Rough Notes magazine, July, 1948
How to Start a Successful Agency
By James R. Gregory
In the 30 months since he got out of the Navy, Clyde Delay of Dalllas has built a $75, 000 agency
Clyde Delay started in the insurance business when he came home from the war, in December, 1945. He'd been a Navy pilot, and was then 22 years old. His only previous insurance experience was working in the home office of a Dallas insurance company as a rate clerk and junior underwriter in their Automobile department. He saved as much money as he could white he was in the Navy, planning to start bis agency, because he felt sure that it would take at least two years to make any money. And at first it looked as though he were right. For the first month of business, bis net commissions were $6.25.
Starting an agency, he felt the first thing he needed was prospects. So he sat down and made a list of every one he knew in Dallas. He put each on a separate 3x5 card.
Since he had carried a paper route in Dallas for many years, he found he knew quite a number of people fairly well. Later on, he found out that it was a lot easier to talk to them than to people he had never known.
He immediately started systematically contacting this list. He talked v, them about just three things: Dwelling insurance, household goods and Automobile insurance. If he couldn't get the policy, he always asked for the expiration, refiling the card according to expiration in a second, expiration file.
This pattern has been remarkably effective. Over the last two and a half years, he has sold over 90 percent of these original names one or mere jxilicies, Particularly he tried to write their Dwelling business, since this is the one type of insurance which he found all his companies would write without a question.
It soon became apparent that he would need a lot more prospects. Particularly, he was losing business to mortgage companies, since the companies which mortgaged the many new homes heing built in Dallas' housing boom usually insured the property also.
So in order to get his share of the business, he made a hrnkerage connection with a Houston investment company operated in conjunction with one of his companies. Advertising in the Dallas papers with a small 4-line advertisement he offered to assist veterans and others in securing FHA and G.I. loans.
The advertisement pulled all of this business he could handle, even by working at night, and in two years he was able to broker more than 3|J1,000,001) in loans.
However, he still needed more names. Since he was now familiar with personal production of Automobile insurance, he contracted for a daily list of the new cars sold in Dallas, furnished by a local publishing company. He then printed up 5,000 cards and. as each day's list came out. addressed a card to each name not part of a fleet or delivered to a large company. From the first 5,000 names, he got about 50 additional new customers, principally for Liability.
In addition, of course, he went through the list and personally followed up anyone he knew. If, calling on the new car buyer, he found that In addition, of course, he went through the list and personally followed up anyone he knew. If, calling on the new car buyer, he found that the business had already been written, perhaps through the finance company, he always asked for the expiration and put it in his file.
DeLay talked to his first prospects only about Dwelling and Auto insurance.
Clyde moved to beautiful Oak Cliffin 1945 and started Clyde Delay Insurance Agency on W. Jefferson. His son, Dee "John" Delay, still operates the business which is now located on Central Expressway and known as Alliance Insurance Agency.