Kevin Sullivan has taken niche market – health insurance for rugby players in California – and turned it into a thriving practice. Find out how he got started, and learn his advice for creating a niche market of your own.
Q: Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in insurance?
Kevin Sullivan: Five years ago, I was in a bar after a rugby match. I had just finished creating a website for a dental plan company. My buddy Stewie joked that I should sell health insurance to rugby players; I asked my teammates, who was dumb enough to do that? Eight out of 10 were exactly that stupid. So, I looked up how to become a broker, took the class, passed the test, and that was that.
Q: Your agency focuses exclusively on rugby players. How did you get involved with such a unique niche?
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KS: I’ve been playing rugby since 1984. I watched Ireland lose to England on Super 8 film my Dad had sent over. He cried every time. It’s a natural community for me. When I first started the business, I thought I would have maybe 15 to 25 clients from my team and local clubs, just to help out and make some beer money. In 18 months, I had more than 500 clients in California. Rugby is an insular cult that shuns outsiders. I eat, drink, and breathe rugby. Ergo, I have an instant warm market.
ASJ: What considerations do rugby players have that differ from members of the general population?
KS: I see health insurance in three chunks: catastrophic, mid-level injuries, and odds and ends. Everybody should have some form of catastrophic coverage – however, rugby players only go to the ER, and usually stay away from doctors in general. So, my favorite way to tackle that is an HSA-qualified plan with an accident indemnity program underneath. Rugby players use chiropractors and massage, so the HSA plan is a natural fit.