I was in the Shrimping business with my father my entire childhood until 1983 when I graduated college. My wife, Gina Ware Schirmer, had a grandfather that had been a Nationwide agent since 1955….he threw me a carrot and asked if I would like to be in the insurance business in Greenville, SC. I said sure and started interviewing. I was supposed to be a CPA…but insurance sounded more fun.
At the time, my father was in the hospital with triple by-pass surgery when I went to him to ask if he needed me to handle the 4 shrimp boats or if I should I move on. He said that the shrimping industry was a dying business and that I should go do something else with my life, so I did.
After I interviewed with Nationwide, they wanted me to move to Greenville SC and work in a bank for 2 years first, because I don’t know anyone and that then maybe they might hire me.
I said well…”I don’t want to be a banker and I am from Charleston SC and know a lot of people from there, can I talk to the Nationwide man in Charleston?” Well, being in the right spot at right time,the man spun around in his chair, called the manager in Charleston and said he was sending a boy to see him. I called, set up an appointment and met two weeks later. July 11th of 1983 I was hired and went for 3 weeks to a Nationwide training center for new agents.
I graduated from training and August 1st 1983 was my first day as an insurance man. My office was located at 5861 Rivers Ave N Charleston, SC in the bottom floor of the Joye Law Firm Building. I became a Career Agent in October 1986. I opened a second office in Mt. Pleasant in the SEA Island Shopping Center . Then on September 22, 1989 Hurricane Hugo Hit. Business was brisk and rapid. The agency grew rapidly in Mt. Pleasant as clients quickly realized the value in having an agent in town as well as a carrier that paid claims quickly and fairly. Nationwides ability to pay claims quickly and fairly put me on the map in Mt. Pleasant. I closed the N Charleston office in 1992 and purchased a small house at 1312 Bowman Road where I am located at this time. We have been providing Consultative Insurance to neighbors, friends and new clients ever since.