Rising Star Josh Jabour Talks Aviation Insurance and Shares What It Takes to Be Best in the Industry
Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers that represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.
Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds now and continuing into 2022.
Here we talk to Josh Jabour, vice president of sales at AssuredPartners, and a 2021 Aviation Power Broker finalist and Rising Star.
Risk & Insurance: What was your biggest win as an aviation broker in the past year?
Josh Jabour: I worked with a fairly large charter manager out of California. They manage a little over a dozen airplanes.
R&I: How did you get your start as an insurance broker? When did you realize this career path was for you?
JJ: This is all I’ve done my entire adult life, since I was 22 years old, and I took a summer job working for a family’s aviation insurance firm in Lancaster, Texas. It was over the summer. I just started doing some filing, watering plants — what a 20-year-old kid does as a summer gig before going back to Ole Miss to finish their degree — and somebody quit.
They asked if I wanted to start answering phones and taking on a little more responsibility. We were on the second floor of the terminal building at the Lancaster airport, and I started taking phone calls and talking to pilots and aircraft owners and made friends with the line guys downstairs. The rest is history.
My skills have gotten better and better. I worked for my family’s agency for 14 years, and then at the time, AssuredPartners Aerospace recruited me. They said, “You should come and have dinner and hear what we have to say.” When I had dinner with them, I was 31 at the time, and they said, “You know, if you want to be the best in this industry, you’ve got to come work for the best.”
That resonated with me. So, after that dinner I went home and talked to my wife, and I called and talked to my boss, and more or less I worked it out. We moved from Loxahatchee to Plano, Texas and have been here for seven and a half years.
R&I: What have you accomplished in your career that you are proudest of?
JJ: I’m so proud of the network I’ve built. It feels just as much like they’re friends as colleagues. I’ve won some very prestigious awards — the inaugural top 40 under 40 by NBAA. I have been named a Power Broker and a Rising Star. I’ve won the bid for the state of Texas to insure every state owned airplane. I’ve done that for the last four years.
For some of the accounts that have named me their broker, it’s been very humbling to be able to represent those people day in and day out. When they hire me and they hire us, it’s a big honor to represent them and to go out and negotiate on their behalf. It’s humbling to me daily.
I’m just extremely proud to see the culmination of the work that I’ve put in. I’m only 39 years old. I don’t know that there’s a better team in the industry. I can go into any meeting, feeling like, ‘Why not us?’ That’s such a big deal for me to get recruited onto this team.
R&I: As you look ahead, what do you think the most pressing issue for your clients will be for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022?
JJ: So, in aviation insurance, we’ve been in the hardest market that we’ve seen since 2008. The last two-and-a-half to three years have been extremely challenging on both sides. We’ve had rate increases, and every client deserves to know what the expectation is, to know what they are going to see for the coming year for their budget, and to have a realistic expectation of what their business expense is going to be.
So, after these last two years of hardening markets and difficult conversations, we were starting to see some stability.
Do I think the markets are going to go down? No, I don’t. I think what we’re seeing on the hockey stick is the top of that curve, where we’re starting to level off, to get to where renewal conversations are a little bit easier. I don’t know that that’s going to hold true in every sector of aerospace, but for the most part, I think the hardest parts are behind us.
Right now our market is in a pretty good place; I don’t think it’s going to be nearly as much of a knee jerk reaction as it’s been. From a broker side, from a client side, it would be great to see another market in and try to push to keep rates level or down.
R&I: What about this work excites and challenges you?
JJ: I get to be around airports and airplanes all the time. You know, that’s the fun side.
The exciting, challenging part is that every time I’m going out and trying to win a client, it’s a game. It’s a competition. They’re choosing you to go out and represent them. They’re hiring you over somebody else, and that’s the challenge to me. The exciting part of this is why you should choose my team. This is what makes us so much better.
When someone goes and markets, you know the standard lines are “Oh we’ve got all this experience. We’ve got the best relationships.” So many people pitch on that GEICO model: “15 minutes can save you 15%.”
I’ve run up against so many hobbyists and they don’t want that.
I ran into people who were really passionate about aviation but maybe not really passionate about the details of how a policy should read or looking deep down into it and understanding what their exposures really are.
That’s where I learned what’s made me head-and-shoulders better than the competition. Before I was a great sales guy. I could connect with people, easily, but there’s a completely different level of being a true insurance professional and getting down into the details and understanding the exposures and how to negotiate the terms and conditions of impulse to buy.
It’s not just about taking the cheapest price; it’s about finding the policy and the product that gets the client the best value. &