Jackson — It is a proven fact that most businesses that fail do so quickly. Make it past those formative days, and the odds turn much more in new businesses’ favor.
So, if the insurer training company RBS Solutions, LLC’s initial months in operation are indicative of the future, it should be a run away success. And while founder/owner Robert Scott is thrilled with his company’s early growth, he is not surprised, nor content.
“I would say that my expectations have not been exceeded, but they have been met,” he said. “I did a lot of research before I formed RBS Solutions, and I was confident that there was a need for the service. I have a lot of goals still to attain. But I’m pleased.”
RBS Solutions is certified by both the Mississippi Department of Insurance and the Alabama Department of Insurance to offer training to those seeking an insurance license for the first time as well as licensed agents who are looking to meet their continuing education requirements. While the company is a new player in the industry, Scott literally grew up in insurance.
A native of Fayette, Scott became an insurance agent straight out of high school. Still, he earned an associate’s degree in sales and marketing from Copiah-Lincoln Community College before relocating to Georgia. There, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Breneau University in Gainsville, Ga. He also logged 12 years in the insurance industry in auto and life/health before returning home to Mississippi in 2004 to be nearer family.
Scott continued to sell insurance products when he returned (he is licensed to sell insurance in four states), but had already become interested and had researched the insurance industry’s need for exam trainers while still in Georgia. He found only one other major state-certified insurance training company operating in Mississippi. Seeing an opportunity, he opened RBS Solutions in June 2004.
In its first months of operations, RBS Solutions landed training jobs with such insurers as State Farm, Allstate and AFLAC. “I’ve worked for just about every insurance company you can think of,” Scott said.
Scott said 65 individuals have received instruction from RBS Solutions, which offers training in the areas of adjuster, property and casualty and life/health. Trainees have an 88%-plus first time passing rate, and RBS Solutions offers free class re-takes to any attendee who does not pass the exam on the first try.
“Having worked in the field, and being familiar with the exam, I feel gives me an advantage. I know what they’re going through,” Scott said. “If they show up for all the classes, they will pass.”
Perhaps the most significant happening for the company was a move last December into the Jackson Enterprise Center (JEC), a business incubator located on U.S. 80. (Scott had set a goal of moving to a permanent location by mid-2005, so the move to JEC was months ahead of expectations.) Before, Scott found renting hotel conference rooms cost prohibitive, forcing him to use a number of public libraries. While this was a cut in overhead, it was inconvenient, and the libraries’ meeting facilities could only handle a limited number of trainees.
Not only does the JEC offer low rent and shared office services, it also has conference rooms that can accommodate more trainees and is free with advance reservations. This will allow RBS Solutions to bring many more trainees into its classroom.
And Scott is expecting more trainees. While RBS Solutions is certified to train in the State of Alabama, all of the company’s work has been in Mississippi. Scott said one of his goals for 2005 is to go to Alabama and market RBS Solutions to insurers.
Another change that Scott believes will bring in more trainees is a recent schedule addition of weekend classes. Initially, the company offered its classes only on weekdays, which too often conflicted with the trainees’ hours of work. RBS Solutions’ weekend schedule, which was launched in February, will help meet that challenge.
Finally, Scott is excited about a new line of training for those in mutual funds. RBS Solutions is preparing to offer training for Series 6 and Series 63 licensing, required of dealing in mutual funds. Scott says he sees Series 6 and Series 63 as an untapped market with attractive potential.
“My goal is for RBS to become a small insurance university, a one-stop shop for insurance training,” Scott said. “Offering Series 6 and Series 63 classes is a move toward that goal.”
Scott said he also has the goal of being “all over the Southeast.” In five years, he plans to have RBS Solutions working in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and perhaps North Carolina.
In the mean time, Scott said he was planning to work hard on getting RBS Solutions’ name in front of more Mississippi and Alabama insurance agencies. To this end, Scott is using newspapers as a vehicle. He currently writes a weekly auto insurance-focused column for his hometown newspaper, the Fayette Chronicle, and beginning in February will have a monthly column in The Natchez Democrat.
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at firstname.lastname@example.org.