PENDLETON – Last September, while Sean Kirby and his wife were planning a getaway before the birth of their first child, he received an invitation to a small conference for insurance professionals in San Antonio.
“My wife was pregnant and our anniversary is in September, so I said, ‘Why don’t we do three things at once?’ ‘ Kirby recalled.
The conference ended with the announcement of a live vote to choose a winner for an “apprentice”-style competition called “The Protégé”. The show, hosted on YouTube, features 15 insurance agents from across the country taking part in challenges designed to help them grow their business.
After the vote, representatives from Killing Commercial Insurance, a sales training program tailored for independent insurance agents, issued a casting call inviting entries for the show’s second season. On a whim, Kirby decided to submit a video audition.
“The entire program is about how to build a commercial business, work with business owners, and solve business owners’ problems,” Kirby said. “I was excited because I had found what makes me happy.”
Kirby’s audition video, one of hundreds of submissions, was chosen for him as one of the season two contestants. After 10 weeks of challenges and fan voting, he has made it into the final trio, from which a winner will be chosen after the online voting is completed next week. The winner will receive a full membership in the Killing Commercial program worth nearly $17,000.
Kirby, who graduated from Pendleton Heights High School in 2014 and attended the University of Iowa, has led the Performance Insurance Group, owned by his father, Mike, since 2017.
“Insurance is just a boring thing, isn’t it?” he said. “If you look at it from the outside and look inside, it seems very boring to watch us go through the challenges of creating a business plan. But (the show) has allowed me to show personality and remain compelling in my own aspect and contribute as much as possible to the show.
He added that whatever the outcome, he hopes his appearances on the show will bring welcome exposure to local businesses and their efforts to revitalize the area.
“Eyeballs are everything,” he said. “If you look at what Madison County is and always has been, it’s blue collar workers, hard working people. If someone can still be successful in a national competition in Madison County and work with big companies, that’s the idea.”
consequences Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight or call 765-640-4809.