With roots dating back to 1975 as Ohlson & Associates, the revitalized Ohlson Group, Inc., Indianapolis, celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. Founder and CEO, Raymond J. Ohlson CLU, attained his insurance license while still a student at Ball State University in the early 1970s. By the end of his first year, he had already attained his seat at the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), of which he is now a Life Member and shortly after graduation, founded Ohlson & Associates, a full-service insurance agency with a unique vision. “Even in the early days,” Ohlson recalls. “I wanted to offer our clients something more, something different, and the fundamental tenets of our current business were born.”
Ohlson is referring to what he calls “S.C.I.P.” – an acronym for Service, Credibility, Integrity, and Profitability – the keystones of his approach to helping independent financial advisors and insurance agents market their products and services. “Over the past five years,” Ohlson explains, “we have emphasized for all of our more than two thousand contracted agents that they subscribe to the SCIP principles. In order to compete effectively in our industry, they must offer consistent personal service, coupled with recognizable credibility and provable integrity. When they do that, they will enjoy profitability in their business!”
Ohlson speaks from vast experience in the industry. He sold Ohlson & Associates in the early 90′s to become the president of one of America’s fastest growing life insurance companies along with marketing responsibilities for its Luxembourg and Bermuda operations. After 12 years, he left to re-open his own company as the Ohlson Group, Inc. in February 2002, “so that I could focus on helping those ‘front line’ people in our industry do better, particularly in the pre- and post-retirement planning market.” What Ohlson has seen over the past decade or so is an industry that no longer develops new talent as it had in the past.
“The average age of insurance agents in this country is about 55!” Ohlson states. “And over the next 10 years, we will lose about 50% of these folks. Yet, the “boomers” are starting to retire in the thousands each day, so that means we are going to have fewer and fewer agents to serve millions of more retirees in the very near future. And these agents will need the training and support that The Ohlson Group offers!” Ohlson’s company specializes in providing everything the independent advisor needs: from marketing programs, direct mail, and electronic media, to back office support and training. “In the past,” he continues, “the big insurance companies provided all of this kind of support; today, very few do – that’s where we come in.”
Ohlson has put together what he calls a “lean machine” of highly experienced financial associates who counsel new agents and work with experienced professionals to increase their profitability while keeping them informed on all of the rapidly changing rules and regulations at the state and national level. “Integrity,” he adds, “begins right here in our office. We focus on working only with associates who subscribe to our way of doing business – and there’s only one way as far as I’m concerned and that’s the right way!” As an example, Ohlson points to his being awarded the Eye on Ethics Award presented by the National Ethics Bureau, a consumer-oriented, private evaluation firm that examines individual agents’ records and publishes their findings for the general public.
“These five years have simply flown by,” Ohlson remarks. “Mainly because we are having so much fun working with agents all over the country and watching them build their businesses quickly. My sons (Nick and Joe), my talented and dedicated staff, and I are building a company of which we can be truly proud, and I look forward to celebrating our 25th Anniversary with them in 2028!”