The story of how Trae Wieniewitz began his career in the insurance industry is common enough. He started off working as an agent at a large insurance company. Three years later, Wieniewitz’ entrepreneurial spirit spurred him to strike out on his own. This is where his story starts to become uncommon.
“In 2004, a business associate, Ron Knowles, told me about Asset Marketing Systems (AMS),” Wieniewitz said. “AMS appealed to me because they gave me the support I needed to be independent. They opened up the whole concept of seminar marketing and I no longer had to worry about where I’d find my next client.”
Over the following year, Wieniewitz built his practice, splitting his time between his home in Baton Rouge, La., New Orleans, and Biloxi, Miss., where he held seminars. Business was good. But that was all about to change.
On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast. New Orleans suffered considerable damage and Biloxi was devastated.
“The hurricane wiped out everything,” Wieniewitz remembered. “So many homes were destroyed. I didn’t know where most of my clients were. Even the restaurants I used for seminars were completely gone.”
Not only did Katrina scatter his client base and destroy his seminar locations, it also forced the residents who remained on the Gulf Coast to focus on rebuilding their lives, not on longer-range needs like retirement planning. Wieniewitz found himself at a crossroads. He could either stay in Baton Rouge and wait for life on the Gulf Coast to return to normal, or he could start again somewhere else.
The decision came down to the business model he had created with his AMS business consultant, Dee Costa. Wieniewitz believed strongly that he could take that model, which was a proven success, and rebuild a prosperous practice in a new area. Working closely with AMS, Wieniewitz and his family scouted out new territories where they could start a new life for themselves.