I know some awesome people who run their own businesses here in San Diego and I want to shine a spotlight on them!
Every week or two I will interview and introduce a local entrepreneur who has gained my trust and respect, and might be able to help you!
For my sixth installment, I interviewed Lilienne Cullen, who has recently partnered her agency with another local agent to better serve their clients. Lilienne has a long history in the insurance business and knows how to make sure her clients are properly covered. She helped me discover that I was very under-insured in a couple areas and protected me by getting the proper amounts setup, and by combining multiple types of policies she was able to help save me a significant amount of money.
How to reach Lilienne:
Here is a transcript of our conversation:
Hey, this is Jon at PaintGreen. I’m here with Lilienne Cullen, who is a Farmers agent. She’s been our personal Farmers Insurance agent for our home, auto, and a couple of other things for a little while now. I’ve known Lili for over a year, and it’s great to have just like a personal friend, who is also look an out for your back. You know if anything were to happen to our house, all I know is I just have to call Lili and she’s there for us. So Lili, tell us a little bit about yourself. Like how long you’ve been in San Diego and how did you get into Farmers Insurance?
So I actually grew up in San Diego, grew up in Ramona, small town with horses and doing rodeo. So I’ve lived here my whole life, San Diego native. Got into insurance, kind of accidentally. I had been working at hotels around San Diego, I worked at Verizon, Nissan, places like that, and wanted to get out of sales and thought, “Hey, I’ll go try for an office job.” That turned into, “Nope, you can’t be the receptionist here. You’re going to get into the sales side.” Got licensed a little over five years ago now. Started with State Farm. I was there, ran an agency for a little over three years. And then moved over to the Farmers side, worked as what’s called a “protege,” So like a mentorship program under one of the top agents in San Diego. Then last year opened my agency, recently merged with another agent, so we partnered up together.
So you’re running your own whole agency now?
And just recently partnered?
So what’s that like?
It’s a really good dynamic. I think that we balance each other out really well. I love experience of having my agency, and kind of building that brand and reputation, but just realize that, you’re always better as a team, and my shortcomings is where he picks me up and I can always help him with some things as well. We have a really good staff, we have three people on our staff right now located in Chula Vista. So we have a really solid team.
Good. Sounds like a synergistic relationship there where you’re helping him, but he’s also helping you out.
Yeah, exactly. We work really well together. You know, I’m all about social media and technology and marketing and he’s a little more behind the scenes. His name is Lester. So it’s a good balance between the two of us, as far as that goes. And then our office staff is amazing, they’re always there picking up the calls, handling the service and the billing stuff. So it’s good to have a nice staff that you can rely on.
For sure. Yeah, that’s really important. What do you enjoy most about working in the insurance industry?
I like the flexibility. I can go out and I can meet people and do things like this, and build my brand, and then along in doing that, I get to learn about people and their needs and I really get to help them. Insurance, a lot of people look at it as something that you have to have, and it is. But from my side of it, I look at it, I always do my sales from an education standpoint. You know, why do we have to have this? And how can we use this to benefit you? So I think my favorite part is getting to know people, getting to know their family, getting invited to holidays and things like that, but really being intertwined in their life.
Yeah, right on. And that is a really important role you play in people’s lives and you get to see kind of like an intimate look into people’s lives and what they’re trying to protect.
Yeah, and you went through the process, it’s not like a call center where you just call them and 15 minutes later you get a quote, you get the numbers spit out and you really don’t even know what you’re buying. Anybody who goes process with me, they’re getting a full financial review, and we’re talking about things like their exposure and their liability, and their home, their auto. Do you need an umbrella policy? How does that work? Have you set up something for life insurance? How can we invest money into a policy like that, to look at your future and your family’s future? And those are really vulnerable conversations to have with people, but they’re important to have.
Yeah. So why Farmers, over say one of the other insurance companies that’s out there? Why Farmers?
So like I said, I started with State Farm and it was a really good experience to start out, from the agent standpoint. I think Farmers just is one of the best companies, personally, that take care of their agents, there’s so much support for us, especially at the district level. Our district office is continuously doing training meetings, they’re involved with us weekly. So for me it was the support, really, that they offer their agents because that allows us to service our clients better. And during the claims process, you want to know that you have a direct person to talk to, and that would be me, and then I have direct people to go to from there as well. So if I don’t have that support, then I can’t support my clients as well.
Yeah, it’s a winning formula. That’s part of what attracted us to working with you, is that there’s that personal one-to-one attention that we knew that we would be able to get. Okay, cool. Well, what’s something going on in your life that you’re really excited about right now?
Oh, that’s a good one. Something excited me. Well, other than the merge, because that was a really big step for me to take in my business life, I have a son, he’s eight years old, you know he’s really into baseball.
Ethan. Yes, exactly. So we do a lot of softball and baseball together. He actually wants to try out jujitsu, so I’m excited for that. You know, I haven’t done anything like that. So try out a new sport, new hobby out there.
Yeah, right on. So, living vicariously through your son?
Yeah. His godfather does fighting as well, he goes jujitsu and MMA, and so I don’t know anything about it, but at least we have family that could kind of help me along the way.
I hear that. Well, Lilienne Cullen, everybody, from Farmers Insurance. She’s a great insurance agent and you’d be well off working with her. So we’re going to put her contact information and everything in the comments below. And thank you Lilienne, thanks for coming up and doing this real quickly with me.
Yeah, thanks for having me. Thanks for trusting me with your policies and all of that in there as well.