D. & L. Landes Company, Inc.
New York, NY, USA
Field: Insurance Sales and Service
Insurance has traditionally been a difficult and complex business. It deals with risk management and other complicated issues, including money, injury and death. Diana J. Landes received training when she worked for her supportive father, who owned Leo J. Landes CLU, Inc., a group insurance firm that offered health insurance, long-term disability insurance, long-term care insurance and retirement plans.
Diana Landes and Leo Landes co-founded D. & L. Landes Company, Inc. in 1991. With Leo Landes’ encouragement, Ms. Landes continued in insurance with the D. & L. Landes Company corporation when her father retired. She added property/casualty insurance services in addition to employee benefits services.
Diana Landes continued on her own only after she received extensive education and training. Upon earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, summa cum laude, with a minor in music, from the University at Buffalo, Ms. Landes went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University. She then gained experience in account management and marketing, including working for two years in the advertising industry and as a product director for Johnson & Johnson.
With expertise in group health and group long-term disability insurance, and experience with business owner’s insurance, co-operative apartment and apartment renters insurance, she advises clients in the purchase of policies and is available to assist them with renewals and claims. Her career highlight was representing her father’s client as a member of the Church Medical Insurance Committee, which accounted for more than 250,000 lives, and obtaining the accounts of small businesses and individuals in the Greater New York area. She attributes her success to her perseverance and devotion to clients’ interests. In order to remain abreast of current events, she reads Business Insurance and Newsweek.
Ms. Landes is a licensed property and casualty insurance broker, working as a producer in property and casualty insurance, and a licensed life and health insurance broker in the state of New York. She is a member of The Columbia Business School Alumni Club, the Alumni Association of the University at Buffalo, and the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, and watching movies. As an expert in her field, Ms. Landes has made multiple presentations to conventions of clergy, and at seminars held by a Chamber of Commerce, located in Bronx County, primarily regarding medical and disability benefits.
Conversation with Diana J. Landes
WORLDWIDE PUBLISHING: On what topics do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Diana J. Landes: Group health insurance and long-term disability insurance for corporations with two to ninety-nine employees.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
I was trained by my father, who was in the industry for more than 40 years. He was a self-made agent who worked with large groups. He also created his own firm.
What motivates you?
The desire to help others be well-covered.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field for more than 20 years?
You always have to do what’s best for the client and review what you have recommended.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
My short-term goal is to continue building the business, and my long-term goal is to open a large office.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
I plan to advertise, and also attract business by word-of-mouth.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
The most difficult obstacles have been people’s psychological resistance to insurance, and corporate resistance to change.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
There are two: the state of the economy, and some provisions of the recent health care reform legislation.
What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?
They should discuss with me in detail the breadth and costs of the proposed coverage.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about your profession?
Helping my clients.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
I was lucky enough to gain experience working with my father. My father started in the field by selling life insurance. Those interested in working in benefits may want to start by selling life insurance with a life insurance company. Occasions to market benefits will also likely present themselves.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
My father, who was respected, had his own business and was very supportive, and my mother who is gifted, is a graduate of the Juilliard School as a pianist, and is very supportive.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
Group medical insurance has gone from a simple traditional plan to managed care, to health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts. Many changes to the legal landscape affecting the industry have occurred.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
These methods will be used to try and help keep costs down and deliver quality health care. New methods of quality health care at lower costs will continually be sought. Laws such as the health care reform will continue to affect the industry.