John Chachas has been around the insurance business long enough to remember how to write policies by hand. Though he uses a computer now to handle most of his business inside his Farmer’s Insurance office on 800 Avenue G, his near 30-year career in insurance has taught him one important lesson.
Keeping a small business alive in Ely takes a lot of work.
“The thing that I’ve learned after all these years is that staying in business here is tough,” Chachas said.
But for close to three decades, Chachas has put in the work and stayed in business. He survived the challenging years after Kennecott closed their copper mine and kept his doors open amid the ever increasing competition for insurance discounts.
So, how did he do it?
“When the implosion occurred with the mine shutting down, I lost a lot of clients. But providing personal service is what really built our business,” Chachas said.
Of course it didn’t hurt that both he and his wife, who have worked together at the office for over two decades, were heavily involved in the community. John served on the County Commission for 16 years and his wife Irene was on the school board for 12. According to Chachas, being involved in the community allowed him to meet more people and establish himself as a face that people could come to for services.
Despite the changes to technology, that kind of personal interaction has stayed the same. These days, Chachas thinks that sometimes doing things the old way, face to face, is the only way to really explain the complexities of insurance plans and answer questions in a way that will leave customers feeling comfortable and knowledgeable about what they are paying for.
“There is a lot to know and understand. They can come in and sit down with me. I give out my cell number on my business card so they can call me at home and on the weekend. It’s supposed to be a personal service industry but in a lot of businesses, that service is lacking,” Chachas said.
In particular, he said that the best part of his job is getting to work with senior citizens since he qualifies as one himself. He finds that they are the ones that are often in the most need for insurance and it is important that they have someone they can come to to explain their policy and make sure it is the right one for them.
Most of the policies that come through his office are car insurance, but Chachas said that he deals with home and property insurance as well. The only thing he doesn’t deal in is health insurance, calling it “a mess.”
For more information on the products and policies that John Chachas can provide, call 775-289-4448.