How I feel Responsible…

When the unexpected happens

I get asked why I got into the Life Insurance industry and what motivates me to continue to protect families. This rejection came from one of my favorite teachers at Pullman High School. Dan Fertakis was an English and Economics teacher and he was quick to tell me NO when I tried to sell him life insurance in 2002. When I first started I was quick to accept a “No” answer. This was the single biggest mistake of my career to date. Three years later on Oct 9th 2005 Dan Fertakis (age 41) died of cancer after a 18 month battle. 

Dan Fertakis

When first starting in the Life Insurance industry it’s extremely hard, as you have to call all your friends and family since you are paid only on commission. So that’s what I did. It’s surprising how quickly you run out of leads, so you get creative and have to reach out to people you have interacted with in the past.

The best way to at least get a “Maybe” is to talk with someone in person. Since I grew up in Pullman I went around to my old Pullman High School teachers houses to say hello after two years and ask if they were interested in life insurance. I was not the best at sales, but was diligent.

One day in the summer of 2002 I showed up at Dan’s house near Pullman High. His wife Stacey answered the door and went to get Dan. I only spoke with him for about five minutes and the last time I ever saw him alive (sorry I’m tearing up a bit as I write this). We chatted briefly about what we have been up to since I graduated in 2000. Then he asked me why I stopped by. I mentioned that Im working at Northwestern Mutual where I help families put together a retirement plan and life insurance. He quickly said he had life insurance through the school district which was enough for him and wished me luck. (I don’t work at Northwestern Mutual anymore, as an independent agent I can get significantly better prices.)

I’m not sure how much coverage the school district provides, yet after being in the industry for awhile I know it’s generally not really enough.

Fast forward to 2004 when I heard that Dan Fertakis got terminal cancer. This broke me. Instantly I remembered that moment when I asked him about Life Insurance. I put it out of my mind until late 2005 when I heard he passed away. I don’t know his family’s finances and not sure if he did get additional coverage in those next few years. Ironically, my brother Scott Franke was able to help the Fertakis family. His Sr Project was to cater a high quality dinner at a benefit auction. The catered dinner raised about $4,200 for the family…more than I did when I accepted a simple “No” I don’t need life insurance.

So when someone asks me what motivates me, I rarely tell this story, as I simply say it’s my passion to get people the best price for life insurance in a straight forward manner. I don’t pressure clients into buying Life Insurance, but whenever I hear a quick “No Thank You” I ask why…then ask them again in a different way. Believe me, I’m not pressuring you. I’m trying to prevent you from being another Dan Fertakis in my life.

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Gary Franke, MBA
Independent Broker
Achieve Alpha Insurance, LLC           
12507 Bel-Red Rd, Ste 103
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 802-2783

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