Glenn Watkins was the first of two Associate Members to sit on the Big I NJ board of Directors when the association added the positions in 2017. Prior to that, he has served as treasurer of Big I Southern New Jersey for 14 years, a position he still holds today.
Glenn has been the senior vice president of marketing for Cumberland Insurance Group for over 22 years, and has been working in the industry since 1995. Glenn is a staunch advocate for independent insurance agents, regularly supporting events and association initiatives. Perhaps it’s his hidden talent that allows him to keep up with everything he has on his plate. Curious to what that is? You’ll have to read on to find out…
What initially brought you to the insurance industry?
My family owned an independent agency so I acquired my license to write insurance for them. This is obviously before I switched gears to the company side of the business.
How has being a member of the association impacted your career?
The best part about belonging to Big I NJ is the connections and friends that I have made, and the knowledge I have gained from being actively involved. I have made SO many friends from my participation in the industry and on both boards.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for our industry over the next 5 years?
There are many direct carriers that do not have the personal touch, the personal relationship, with their clients. This is a big advantage for independent agents. Leveraging this advantage is our greatest opportunity.
What advice would you share with individuals just starting out in the industry?
Get involved in the association. You meet so many people and have access to so much knowledge and information as a member.
Why would you recommend volunteering on the Big I NJ board?
This industry is always changing. Being on the board keeps you informed of what’s happening with carriers and agents. You learn about legislative issues that affect the industry from all levels – agents, carriers, and clients – and feel more confident that you can help inform people on all aspects of the industry.
What one hidden gem – as it relates to benefits/resources - do you think more Big I NJ members need to be taking advantage of?
Attending events. Big I NJ events help you meet people and those relationships are invaluable. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.
Who is your mentor?
James F. Anthony III. He was big supporter of Big I NJ before passing away. And Michael Razze, of course.
What is your greatest motivator?
My uncle James Anthony, who was an agent and a big part of the association before passing away. He worked hard all the time and was a big supporter of the independent agency system. Measuring up to him, doing what I believe would make him proud, motivates me.
What is the best professional advice you have received?
Take your time when making a big decision or giving an important response. Think things over carefully. Don’t rush it.
What's something that most people are surprised to learn about you?
I won a talent competition in college for juggling.