By Kelly Pollock, feature writer for the Buzz Cafe
Early in his career, Rene Medina worked as an internal auditor at the headquarters of Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook. He became familiar with their agencies, and his interest in the insurance industry was piqued. More than twenty years have passed, but Rene has now realized his longtime dream of being self-employed as the owner of Renmar Insurance Agency at 235 Harrison Street in the Oak Park Arts District.
Rene is a CPA with a Masters in Taxation from DePaul University but after almost 30 years working in accounting and finance, he was ready to own his own business and wanted to change careers. When a former co-worker posted on social media that she had recently opened an Allstate agency, Rene’s interest in insurance resurfaced. He asked his friend to “tell me more” and she connected him with an Allstate recruiter. After clearing the initial hurdles of interviews and assessments, Rene passed his insurance licensing exams in Property & Casualty and Life & Health.
Working in insurance offers Rene “good income potential and the opportunity to help a broad spectrum of people.” As he stated, “Customer service is my strength, and insurance is all about helping families to protect their walls, wheels, and wealth.” As an exclusive agent for Allstate, Rene has the full backing of a recognizable brand that is one of the largest insurance providers in the United States. Like all independent contractor agency owners, Rene is provided with marketing and training along with commissions and bonuses for the policies he sells.
Born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, Rene moved to Oak Park seventeen years ago. He and his wife Maria live on the northwest side of town with their young daughters, Ana and Emily. “I wanted to live in a central location with easy access to my family in the city. And Oak Park’s diversity was a huge selling point.” So when Rene needed to find office space for his new business, choosing to open in the Arts District was an easy decision. “People tend to think of Lake Street as Oak Park’s commercial district, but I like the vibrancy of Harrison Street.” Luckily, the space was already built out as an office and only needed “a coat of paint and a sign.”
Since leaving his full-time job at the end of March, it’s been a whirlwind. In addition to getting the office into shape, Rene completed several weeks of Allstate training and hired a staff of licensed sales producers – Dennis Zims, John Cantero, and Lisa Pompa Adams – who all came on board in mid-May. The agency started binding coverage on June 1 and can write policies anywhere within Illinois. They are a bilingual office in English and Spanish.
“We might not be the cheapest insurance,” Rene acknowledged, “But we’re not the most expensive either. We stand behind our product. It’s all about customer service.”
Renmar Insurance Agency is open Monday through Friday from 9-5. The office phone number is 708-622-0800. Rene Medina’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.