Agent Spotlight: Allstate’s Andrea Chatham

The California Allstate agent shares her best tip for closing deals and the strangest claim she’s ever had

Allstate agent Andrea Chatham started in the insurance industry when she was 18 years old.

Our monthly Agent Spotlight series highlights some of the top agents on our MediaAlpha for Agents platform. This month, we caught up with Andrea Chatham, an Allstate agent and the owner of Chatham Family Insurance Services in Fountain Valley, California.

MediaAlpha: How did you wind up becoming an insurance agent?

Andrea Chatham: I actually followed in my father’s footsteps. He worked as an Allstate sales manager for many years, and then as an Allstate agent for about 12 years at the end of his career. That’s where I started in the business—at his office when I was about 18 years old. It was just him, me, and my sister, and we worked all day together.

Working there taught me that it’s good to have your hands involved in every different part of the business. Learning claims, learning about the sales experience, learning about the customer experience, reading the policies, and just being thorough in everything that I do. This way, I don’t look bad if somebody has a question and I don’t have an answer. I try to have as many answers as I can right when the customer calls.

In March of 2017, I bought a different Allstate agency because I didn’t want my father to have to give me the daughter discount. He sold his agency about three months after I bought mine, and he was able to retire on what he made in the sale.

MA: What’s your favorite part of the job?

AC: Every day is a different day in the insurance business. You don’t know what your day will look like walking into it. You could have a customer walk in, a person calling from the scene of an accident, or a big sales day. Needless to say, insurance keeps you on your toes. You never have a dull moment, and you never run out of things to do.

MA: What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry since you started working in it?

AC: The biggest change I have seen in the industry is the technology that has been improved to help assist insurance professionals.

When we started, we had a green and black data-entry computer system. Pretty quickly, this developed into the system that we still use here. This upgrade helped tremendously, as it allowed us to see all of our clients whose policies would be renewing in the next 45 days. Previously, we weren’t able to tell what was going to happen, we would just get calls from the customers saying, “Hey, my premium went up.” Even if their premium is going up, calling in advance gives you a better chance at retaining your customer than if they just get the increase themselves and decide to shop.

MA: What’s your best tip for working leads and closing the deal?

AC: Patience, persistence, and personality all the way.

I once had a customer’s kid call us because he was helping out his mom. He liked me, but he also liked the company he was with. I followed up with him every six months just to say hi, see how he was doing, and let him know I was here. Eventually, I earned his business about 2.5 years later. His company was not renewing his home policy, and I was the first person that he looked to. There were cheaper options available, but he chose me because of my consistency and the way I maintained our relationship. That’s super important in what we do.

MA: What’s the strangest claim you’ve ever had come in?

AC: Oh, there have been so many! But the strangest claim I have ever had was when my customer’s parked car was hit by someone driving a stolen vehicle. The person who hit them fled the scene and left the car there with a warm burrito and a cold beer sitting in the front seat. I think it was karma that the guy never got to eat his burrito.

We’re still working on that claim right now. Everything is going fine, it’s just a particular kind of claim because the responsible party is the guy that stole the car, but we can’t find him. The damage isn’t really the fault of the person whose car was stolen, but their insurance still has to be involved.

I always say that karma plays a factor in insurance. I have people that get hit in a parking lot, but nobody leaves a note. I always tell them, “We’re going to take care of you now, but don’t worry, karma’s going to come back.”

MediaAlpha for Agents is the insurance industry’s best source for high-quality online leads. If you’d like to learn more about why agents like Andrea trust us to help them grow their businesses, schedule a meeting with us on our website.

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