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It’s no secret that golf is a favored pastime and recreational activity for those who work in the insurance profession. But what makes a good insurance agent golfer, and how is their presence beneficial to fellow golfers?
Pittsfield native Jim Nichols, an insurance consultant for the Massachusetts- and Connecticut-based Bearingstar Insurance Agency, is a Mass Golf Member who has worked in the insurance industry for the past 10 years. Nichols answers some of these questions and elaborates on how Mass Golf Members can benefit by bundling their insurance policies with Arbella.
Mass Golf: How did you get your start in golf?
Jim Nichols: I got my start in golf at an early age. I started playing at 8 years old with my father. Once out of college I moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to work at Oyster Reef Golf Club. I then returned home to become the head golf professional at Forest Park Country Club in Adams, Massachusetts. I then opened my own golf shop in Pittsfield, which I owned for five years. Now I am a member of Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield.
MG: What kind of adventures has golf taken you on over the years? Any standout golf memories among them?
JN: Golf has taken me to some great places over the years like Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as well as some of the best courses in the country. Some of my fondest memories include winning the Pewter Cup Four-Ball with my son this summer as well as playing golf with my father and Carl Yastrzemski in a charity tournament. Playing golf with my wife and brothers in Ireland also stands out as some of my best times on the course.
MG: Has the insurance business brought more opportunities to connect with others in the golf community?
JN: Working for Bearingstar Insurance Agency and Arbella has allowed me to connect with golfers from all over the state at many charity tournaments and fundraisers. It has opened up quite a few doors for me.
MG: What makes a good agent golfer?
JN: Being an agent golfer allows me to connect with my clients on a more personal level than just meeting in the office. This means not only talking about insurance but allows us to build a true relationship and ultimately understand my customer’s insurance needs.
MG: Since golf has such a strong community, how important is it that Arbella has a special offer for those affiliated with Mass Golf?
JN: The golf community is a very tight-knit group and having Arbella affiliated with Mass Golf and being able to offer a group discount to its members only strengthens Arbella’s commitment to communities around Massachusetts. Arbella is providing access to their great product within the golf community.
MG: How valuable is it to put a friendly face and to share an experience with either current or prospective clients?
JN: It is always very important to routinely sit with current or prospective clients so we can build a long-term relationship. Also, I can help to educate them on their insurance needs by sharing real-world experiences that I have dealt with over the years, to ensure that people are properly protected. Arbella feels it is always important to do business face to face and not just have an online interaction. Playing with current or prospective clients allows me to learn more about them and I can be more consultative with my insurance advice. We insure people, not things.
MG: Who is in your dream foursome?
JN: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, John Daly, and to round out my dream foursome would be my father, Bob Nichols, who passed away 30 years ago.
MG: What is your favorite time of year to play golf in Massachusetts?
JN: My favorite time to play is the summer as I love the warm weather and a cold drink after.
MG: What’s the best golf advice you’ve either received or shared?
JN: The best golf advice I ever received was to never take it too seriously because it’s only golf. Enjoy every day you can on the golf course with family and friends.