Hosted by Shae Trombatore, TAIA Marketing Strategist
I sat down with Julie Ward-Abdo, one of TAIA’s top producers, and really enjoyed learning about her New York journey from the pup couture industry to venturing into the world of Medicare. Julie shares her insights into the keys to success, the power of networking, and the transformative benefits of working with TAIA. Join us as we explore her vibrant path in the healthcare industry.
So Julie, tell us about how you got started in the insurance business?
“I transitioned to the insurance industry from owning a luxury dog apparel business. In 2008, due to the economic downturn, the industry of course took a hit, pushing me to explore new opportunities. I began my journey in searching for something new and different and received offers from multiple insurance firms. I ended up joining a firm that seemed like a welcoming work environment. Despite initially disliking certain aspects of the insurance industry, I noticed colleagues enjoying their work in Medicare sales and I was very intrigued. In 2010, my curiosity led me to embark on a new phase of my business journey by collaborating with Rosamaria Marrujo to delve into the realm of Medicare sales. When Rosamaria eventually started her own venture, she invited me to join the TAIA team, an opportunity I embraced wholeheartedly and was excited to see where this decision would take me.
Julie, tell us about what you specialize in?
“I am the Medicare Guru, I jokingly call myself and obviously, we can’t use that term here in New York but it’s strictly what I do now. I’ve branched out into many other states, and I’m licensed in probably about 12 States right now. I truly enjoy speaking to people and find great satisfaction in helping them. The insurance industry appeals to me, and I don’t mind dealing with the occasional frustrations; they simply challenge me more, and I thrive on challenges. Every challenge has helped me become a top producer, along with the mentorship Rosa has provide along the way.”
What marketing have you found to be successful for your business?
“My business has transformed from lead solicitation to referral-based marketing. Networking plays a pivotal role – I’m part of multiple groups, and over time, I’m building trust with members from various industries which has provided a solid stream of referrals. Networking might be daunting to some, but taking the plunge is crucial. It’s how I ended up on TV after a chance encounter led to an interview opportunity. Similarly, radio speaking engagements arose from networking connections.
One of my favorite things I do, is host adult educational classes in the spring and fall. “I run ongoing programs on Long Island that bring in steady business. During the AEP season, I team up with specific pharmacies, getting my name on prescription bags. I’m closely connected with around 4 pharmacies where I collaborate with pharmacists. If someone voices a complaint about their prescription plan, the pharmacists direct them to me.
I also maintain regular contact with a couple of senior centers. When September rolls around, I pay them a visit and conduct educational seminars about upcoming Medicare changes. If seniors express interest in a follow-up appointment after the seminar, they coordinate with the social worker. This means spending three full days at the senior centers, engaging in thorough discussions about their current coverage and exploring better options. This practice not only generates referrals from within the centers but also cultivates effective word-of-mouth marketing.”
What are the top 3 benefits of working with TAIA as your FMO?
“Oh, without any hesitation the number one benefit is Rosamaria. When I’m in the most difficult situation, where I need somebody to brainstorm with, I call her and I’m like, “Rosa we have to figure this one out.” She knows it’s something out of ordinary but how can we help this person. It’s all about helping people, and that’s why I love being here with TAIA, Rosa is all about the client first. The support from Rosamaria has been incremental in my growth and success.
Another benefit of being apart of TAIA, is the agent support team. “I have worked with Lindsey on several occasions. She and her team have worked with me when I’ve needed support and they’ve always helped me figure it out. They are fabulous!
The third benefit would be the marketing support I have managing my social media accounts. I don’t have time to manage the platforms, so having a team doing weekly posts, educating my followers on Medicare, has been a service that’s helping me stay consistent in the digital space.”
Julie, share with us how you stay ahead in this dynamic ever-changing industry.
“The TAIA team is very good about sending updates. I get so many emails from different industry networks with updates, but I always make sure to open the TAIA emails because the team is so good on keeping us updated on any compliance updates or industry changes.”
Now for the most fun part, tell us a little bit about you, and what do you love to do beyond the world of insurance?
“One of my favorite things to do is golf, I love it! I enjoy being outside and keeping myself moving. I’m a huge fan of the beach, it’s one of the only places that I can go and totally relax. I love to just sit and read a good book and let my mind go. My daughter and I are also involved in the dog show circuit, I like to try and visit the shows as often as I can. We are dog lovers. At one point I did own about 7 dogs, everything from a Yorkie to a Terrier to an Afghan, to everything in between.”
In wrapping up this captivating conversation, Julie Ward-Abdo’s journey from the world of pup fashion to the heights of Medicare stands as a testament to the power of adaptability, networking, and a passion for helping others. Through her partnership with TAIA and her indomitable spirit, Julie continues to shine brightly in the complex and ever-changing landscape of healthcare insurance.
If you would like support in your marketing efforts, please reach out to our TAIA Marketing support team at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a marketing strategy meeting.