Compretta Insurance Agency
Moving from head coach to head of a growing insurance company, Brenan Compretta has found that the same principles - and personal values - apply.
- by Ellis Anderson
But success requires nurture, too, and Compretta has done just that with the agency he purchased in 2010. Under Compretta’s leadership, the agency has grown into a one-stop shop for the insurance and financial needs of both individuals and businesses.
While auto, home and life insurance remain mainstays of the agency, his team includes specialists who can handle investments, retirement funds and employee benefits. The response to these advances has been so positive that the agency recently expanded and moved into new offices at 802 Hwy. 90.
Compretta’s coaching background has clearly made the transition in the business world. He understands that team building is crucial, as is evaluating customer needs and tailoring packages on an individual basis. These approaches have earned him several insurance industry awards.
Topping the list of comparable attributes is taking a long-range approach to problem solving. The former coach admits that taking on challenges is something he both excels at and enjoys.
“In some respects being an agency owner and a head coach are similar,” says Compretta. “You can’t do either one of those by yourself. You have to have excellent assistants and trust them. Sometimes, you need to just get out of the way and let them do what they’re best at.”
Compretta’s team is made up of several key players, including Dena Lohman and Tara Smith, who handle most personal and business lines of insurance. Each has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry and earns a “spectacular” rating from the coach.
Other team members specialize in employee benefits. They can work with businesses in both Mississippi and Louisiana and take care of health, life and disability insurances, as well as supplemental policies, like those for accident and cancer.
Shane Hard, with an MBA from Millsaps, offers financial advice and services ranging from help with setting up retirement plans to handling an array of investments.
Compretta and his staff keep up with the latest technological tools to save time for customers and increase efficiency at the agency. For instance, if a client has a fender-bender, in many cases now they can file a photo claim by taking pictures with their phones and loading them into an app.
Also, gone are the days when an agency representing Allstate was bound exclusively to that insurance giant. Now, if Allstate can’t meet a customer’s needs, the agency can reach out to Allstate’s subsidiaries, or beyond, to other markets.
“For instance, there was a time when we couldn’t write a homeowner’s policy with wind included,” says Compretta. “Now we have a wide array of options and tools to help people make the right decisions and feel good about their coverage. I’m excited about our agency now because of that.”
But personal customer interaction remains at the forefront of company values. Compretta says that some clients prefer to meet in person, while others would rather use a faster internet-based approach. He and his staff enjoy accommodating both styles.
“But I often hear the same comment from both types of clients,” says Compretta. “They say we don’t forget about them after the sale. They know they’re welcome to come into the office at any time and discuss their questions and concerns and they appreciate that. That has helped us build enormous customer loyalty.”
The Compretta name has been a trusted one in the community since the early 1900s, when Brenan’s grandparents immigrated to Bay St. Louis from Italy and opened a dairy on Old Spanish Trail. As a child, Brenan’s father, Bobby, worked delivering milk. When Bobby was 16, he landed a job as a bag boy for Winn-Dixie. Within a few years, the young man had worked his way up to become manager of the store – a job he held for the next thirty years.
“I learned the value of hard work from my family,” says the younger Compretta. “My dad worked ridiculously long hours when I was a kid, so he wasn’t able to volunteer much. So when he retired in 2000, he ran for city council in order to give back.”
Brenan began coaching when he was only 14, working for the city’s parks and recreation department in the summers, coaching children five to eight years old. He credits the job with helping him build both communication and leadership skills at a young age.
At USM he majored in history and football coaching, while working for his former high school coaches as a scout. He and childhood sweetheart Miranda Smith both graduated college in May 1997 and married the next month.
After the wedding, Miranda took a job with Bay High, writing the curriculum for and starting the dance program. Compretta was offered a job at Hancock High and began teaching history and coaching football. He also launched the school’s soccer program. Later, he moved on to become first the assistant, and then the head coach at Bay High.
In a strange twist of fate, the couple each inadvertently followed the career paths of their in-laws. Brenan calls “the perfect small town story.”
Brenan’s mother was a dance instructor, who founded Arabesque School of Dance. She actually taught Miranda as a child. Miranda ended up taking over the studio, a thriving enterprise.
Miranda’s father had worked as head coach at Bay High, and also owned the local Allstate business. Brenan left his job as head coach at Bay High and purchased the insurance business from his father-in-law.
“I’d been teaching and coaching for 13 years. While I loved it, I wanted more flexibility in my schedule, so I could spend more time with our four children,” says Brenan.
The kismet goes back even further.
“Miranda was actually my girlfriend in first grade. She just wasn’t aware of it. My mother is the only one I told about the crush,” says Compretta, laughing.
Compretta says there’s one additional thing that the insurance business and coaching have in common: the satisfaction he feels at the end of the day.
“This business gives me the opportunity to get involved with people and to help them,” he says. “Lots of people don’t take the time to learn about the insurance they need. They just know the basics and need more guidance.
“I’m able to sit down with customers one-on-one and review their coverages. They have confidence in me to set them in the right direction and find the formula that works best. It’s a tremendously satisfying job.”
Check out this video about Brenan Compretta coaching the Bay High football team after Hurricane Katrina!