Meet IIANC’s New Chairman: Mark Rice

The following interview was published in Issue IV 2018 of the Carolina Agents Journal magazine.

Mark Rice, CIC, LUTCF, CBIA, CAWC of Callahan & Rice Insurance Group in Fayetteville, NC, takes over as IIANC Chairman for 2018-2019. In addition to his long-standing relationship with the insurance industry, Mark has a strong love for his family and community.

Carolina Agents Journal: Thanks for sitting down with us, Mark! Start off by telling us about yourself and your family.
Mark Rice: I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and came to North Carolina to go to college. In 1981 I graduated from Atlantic Christian College with a degree in Music Education. My wife, Mary, and I have been married for 37 years. Our daughter, Emma, is married to Landon Bentham (another IIANC member agent) and has one son, named Sawyer.

CAJ: What are your hobbies and interests? What do you like to do in your free time?
MR: I enjoy golf, running and working outside in our yard. We also enjoy spending time at our house at Holden Beach.

CAJ: How are you involved with your community?
MR: I’ve always been a big believer in giving back to the community. My community involvement has included: chairing the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Alliance, NC Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Fayetteville Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Moderator for the Leadership in Life Institute, Fayetteville Police Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Cumberland County. I’m also heavily involved at our church, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church. I’ve served as Moderator of the Deacons, Chairman of the 20/20 Vision Committee and I direct the Men’s Ensemble.

CAJ: How are you involved with your community?
MR: I’ve always been a big believer in giving back to the community. My community involvement has included: chairing the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Alliance, NC Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Fayetteville Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Moderator for the Leadership in Life Institute, Fayetteville Police Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Cumberland County. I’m also heavily involved at our church, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church. I’ve served as Moderator of the Deacons, Chairman of the 20/20 Vision Committee and I direct the Men’s Ensemble.

CAJ: What got you started in the insurance industry?
MR: In 1987, I started an insurance agency from scratch. My father-in-law had been retired from his position as an Agency Manager of a local direct writer for many years. He was very instrumental in getting me started. My tenure with my current agency, Callahan & Rice, started in 1991 as an independent producer and I took over the agency in 1997.

CAJ: In your opinion, how do independent insurance agents set themselves apart from other insurance agents?
MR: Independent agents are more driven to excel in the quality of their business, their professional development and tend to give back more to their communities. That combination always creates a better outcome.

CAJ: As Chairman, what do you hope to see IIANC accomplish in this upcoming year? What are your main goals?
MR:
We have so many opportunities to help our members this year and my hope is that the Board of Directors and IIANC staff can continue to enhance those opportunities that will make being a member even more valuable than ever. Jeff Haney helped us start focusing on the distracted driving issue, and I think we will see more activity on this very soon. We must be advocates in this effort because it impacts everyone in this country. We have also been researching a new program called the “Trusted Risk Advisor.” This program would help elevate an agent’s career by helping them to build value with their clients and rise above their competition. This is a promising opportunity and I would like to see us move forward with that effort.

CAJ: How did you first get involved with IIANC? How would you say being involved as most affected your career?
MR:
My first involvement with IIANC was through CE classes. I then started attending conferences and events. I knew that being involved with professional agents who were successful would be valuable to my career. It’s important to stay connected to what is happening in the industry and getting to know other agents from across the state.

CAJ: If someone asked you why their agency should join IIANC, what would you say?
MR:
This might sound like I’m jumping on a bandwagon, but I cannot understand how an agent who is serious about a career in the insurance industry would not be a member of their professional association. Would you really want to see a physician who was not Board Certified? Would you use an attorney who was not a member of the Bar Association? I have grown and prospered as a result of my membership to the Big “I,” and so has my staff. The quality of our Continuing Education programs is second to none and the resources that we provide to our members greatly exceeds to nominal cost of membership.

FUN FACTS ABOUT MARK:
What would you have for your “last meal”?
I can’t think of a specific meal… but it would probably include all of the finer things in life: blue cheese, smoked oysters, calamari, Malbec wine and a Diet Mountain Dew.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Chef Warren’s in Southern Pines, NC

Do you have any pets?
Our seven year old dog, Wilson, is a maltipoo and is always around! Although he’s an indoor dog, he sure loves to be outside.

What book are you currently reading?
I didn’t do a lot of reading in High School, so I’m going back and reading some of the classics that I missed. Right now I’m reading The Great Gatsby.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Most people who do not know me well might be surprised that I know that I have a wide variety of life experiences. I know how to roof houses, I build wheelchair ramps with a Carpentry Ministry team that I lead at our church, I frequently sing at weddings and funerals and frequently travel to Haiti with a Ministry team.

Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner?
Jesus Christ, Billy Graham and Mother Teresa

If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want to have with you?
I would want my bible, my wife and something to keep me warm (just in case!)

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