Meet Updater: Chris Burke, EVP of Updater’s Insurance Division
We’re pleased to introduce the EVP of Updater’s Insurance Division, Chris Burke. Chris is a leading expert in the insurance industry with extensive experience with agency formation, management, and evaluation. As the leader of the Updater Insurance Division, Chris and his team oversee Updater’s strategic business development, sales, and operational initiatives within the insurance industry and make purchasing insurance a seamless process for the millions of American who move each year.
On one of his many trips to NYC, we sat down with Chris to speak about the mission of Updater's Insurance Division, as well as his extensive experience in the industry.
With over 25 years in the insurance industry as an agency owner, Chris founded Charlottesville Insurance Agency Inc. (CIA), one of the largest Allstate insurance agencies in the country. During his time leading CIA, he aided in the acquisition of more than 100 insurance agencies as either a consultant, valuation specialist, or principal.
Chris went on to become a principal and owner of Community Association Insurance Solutions (CAIS) in 2012, working with Dean Shibler, now VP of Operations of Updater’s Insurance Division. CAIS coordinates with several hundred brokers in all 50 states and is nationally recognized for its HOA workers compensation program.
We asked Chris a few questions to learn more about his journey through the insurance world and his thoughts on Updater’s place in the insurance industry.
How did you start your career in the insurance industry?
After serving in the U.S. Navy for almost six years, I was convinced by John Bowden (now also a member of Updater’s Insurance Division) that the insurance industry was a great field. In 1997, I graduated from Allstate’s Rotational Development Program and worked in claims, underwriting, sales, and marketing. It was a great place to begin my career!
From there, I knew I wanted to join the agency side of the business. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to acquire and rollup existing agencies in Virginia, Georgia, and Florida, I bought 45 agencies and consolidated them into six locations — hiring both managers and staff. It went on to become one of the top 10 Allstate distribution companies.
What accomplishments in the insurance industry are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the Mega Agency Conference which celebrated its 15th year in Orlando, FL in 2017. The conference was my brainchild and teaches best practices for field sale agents around the country. When we started the conference in 2002, ten agents attended with a combined $100 million in premium. Now, we have over 120 agents with $104 billion in combined premium. We also have over 40 vendors and have even hosted the CEO of Allstate.
What do you see as the biggest problem facing the insurance industry?
One of the biggest problems in the industry today is losing business when a customer moves from one state to another. In the industry, we call this retention deficit, and it’s a common problem that nearly every company faces year after year.
What is a common misconception about the insurance industry?
I think a common misconception is that insurance companies make money by denying claims. However, the truth is that insurance companies are best off when they have long-term, satisfied customers.
How has insurance changed in the past five years?
Distribution has been going remote lately. Consumers are more comfortable working and managing their personal insurance online these days. Face-to-face interaction isn’t totally necessary, but many consumers still appreciate their individual agent and the personalized service level that a local agent can provide.
How did you come to work at Updater?
I met Updater’s Founder and CEO, David Greenberg, through a mutual friend. After meeting with David, I became fascinated by the opportunity to help millions of Americans move their insurance with their home and saw the massive value of such an asset to both the average consumer and the insurance industry.
What is your favorite thing about working with Updater?
The people here are energized and smart. Everyone’s answer to an idea is “yes” no matter how difficult the challenge.
How many times have you moved?
I honestly had to look this up, but approximately 25 times before I was even 40!
Do you have a moving horror story?
Yes, it involves trying to move a two bedroom apartment in a 1970 VW Beetle. That’s all I’m going to say.
What motivates you to come to work every day?
Updater represents a country-wide change in the way people move not only their belongings but also their insurance. I want to be a part of that change.
What hopes do you have for the future of insurance for people that are moving?
Long term, I want to see consumers have a seamless and enjoyable experience for getting insurance from all of the major carriers in the industry.