Biz QandA: Belleville insurance agent gets high marks

Bret Boyd always looks at the bright side of life, no matter what. The insurance agent has recently has good reason to feel that way after Allstate recognized his agency as one of the company's "Regional Champion" qualifiers for outstanding service. Business reporter Will Buss recently talked with Boyd about his work in the insurance business:

Q. How does is feel to be recognized for your work?

A. "It felt awesome. We have been the Agent of the Year for a number of years in this area."

Q. How long have you been with Allstate?

A. "In September 1997, we officially opened here."

Q. Have you always been located in Belleville?

A. "Yes."

Q. How did you get that point?

A. "I'm originally from Phoenix, and I was running one of the largest car dealerships in the U.S. I was out there working 80 hours a week and realized that, 'Wow, is this ever going to slow down?' ... My ex-mother-in-law was an Allstate manager at the time, and when she would come out to Arizona, she said she had an agent who is retiring, which hardly ever happens, and if you come to work here, I can get you some accounts, not many, but some to get started. So I came out with the same work ethic I had in the car business. I'm a workaholic anyway; I work hard every day."

Q. What do you enjoy most about your work?

A. "Giving back. I am an active member of Zion Lutheran Church. I am a deacon and I am involved in a lot of community things. You've just got to go out there and get involved in the community. ... I work with my wife. She is the office manager. She has 20 years experience. She worked in her own agency as well."

Q. Where?

A. "She was a Country Companies agent for years. We joined forces eight years ago. Being able to run it as a family and watch it grow is what I really like about it."

Q. What plans do you have for the future?

A. "I'm looking to expand the agency, eventually, maybe open one in another location somewhere. I just want to have an opportunity to do that."

Q. What separates your agency from others?

A. "I would just say that we've got a hard-work ethic and have given back to the community. We always seem to find a way to rise to the top, no matter how tough it gets with the economy. Our guidelines change accordingly. But the glass of water is always half-full."