Faces in the Crowd: Maury Irwin

October 21, 2019

I live within walking distance of the State Farm Insurance Agency located at 1011 N. McEwan in Clare, and I have driven past the place literally hundreds of times. As yet, I have never interviewed an insurance agent, and I knew such a person would be very interesting, so I decided to drop in to ask for an interview. Maury Irwin, who runs the agency with 4 other employees, was not present that day, but one of the other agents scheduled an appointment for me to see him a few days later. Arriving at the appointed time, I was greeted by Maury with a firm handshake and a great welcome into his office.

Maury was born in 1965 in the township of Rudyard, Michigan, which is not far past the bridge to the Upper Peninsula. He attended school in that town, graduating from Rudyard High School in 1983. During his high school years, he excelled in track, baseball, football, and basketball, gleaning a total of 14 varsity letters. He was named All-State in football in 1981 and 1982.

After graduation, he attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where he majored in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems and graduated in 1988.

In that same year, Maury married Angela, who works in Beaverton with a highly successful consulting firm that provides educational services to school boards around the state.

Also in 1988, Maury began working for the State House of Representatives on especially assigned projects involving computer programming.

Three years later, he became a State Farm employee. State Farm is the largest insurance and financial services company in the United States, and has been operating for nearly 100 years. It is a mutual company owned by its policy holders; the company employees 65,000 people with more than 18,000 agents who service 83 million policies and accounts across the United States. It is also the second largest provider of life insurance in the country.

At this time, Maury’s primary objective was to provide training for State Farm employees in the use and installation of computer software and hardware. It was a time was every agent would eventually have a computer monitor on his/her desk and would be trained in its capabilities and usage. Maury says that he was frequently required to perform these tasks, traveling to many different agencies. He spent about 6 years at this job.

In 1996, he moved to Grand Rapids, still working for State Farm. He continued training employees, introducing them to the modern computer age. During this time, he was also part of the National Catastrophe Team, where he established a Tornado System in Illinois and a Hurricane Recovery System in New Orleans.

In 2000, he moved to Farwell, became a State Farm Agent, and opened his office on the south side of Clare, near the freeway. In 2015, the business moved to its current location on N. McEwan, which required renovations to suit Maury’s needs. Formerly, it was occupied by long-time insurance agent Mark Goulder, who passed away.

Maury credits much of the success of the agency to his knowledgeable and always friendly office staff, which includes four licensed insurance specialists: Amanda Pfruender of Farwell, Erica Bohy, Casey McCann of Gladwin, and Robin Kilbourne of Harrison.

State Farm offers a wide range of insurance plans to fit the needs of any individual, including auto, life, home, and health insurance. I asked him what was the most unusual item that he was asked to insure. He replied that it was not necessarily unusual, but the most difficult items to insure are assembled homes, kit cars, or buses that are converted to homes by individuals, because they are constructed by individuals that may not have the requisites to do so.

If you’re looking for a financial advisor, Maury can review plans and will advise you on investment options. Maury also offers services for first-time home buyers. He is also a mortgage originator through State Farm Bank. VA mortgages are available, too. He can also offer Rocket Mortgages, which is a new approach to securing a mortgage loan provided by Quicken Loans, which allow people to completely secure a mortgage entirely online including through the use of a mobile application.

Maury’s concept of his purpose and function is one to be admired. He takes a pro-active approach in dealing with each client. He educates you on every term used in an insurance policy, promising that you understand what it means and what you’re paying for. In effect, he helps people spend their money more wisely. Essentially, you are “buying peace of mind.”

As an example, Maury explained that many insurance agents frequently use two terms: PL/PD (Public Liability/Property Damage) and Full Coverage. He says if you “ever get a call from an agent who uses those two terms, HANGE UP on him.” Both terms are so ambiguous as to make them meaningless. The term “Property Damage” does identify whose property, yours or the other guy’s. “Full Coverage” never means “full’; there are always exclusions.

Maury is a big supporter or community events and charities, including the Paula Pirnstill Health Fair, the Clare Equestrian Club, the Boy Scouts, many Rotary events, and 4-H. He’s sponsored the Teddy Bear Races at Summer Fest for more than two decades. He also sponsors the football field and track complexes in both Clare and Harrison. In addition, he sponsors the car seat safety check and the soft ball teams.

He has been a member of the Rotarians for 19 years and is one of its past presidents. Finally, he is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, which is an annual renewable membership offered to the top 3% of financial agents in the world.

I asked Maury if he had any skills or talents that more people don’t know about. He replied that he is a champion in fantasy football and fantasy baseball.

If Maury could be anywhere else but here, right this minute, it would be with his wife at a little café in Portofino, Italy.

I asked him how he would like to be remembered. “Caring and helping people make good decisions.”

I asked him to name 3 phrases he would use to describe himself. “Subtly competitive; Over-explainer (he wants people to know and understand); and Generous (he has “shallow pockets and long arms”).”

His long-range goal in life is to establish financial security for his family. When he’s not working, he is happiest going out to dinner with his wife or friends, playing golf, playing fantasy sports with his friends, or hanging out on his boat.

I asked Maury to give me his personal motto. Without hesitation, he responded, “There is no try; there is only do or don’t do.”

If you need insurance or if you need help with your financial planning, it is obvious you would want the best expertise in the field. Maury Irwin’s State Farm Agency is the place to go. It has been featured in the Clare County Review’s “Best of the Best” choices and in the Buyer’s Guide’s top business selections.

The Agency is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Their phone number is (989) 386-4141. Maury’s e-mail address: maury@one2retire.com

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