Age 38 | president, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
When it comes right down to it, the insurance business is “awfully dull,” jokes Joey Hinke, who started his own insurance agency in 2009.
That’s why there are TVs on the wall throughout the office, available to watch if the workload is getting too stressful. And whenever the agency brings in a new client, everyone grabs a soft drink out of refrigerator and joins in the celebration.
“We try to perpetuate a happy work environment,” said Hinke, who now employs 15 people and hopes to double the agency’s size within the next five years. “I think we do a pretty good job of accomplishing it.”
Hinke cut his teeth in the insurance business as an agent with Holmes Murphy & Associates Inc. before founding J.A. Hinke & Co. Inc. four years ago.
As an agent, Hinke enjoyed calling on small and medium-sized business owners. “Talking to them about how they got started was always a lot of fun and I thought, this is something I would like to do,” he said.
In 2011, he acquired an existing agency whose owners were retiring, which enabled him to significantly expand the business.
Creating a successful new agency is challenging, to say the least. “We operate at an incredible disadvantage,” Hinke said. “You could name a million different reasons you should buy your insurance from someone else. So we need to be more educated, more accurate, more efficient and faster.” The more hands-off he is in his management style, the harder his people seem to work, he said.
A native of Bellevue, Hinke met his wife, Angie, at the University of Northern Iowa; they’ve been married for 12 years and have three children.
“We do a lot of stuff together as a family, which I think is very important because it would be very easy for me to work 100 hours a week,” he said.
Five reasons he’s a 40:
• Launched a startup company and expanded it through an acquisition.
• Has grown his insurance agency to $1 million in annual revenues.
• Provides 100 percent company-paid health insurance to his employees.
• Assisted in connecting seven entrepreneurs with resources to launch their businesses.
• Active in a number of professional and charitable organizations, including the Young Professionals Connection, Emerging Leaders Initiative and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa.
Mentor: Dean Brooks, longtime Iowa insurance industry leader and 2007 Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame inductee
Fun fact: He has always wanted to learn how to break dance.