are really reticent to let go of those things, and they keep a really close eye on those.
Breaking into the large ones, someone like me, is challenging, but once I do, the service keeps on selling.
Jay Curry: You’re able to bring that expertise. Now, you’d think that the trucker or the owner can just buy what they want, but that’s not true. Every state’s different, you got to know those laws. The type of truck, if it’s a dump truck that’s one thing, but what’s it carrying? Is it a hazmat truck? Who decides what kind of insurance you have to offer?
Jay Roberts : If you’re a trucker, when you are a trucker, and your client dictates what kind of insurance you’re going to get, as far as the amount for the cargo insurance. The government dictates the liability that you have to have. It’s usually a million dollars.
Here in Texas, dump trucks can have 500,000, they only require 500,000. All your dump trucks here, very few have a million dollar coverage, unless their clients require them to, then they have to have it. For instance, there is no cargo insurance for dirt, dump trucks or gravel or anything like that. Your frozen chickens and your reefers, your box trucks, your valves, your oil field equipment, it can be 100,000 to-
Jay Curry: Yeah. That’d be huge.
Jay Roberts : Yeah, it’s …
Jay Curry: Again, you got to know the specialty about how to do that.
Jay Roberts : You have to know.
Jay Curry: There’s been a lot of turmoil lately in this industry with the insurance companies. Talk to me a little bit about that. We talked a little bit before we came on and it seems like, I don’t know, just almost getting out of hand. The lawsuits and big insurance companies getting out of the business, making it more important for you to really know what you’re getting.
Jay Roberts : The bigger insurance companies left, a few of them left last year and the year before. Either just out right canceling the policies or raising the premium to where people had to leave, they couldn’t afford that company anymore. Typically, for every … The past year, for every $100 of premium the insurance companies took in, they paid out $114 in claims.
Jay Curry: Well, they lost money.
Jay Roberts : They lost money.
Jay Curry: That’s why they got out of the business.
Jay Roberts : They did.
Jay Curry: Then you have a big, gaping hole and along comes Jay Roberts to …
Jay Roberts : Some companies come in … Well, I …
Jay Curry: … Get the right company to fit it, right?
Jay Roberts : Some of my companies left too, so I’m out there scratching for companies some months trying to find a place to put my customers.
Jay Curry: What do you see for the future in the trucking industry and everything that’s going on? I mean, there’s more and more trucks every year. I was noticing, we went to Indiana to see the grandkids over the holidays and, wow, there’s just more and more trucks on the road. They just almost dominate it during-
Jay Roberts : There’s a lot of trucks. There’s a lot of challenges for the truck companies. It’s hard to find drivers. The driver shortage out there is a huge challenge. You’re right, there’s a lot of trucks out there. A lot of old ones are getting off the roads, like you said. The newer ones are more expensive and it’s very challenging for someone like you or me, if we wanted to start a company, to do something else. I mean, it’s-
Jay Curry: It’s got to be-
Jay Roberts : Tough. You better have deep-
Jay Curry: The lawyers live in this environment.
Jay Roberts : Yes sir.
Jay Curry: Because there’s wrecks and all kinds of-
Jay Roberts : You’ll see billboards all over the place about it. If you even been looked at a trucker … Well, you know. [crosstalk 00:09:48] “Call us, we’ll go ahead and, we’ll get some money.”
Jay Curry: Well folks, we’ve been talking to Jay Roberts of SAI Trucking Insurance Agency. Jay, if someone wants to get a hold of you and learn more or maybe price out their insurance, how do they get a hold of you?
Jay Roberts : Well, they can call me at 832-777-5562 or go to my website, which is SouthernINSAdvisors.com.
Jay Curry: Well, there you have it. Folks, we got to take a break here. Jay, thank you for coming. Very interesting story, very unique business.
Jay Roberts : Thank you, Jay.
Jay Curry: You got to build it yourself.
Jay Roberts : Yes sir.
Jay Curry: The way you wanted to do it. That’s America at its best. We’re going to go pay some bills. This is Jay Curry, your host for this segment. I just got a text, and Matt’s on his way, so he should be on the next segment. We’ll be right back, don’t go anywhere.
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Jay W. Curry
Along with hosting “Texas Business Radio”, Jay is a Professional Certified Coach and Master Chair facilitating four Houston-based Vistage peer groups. In addition to being a best selling non-fiction author, the 2015 release of his award winning novel, Nixon and Dovey: the Legend Returns, adds novelist to his title. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics from Oklahoma State and an MS in Computer Science from Kansas State. You can learn more about Jay HERE.