Biggs Insurance Services announced last week the retirement of Greg Seifert, the company’s past president and “invaluable member of the team for decades.”
Seifert joined Biggs in 1981 as the agency’s sole “life guy,” but soon broadened that role into an entire new department. He became an owner of the company in the late 1990s and stepped in as president in January 2008.
Seifert led the company in a decade of solid growth following the serious recession. In addition, he said his biggest goal has always been to foster a positive working atmosphere, and to establish a strong team of fellow leaders to whom he could pass the torch.
Here is a brief Q & A that the Vancouver Business Journal did with Seifert after learning of his retirement.
VBJ: How has the insurance industry changed since you first joined Biggs in 1981?
Seifert: I would say the biggest changes impacting the entire industry have to be the technology. When I first entered the business there were no computers and there weren‘t even fax machines. I recall when plain paper fax machines were a big deal. Each new tech generation increased the speed with which we were able to conduct business. When first in the business we had rate books, now you can quote life insurance coverage for someone online with over 10 insurance carriers and have a side-by-side comparison done in less than 10 minutes.
VBJ: Looking back over your time at Biggs, what would you say were maybe one or two of your biggest accomplishments? Things you are most proud of?
Seifert: I am first most proud that I was able to successfully create the “life department” in an agency that was traditionally property and casualty only. This was due to hard work, but also due to the help of many fellow Biggs’ teammates who supported the effort and trusted me to work with their clients. I am also proud to have been given the opportunity to help lead the agency with a talented group of partners and amazing and professional employees. It was my desire to help create a place where our team enjoyed working and our clients were cared for with professionalism and expertise. I would like to think we pulled it off.
VBJ: What are your plans for retirement? Anything exciting?
Seifert: I am fond of saying that I retired from Biggs, but not from life. I may keep my hand in the insurance arena in some manner, but that is yet to be determined. I currently serve on the board for Forward Edge International, a ministry serving children and families in several countries, including disaster relief in the U.S. I also hope to go to Romania again this summer to work at the Camp of the Good Shepherd with Heart of Hope International. Apart from volunteering I hope to be able to travel again with my wife Karen. We have discovered river cruises and would like to be able to do that again. Might even play some golf again.
VBJ: If you could offer a few parting words to your colleagues at Biggs, what would they be?
Seifert: Parting words sounds so final. I would again want to make sure my team knows how honored I was to work with them, some for nearly 40 years, and to be allowed to be their fearless leader during a time of many changes and challenges.