clipboard checklist search envelope-o upgrade-account check bars close search-plus search-minus cog trash-o home file-o clock-o list-alt flag chevron-left chevron-right plus-circle minus-circle times-circle check-circle question-circle info-circle print times-circle-o check-circle-o ban arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down plus minus asterisk exclamation-circle exclamation-triangle calendar twitter-square facebook-square cogs comments thumbs-o-up thumbs-o-down twitter facebook certificate arrow-circle-left arrow-circle-right arrow-circle-up arrow-circle-down wrench caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right angle-double-left angle-double-right angle-double-up angle-double-down angle-left angle-right angle-up angle-down location-arrow chevron-circle-left chevron-circle-right chevron-circle-up chevron-circle-down minus-square minus-square-o level-up level-down check-square thumbs-up thumbs-down folder-open-o file-pdf-o file-text-o edit history leave-a-review bullhorn book man-woman dollar fitness-events holiday-events entertainment-events ticket group group lock

Focus Stories

Florida Insurance Planners

by Kevin Fritz

Featured Photo from Florida Insurance Planners

Celebrating 25 years in business is a true milestone, one that is worthy of taking a step back and recognizing how it all came to pass. For Ken Szczepanek (pronounced seh-PAN-eck), he knows that Florida Insurance Planners in Longwood stuck to the fundamentals of hard work, perseverance, and treating customers with the respect they deserve as building blocks over the past quarter-century. Creating a down-to-earth, dog-friendly office atmosphere didn’t hurt, either.

Founded November 1, 1991, Florida Insurance Planners is an independent insurance agency that helps clients minimize the risks that are part of everyday life. The company’s motto is “stop chasing insurance… we do the work, you sit back.”

“Our focus is on customer service,” says Ken, founder and patriarch of the company. “Take care of the client, and the client will take care of you.”

Ken’s simple formula has proven to be a success for this family-owned and operated business. The employees understand that buying insurance can be overwhelming for most people, so they are devoted to a personal, homey way of doing business to put a client or prospective client at ease.

Ken, who has been in the insurance business for 45 years, prefers insurance to be explained in the simplest of terms, a skill he still hones every other month by teaching homeowner’s insurance classes at the Golden Rule in Sanford, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income families become first-time homeowners.

“First, I tell them that insurance is a risk-transfer mechanism, and I see their eyes glaze over,” Ken smiles. “Then, I explain that insurance simply transfers the risks to someone else for a premium.”

Over the years, Florida Insurance Planners has amassed a dedicated following of clients who enjoy the family-friendly business that includes Charity, Ken’s wife of 46 years; their daughter Colleen Pacheco; Colleen’s two brothers-in-law, Eduardo Pacheco and Hector Pacheco; Andrea Eshack; and, at present, three furry greeters: Lily (a yellow Lab), Lexie (a black Lab), and the show-stealer of the group, Max (a Yorkshire-Shih Tzu mix).

Since cost is usually top-of-mind for most clients, Ken says his team works hard to offer competitive pricing, but more than that, adequate coverage for what the client truly needs. No more, no less.

“Cost is a major factor, but tantamount to the same thing is that the coverage is what they need,” Ken explains. “It’s a constant balance of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.”

One perk of a long-standing, local business whose growth was based on trust and quality service is that most of the firm’s business today is referral and repeat in nature. But while Florida Insurance Planners may have found a path to success, the company is not resting on its laurels.

Florida Insurance Planners is now offering insurance plans to the sports and fitness industry. The firm accesses specialty insurance carriers to protect large and small gyms, team sports, personal trainers, and dance and cheerleading organizations.
“This is new for us, but these fitness centers really need liability coverage against falls, for the nutrition they offer, to protect personal trainers, and for the equipment being used,” says Ken.

Also new at Florida Insurance Planners is an Artisan contractor package for skilled craftsmen such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and masons. There are also new insurance packages for restaurants offering greatly discounted workers-compensation insurance.

After 25 years, Ken credits family, friends, and loyal clients for the company’s endurance. And at age 70, he personally has no plans to retire.

“What am I going to do?” Ken asks aloud with a laugh. His longevity does give Ken the opportunity to pass on bits of wisdom when asked about the magic formula for success in business. Ken’s favorite quote rolls right off his tongue.

“There is no elevator to success,” he says. “You have to take the stairs. You can rest, but you can’t stop.”

Back Print This Article