We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Rafail and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I have been forced to change my balance due to my 2 lovely daughters & amazing wife Sylvia. Can’t miss dinner, have to be off on the weekends and need to spend more time with them without my phones distracting me (they notice). I believe in God first, Family second, Work third, Health fourth and whatever is left can be your personal time. Now does this order get jumbled more than I would like? Absolutely and that is what I am striving to get better at. Pre kids, 6 days a week & hungry not to fail for the first 5 years. 11 years in business – Still hungry but work a normal 40 hours a week 9-5 in the office generally (But randomly always thinking about to better the business).
What should our readers know about your business?
Laid off in 2009. Took a loan and had to hit the streets. Door to door, business to business and networking event after networking event. Built credibility the first few years in business by doing all the small insurance policies others may put their nose up to. We were awarded Farmers Insurance Rookie of the year and began sponsoring the Houston Association of Realtor’s and other organizations to build meaningful relationships. We have been ranked #1 out of 65 local Farmers Insurance Agencies for Business, Life, Flood & Umbrella Insurance in 2018-2019. Recently the Houston Chronicle voted us the “Best of The Best” Insurance Agency. We have also been recommended by Farmers Insurance Corporate representatives to purchase/service retiring agents books of business. We have purchased/acquired 3 agencies and now service over 4000 insurance policies from Small Business to Commercial Properties, Homeowners, Renters, Auto, Flood, Umbrella, Work Comp, E&O, D&O, Malpractice and Life Insurance for personal or business needs with Buy-Sell Agreement or Key-Employee Insurance. We treat our clients with respect and offer annual Zoom call reviews each year to ensure we update coverages as our clients needs change.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Would have to show them restaurants in the Heights area. Visit breweries like 8th Wonder, Karbach or St. Arnolds but we have to earn these calories by riding bikes on White Oak Bayou or playing basketball. If sports are going on I love Rockets basketball games at Toyota Center.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for our team. They are the best and truly care about doing the right thing for our clients & care about our reputation. Donna Landry, Megan Pence, Elaine Maher Nancy Flanary, my very first hire 10 years ago. Had to pay her by using my credit cards for cash advances but she trusted me and I trusted her. Felt good thanking her on her 10 yr anniversary to provide her the largest bonus received. Wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for the professionals we work with in Real Estate/HAR (www.har.com) that refer us. Organizations like Commercial Real Estate Network (CREN – www.crengulfcoast.com), Commercial Real Estate for Millennial Misses (CREMM – www.houstoncremm.com), Industry Masters Forum (www.industrymastersforum.com) & the Heights Chamber of Commerce. Last but not least my wife that rolled the dice dating a guy with nothing and volunteering to help me start the business and now is the full time office manager the rock. Farmers Insurance is a wonderful insurance company that we truly love representing. They are loyal and care to do the right thing. In turn I have met District Managers like Dennis McGough we recruited me as young man to sell me a dream of having control of your life, business and family by building a business taking care of clients with passion to protect them. If we don’t tell clients about the “big stuff” like God forbid, you cause a death due to an auto accident & get sued for millions or if you don’t make it home we need a million to take care of your family. Also you don’t “have to” get flood insurance when you have a lender but I believe it’s our biggest weather exposure that can ruin your life and it’s cheap! Rick Kellum – next District Manager that was an example of class. He started with Farmers and retired after 30 plus years. He seen the ups and downs but helped me realize we can only control what we can control.
Took the picture before answering Flood Insurance questions at Houston’s Channel 2 TV News Station.