00:09 I educate people and I love what I do because I teach them. It's not just insurance it's protection for your family, it's what protects your overall.
00:47 Hello, everyone, I'm Kim Harding, retail marketing executive for Truist, and I'm very excited and honored to be with you today. Today, I have with me Maria Rosario from Maria Rosario Agency, and we're really honored to be able to get a chance to talk to you and learn more about your organization and the major impact that you're making on the Hazelton community. So, Maria can you share a little bit about your organization and what you do and the impact that you make.
01:12 Pleasure to meet you. We officially opened in March of 19 a year prior to the pandemic. We were very successful. The first year was, it's an insurance agency. We do a lot of commercial insurance, life, and personal auto. Hazelton is It's a city that's growing, the Spanish population is growing and having an agent that spoke their native language and to understand, you know what you're selling to them and able to understand the product made a difference and what we do.
01:46 Just when we hit a year because we opened March 2019. March 2020, we had to close our door and, you know, Hazelton was hit really hard with COVID and we're brand new, so we had to figure out a way to help and give back to the community because when we open our doors, we were so you know, we were welcomed we were so successful that first year I felt like in debt to the community where I had to, you know, get involved and do other stuff.
02:17 So my mom started making face covering fabric I purchased the material for her. She started making it. It was a way to keep her busy in New York she was in New York, locked in an apartment. We also did a food drive for, you know, for the people, a lot of people out of work. Things just went crazy in town.
02:38 Well, that's certainly above and beyond, even just running a business or service that's so important for so many. What made you really see your role as a business owner as something larger than just the insurance agency, but all of this incredible social impact?
02:53 Yes, I mean, I do. I don't see myself just as a business owner. I see myself as a part of the community. I can not just take and not give back, and they have given me so much support that it's hard for me not to. If I see the community need, I have to do something to help.
03:14 Well, insurance is such an important layer of protection for something, for business, for your home, for your family.
03:21 Before I got into this business, I had no idea what insurance meant. What was it for? I just had insurance because it was required by law. I didn't realize that I was protecting my family, my, you know, my assets, everything, basically everything I worked for.
03:40 You know, some of the values that we have at Truist are caring and being trustworthy and success. Is there a value or word that just really resonates to you personally about your journey and the things that you look forward to doing?
03:53 That trust that sense of security that you give them, that you're will protect them, that you will respect their privacy and you know. People just come to me to talk to about anything, and they know it's not going to go beyond the store, I'm like, I don't know because I come from a social services background, but I have that personality. You know, they just feel like, Hey. Talk about anything. So, you know, I need people to trust what I'm telling them to believe in me and believe that, you know, it comes from a good place from the heart, and I'm not going to recommend something that's not it's not what you need.
04:38 So you mentioned at the top of our time together that, you know, being fluent in Spanish in your current client base is really important. Can you just talk a little bit more about that? I mean, is that common in Hazelton? Is that rare? What does that mean to your client base to be able to speak with someone in their native language about something as complicated as insurance?
05:02 Well it made a difference for them to understand what they're getting and what they're what they're paying for. There was nobody, you know, until I came into town.
05:15 I really commend you on recognizing the the gap in the community and really creating a service to help support.
05:23 There is a gap in the language. A lot of them don't they come directly from their native country to Hazelton and with COVID we also had an influx of people from New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico that moved into town, that they don't speak the language either. Even if it's just a little thing. I mean, I have people come in here to my business to ask me to translate something that has nothing to do with me or my business or what I do and we just do it.
05:53 Well, that's how you're building the trust, back to our earlier question. I mean, the fact that people think to call you about some of these unrelated right, when they need your help. You know, there is something intrinsically linked to seeing their role as greater than just running a business to make money for their family, but to play a role within the community and to positively affect the lives of those around them.
06:16 A lot of people think about, “Here comes the insurance man”. Or you call somebody here she comes trying to sell me insurance. Oh, but. That's why I don't sell, I educate people, and I love what I do because I teach them. It's not just insurance is protection for your family, it's what protects your overall. It's not you. I mean, it sounds like a boring conversation until you have an accident or something major happens and you're getting sued.
06:49 I think that's such a great point is, you know, you have the opportunity to be the protector. And I can't think about how many situations unfortunately we hear about, especially since COVID has started in this pandemic. You know about loss of life, and that's a subject that we don't want to talk about, but that is something that is very real and very important. And so having the courage to be able to share with people why and how that really can change the trajectory of a family.
07:14 It's one that's necessary because in the end, especially my community in the Latino community do not like life insurance. That's that makes the difference between being able to afford a college education if one of the parents is gone or not being able to afford it, and it happens every single day.
07:34 I mean, I don't know how many clients we lost to the COVID in the past year. I mean. And it's sad. It's sad.
07:48 Maria, why is that a cultural barrier?
07:52 I don't think we're educated enough on life insurance or, you know, all the other kinds of insurance. A lot of times you think it's just a waste of money or not necessary.
08:13 I think that's a great point, I know I have seen that, you know, that aversion in communities of color as well. And it is a really important part that, you know, educating people about how affordable it is. But you know, that was this like you want to change the title from life insurance because to your point, you think about it, it's on me. But it's not really for the person that's passed. it’s for the people that are surviving.
08:30 And I think that that's probably a different way. We need to think about how to educate people about the importance. And so one question I have is, you know, what advice could I provide to someone that says I can't afford life insurance? I don't need it.
08:43 You usually tell them, let's try to do something basic. Basic and even if you change it down the road because you're at your best today, I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. And sometimes I use myself as an example to tell them I look healthy, I was perfectly healthy till last January 2021, my heart was collapsing. I had Heart failure, congestive heart failure.
09:13 I'm no longer insurable. Thank God I got my policy three years ago, because if I go try to get life insurance right now, I could definitely not afford it. Get a basic policy. Get rated now. Because today, It's your best. You wait till tomorrow, you don't know. And if you care about your family, maybe you should do it today. Let's do it. It's an uncomfortable conversation to have, but you have to have it.