Local insurance agent in the final of the national competition | Company
PENDLETON — Last September, when Sean Kirby and his wife were planning a getaway before the birth of their first child, he received an invitation to a small conference in San Antonio for insurance professionals.
“My wife was pregnant and our anniversary is in September, so I said, ‘Why don’t we do three things at once?’ “recalls Kirby.
The conference ended with the announcement of a live vote to choose a winner for an “Apprentice” style contest called “The Protégé”. The show, hosted on YouTube, features 15 insurance agents from across the country participating in challenges designed to help them grow their business.
After the vote, representatives from Killing Commercial Insurance, a sales training program designed for independent insurance agents, issued a call for entries for the show’s second season. On a whim, Kirby decided to submit a video audition.
“The whole program is about how to build a business enterprise and how to work with business owners and how to solve business owner problems,” Kirby said. “I got excited because I had found what makes me happy.”
Kirby’s audition video, one of hundreds of submissions, was chosen for him to be one of the contestants for the second season. After 10 weeks of challenges and fan voting, he is part of the final trio, from which a winner will be chosen after online voting closes next week. The winner receives a full membership in the Killing Commercial program, worth nearly $17,000.
Kirby, who graduated from Pendleton Heights High School in 2014 and attended the University of Iowa, has run the Performance Insurance Group, owned by his father, Mike, since 2017. He said his experience with “The Protégé “helped him bring an outgoing personality to a profession that, he admits, many find uninteresting.
“Insurance, clearly, is a boring thing, right?” he said. “If you look at it from the outside, it seems very boring to see us facing the challenges of developing a business plan. But (the show) allowed me to show some personality and stay captivating in my own aspect and add to the show as much as possible.
He added that whatever the outcome, he hopes his appearances on the show will bring welcome attention to the local business community and its efforts to revitalize the area.
“Eyeballs are everything,” he said. “If you look at what Madison County is and has always been, it’s hard-working, blue-collar workers. If someone in a national competition can still make it in Madison County and work with big companies, that’s the idea.
Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.