Business feature: Insurance company relies on referrals

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

Mickey and Rhonda Paden have owned and operated Paden Insurance since 1981.

Paden said her husband, Mickey, got tired of working in the construction business and decided to go into insurance.

“We just jumped out there and did it,” Paden said.

What does it take to sell insurance: Every year a person has to take 15 hours of insurance education, and pass a state insurance exam for all the different types of insurance a company sells to the public.

Paden said they had to be sponsored by a company before they could take the test.

Her husband was sponsored by Farmers Union. State Wide Insurance used to sponsor Rhonda, but it does not exist anymore.

Running a business: In order to start a business now, someone still needs to be sponsored by a company or an agency, even if they are going into customer representation. Sponsorship and the state exam are must haves.

Paden advises not to start an insurance business in this economy, even though the insurance business has treated them well over the years.

“You have to build the company from the bottom up,” Paden said. “You depend on walk-ins and if you’re not well-known, it is hard to get established.”

Paden Insurance is looking into having a Web site in the next month or so to help them with their business.

They rely mostly on word-of-mouth about their business or people calling in for rate quotes. Most of their customers are referrals.