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Kristin Ryan

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Kristin Ryan is the COO of Hanson & Ryan, a family agency that she runs alongside her sister, Carrie. She may have officially joined the agency in 2010, but Kristin has been an unofficial member of the team since birth. She’s been actively involved in the association since then, assuming her first position on the Young Agents Council (YAC) board in 2012 and joining the Big I NJ ‘big’ board in 2020. Currently, Kristin is serving as the Vice Chairman of the organization until October 2024, where she will be inducted as the next Big I NJ Chairman.

Kristin brings an intense passion and energy to the industry and has strong beliefs about how she wants people to reflect back on this time at the association. She also shares a unique connection with everyone’s favorite mobster, Tony Soprano. You’ll have to read her interview below to find out.

What initially brought you to the insurance industry?
I graduated college at the height of unemployment and was having a difficult time finding a job in my field. That’s when I started helping out at my family’s agency, Hanson & Ryan. It just so happened that I really enjoyed the work and I suppose you can say after 13+ years, the rest is history.
How has being a member of the association impacted your career? 
I have developed some amazing friendships through the organization with other agents, carrier reps and vendors. Many of my fellow agents share similar struggles so we tend to lean on each other for support. 

I also credit Big I NJ for helping me gain confidence in the industry and opening doors to so many incredible opportunities, such as participating in national meetings and visiting with our elected officials in Washington D.C.

What do you see as the greatest opportunity for our industry over the next 5 years? 
I have never experienced a true hard market before and we seem to be heading there. Insurance is unique in that people may not necessarily want our product, but they do need it. This, in my opinion, will lead to tremendous growth for agencies in the coming years.

We’re also going to continue to see an increase in mergers and acquisitions, which will present a unique opportunity for agencies to acquire really great talent, and new clients, if they’re paying attention to it.

What technological breakthrough, device, or innovation, do you think will have the greatest impact on insurance over the next 5+ years? 
ChatGPT is the latest crazy technological advancement that I’ve seen. It has everyone buzzing. I can’t imagine what will be coming next, but I’m here for it! 

What advice would you share with individuals just starting out in the industry?
Get involved! There are so many opportunities available to help you advance. Join a board, show up to an event, volunteer on a committee, whatever piques your interest, just do it. Don’t be shy, jump in!

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time on the board?
Everyone is always talking about the ‘good old days’. I want to make these days, where we are today, better so that when people look back to where we are now they have the same emotional response. Obviously, times have changed and we need to adjust accordingly, but these can be the ‘good ole days’ too. I’m also really interested in growing the involvement in Big I NJ and making our state association stand out on a national level.

What one hidden gem – as it relates to benefits/resources - do you think more Big I NJ members need to be taking advantage of? 
I love IdealTraits for hiring. Everyone should be using it. Also, Catalyit, the association’s newest tech tool, is amazing. It offers so much information and guidance when you’re analyzing technology, it’s really invaluable.

Who is your mentor?
My dad and my sister have been my biggest mentors both professionally and personally. I am lucky enough to work well with my family. They have been a huge advocate of mine, and offer tremendous support when issues arise. 

What is your greatest motivator?
The fear of failure. As a 4th generation businessowner, the odds are stacked against me. My goal has always been to keep my agency growing to take it to the next level.

What is the best professional advice you have received?
Number One – NEVER give bad news on a Friday.
Number Two – Always abide by the 24-hour rule. When confronted with an issue sometimes its best to take 24-hours before reacting.

What's something that most people are surprised to learn about you?
While I love where I am with my career, I have a great love for art. I actually have a degree in art and interior design as well as a bachelor’s in business management.

Also, fun fact, the Sopranos filmed in my childhood home!