It’s time for another monthly installment of our Proformex Pioneer award! For the month of March, we decided to honor our good friend Ken Leibow. Ken is equally knowledgeable and enthusiastic about our industry, and we appreciate his positive presence (especially amidst these stressful, uncertain times) and his willingness to share a little bit more about himself with us. Read on below!
How long have you been in your field?
KL: 33 years.
Why did you choose life insurance?
KL: Back in 1986 I saw an ad in the newspaper: Life Insurance Agency, Diversified Underwriters Services, Inc., in Miami, Florida looking for Accounting help. I had a business degree and accounting degree, but I had no idea it was for Life Insurance Agent Commission Accounting. I spent my first 13 years working for this Life Insurance National Brokerage Agency learning the business, getting Life and Securities licensed eventually becoming the VP of Operations.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
KL: As COO of Integrated Insurance Technologies (IIT) owned by SelectQuote, we built the largest Life Insurance Data Exchange Hub (IDX) in the industry moving data for the top 50 Life Insurance Carriers in the industry in multiple distribution channels. The IDX moved Pending Case Status and commission data for 1 million new life insurance policies a year and for over $30 Billion Dollars of Annuities changing the industry. Connected to the hub we developed the most powerful Agency Management System (GA System), Pending Case Viewer (QuickView) and other innovative solutions connected to the Data Hub. We also played a big role in building out Data Standards with ACORD. The IDX significantly improved placement ratio and profitability for Life Carriers, BGAs and Agents. The insurance data exchange hub was eventually sold to Oracle, Inc. a Fortune 200 Company.
What’s one piece of advice you wish you had when you started?
KL: I was lucky to have some very good mentors in my career. I wish when I started my career that I had been trained and given advice on working on team projects. How to work and interact as well as lead a project team in an effective way. I had to learn from experience the hard way. Later in my career working for Life Insurance Carriers this training was given to all relevant associates, however most of it I had learned on my own earlier in my career.
What is your favorite book or podcast?
KL: I read quite number of books and listen to podcasts. I have no consistency on topics covering non-fiction and fiction. There are many that I enjoyed and some I didn’t like as much. I have many favorites. Recently I read the “Shoe Dog” a memoir by the creator of NIKE Phil Knight. I choose the book because it was recommended by Warren Buffett. Phil Knight is a great storyteller. It’s amazing how he borrowed $50 from his father and eventually turned it into a $30 Billion Dollar company. I highly recommend it.
What’s one thing in your day that you can’t live without?
KL: I guess subconsciously it’s communicating with my wife. Every morning we have coffee together, and when I am traveling on business, we communicate several times daily either by text, phone call, or face time. We have been married 31 years and have 2 adult children.
And finally, what is currently the number one item on your bucket list?
KL: I don’t have a bucket list; however, I would like to visit Peru. From the historical Inca artifacts in the mountains, the beaches of Lima, Peruvian Amazon, to visiting the Spanish mansions and eating the best Ceviche in the World!
Ken, our sincerest gratitude to you for taking the time to share with all of us and for continuing to be a leader in life insurance as our industry continues to evolve. Let’s hope it will soon be safe again for you to cross that trip to Peru off your list!