‘Constantly chasing success’ – an award finalist’s story

‘Constantly chasing success’ – an award finalist’s story | Insurance Business America

‘Constantly chasing success’ – an award finalist’s story
by Chris Davies

The inaugural Insurance Business America Awards are fast approaching! We caught up with a selection of finalists and asked them to tell their stories.

This time it is Matt Banazsynski, CEO of Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (IIAW), who is a contender for Young Gun of the Year.

Insurance Business: Tell the world about yourself! What’s your ultra-quick biography?

Matt Banazsynski: During and after college, I worked in the United States Congress and Wisconsin State Legislature. I held a variety of positions during my tenure within both institutions, but primarily focused on insurance and healthcare public policy. I later joined the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin as vice president and at the age of 26 took over as CEO of the organization. I have been with the IIAW for past seven years where I have focused on creating products and services responsive to the needs of independent insurance agents while working intimately and strategically with our carrier partners to better the IA channel.

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I have also served in various capacities for many different organizations including InVEST, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Center for Risk Management, Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Strategic Planning Committee, and the State of Wisconsin’s Council on Financial Literacy. I am currently serving on the board of directors for the following organizations: Trusted Choice, University of Wisconsin- Madison Center for Professional and Executive Development, and Wisconsin’s Insurance Commissioner’s Property and Casualty Advisory Council. I also actively support Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, March for Babies and other local charities.

IB: What have been the highs and lows of your journey through the industry?

MB: I have had the opportunity to represent the insurance industry in Wisconsin and meet privately with the Vice President of the United States to discuss healthcare reform and ways to improve it, but I would say the highs and the lows of my journey have centred around the people I get to work and interact with.

The highs: all the incredible people I get to work with on daily basis. From CEOs to customer service representatives, I take pride in helping the industry succeed and joy in seeing employees and peers I have worked with go on to achieve great milestones in their life or career whether its within or outside of our organization.

The lows: some of the challenges that come with running a business. Any time you lead an organization or a group of people, you have the unique opportunity to play a supporting role in their personal and professional development and journey. With it comes many highs and lows.

IB: What do you define as success – and how did you get it?

For me, I am constantly chasing success, it’s meaning is always evolving. I am reminded of a quote, “success is a journey, not a destination”.

IB: What does your IBA finalist status mean to you?

MB: It means a lot to be selected as a finalist by our industry’s leading publication for such a prestigious award. It will mean everything to actually receive the award. This recognition not only validates my hard work, but that of my team and the people who helped me get to where I am and where I am going. There are many people in my life that have played a supporting part in my success. Being recognized as a finalist is also fuel. Fuel to keep working and driving harder to achieve the Young Gun award or my next goal in life!

IB: How great does it feel to be part of the insurance community?

MB: In my opinion it is the best industry there is. It’s also the most misconstrued industry. There is truly a place for everyone in the insurance industry/community. I’m lucky, I get up every day and love what I do and the people I work with. It’s a tight community and I am fortunate to be a part of it.

IB: What are your celebration plans if you win big on the night?

MB: My wife and I are looking forward to attending the event. Regardless of if I win, I look forward to celebrating with her, the rest of the finalists and my peers from the industry. There is plenty to celebrate! In the words of John C. Reilly in the (insurance) movie Cedar Rapids, “Who wants to get wasted? Choo Choo!”

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