How Insurance Can Elevate Your Business with Tim Metzner, Co-founder, Coterie Insurance

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When it comes to taking care of people, everyone in business says they want to, but very few people put together action steps to taking care of their team. Tim Metzner, Co-founder of Coterie Insurance, makes it his mission to build a culture where people not only want to work, but feel inspired and energized at the end of their day.

“It’s a big part of what drew me to this company, to this opportunity, to this industry. There’s just such a chance to build a great long-term legacy company. I just love seeing people come alive in their careers because it trickles over into their personal lives and vice versa. Treating people as humans, building a great place for them to work. If you can do that, the impact you can have on a community is massive because we all become better humans when you know that 40 plus hours a week that we’re dedicating to work is enjoyable. When we leave energized at the end of the day, when we leave actually wanting to come back and do more work. We have so much fire, to go do other good stuff in our lives.”

You might think of insurance and groan, but Tim shows how a solid insurance company can really elevate your business. His team leverages their expertise to make sure business owners work on a company, not just in a company, and are able to keep their companies going strong. Be sure to listen to this episode of Marketing Trends to hear his secrets of satisfying and exciting both customers and employees.

Main Takeaways

  • You have to be adaptive: When marketing to new customers, you need to be ready to go to where they are, and speak a language that they understand. The best way to achieve this is to build a team of people who are smarter than you in new areas you don’t know about.
  • Put your products in places of relevance. Your customers shouldn’t have to hunt down what they need. You want to make sure it’s easy to get what they need, where they need it. For example, by putting the option to buy insurance on jewelry right when you buy it – it increases those sales (and eliminates fraud). Think about where you can present your products where customers already are.
  • Start your culture right away: There are a lot of leaders who think culture can wait until you are larger, but the truth is culture is going to be there either way. You want to be intentional about it right away. If you want to attract people who are talented and great human beings, you need to have a vision for the type of company you want to build early.

Key Quotes

“Some people will tell you until you’ve got a company, don’t worry about things like culture and don’t focus too much on values and vision and some of that. I just think that’s the wrong approach. Because if things do start to take off and you make it, you’re going to have a culture either way. You can either be intentional and create that, or it can kind of happen on its own. I just believe, if you want to attract people who are not only really talented, but just great human beings, you got to have a vision for the kind of company you want to build and you want to attract them to that.”

“As you scale, it gets really easy to lose sight of what’s happening on the front lines. What’s that customer service, that customer advocate hearing and seeing and feeling? One of the things we implemented is called core coaching. Every three weeks, everyone in the company has a one-on-one with someone more senior in the company, and that entire one-on-one is focused on hearing from them. Hearing about what they’re seeing, feeling, thinking we need to do better and also just about them in their career.”

“Many people don’t start a business because they’re great at starting businesses. It’s because they have a thing they love doing. Or they realize they’re really good at a thing. So we want to help educate them on, what does it look like to actually work on the business, not just in the business. How can we use some of our own past experiences as business owners to help educate people along the way? Not just about insurance, but about making their business a better business.”

“We built Coterie as a remote-first company from the beginning. All three of us co-founders agreed that there’s no reason to limit ourselves to talent just in Cincinnati, Ohio. As much as I love Cincinnati, there are amazing people all over the place who want to have freedom and flexibility to work for a great company right from where they are.”

“Build a scalpel, not a Swiss army knife.”


Tim Metzner is co-founder of Coterie, an API-based commercial lines insurance startup. Coterie empowers agents and brokers to secure coverage for small businesses faster and easier than ever.

Previously, he was co-founder of Differential, a leading digital product studio and of OCEAN, a faith-based non-profit organization that teaches, mentors, invests in, and gathers entrepreneurs around both business and biblical principles critical to their success. Tim is currently an active member of the Board of Directors for all three organizations. In addition to his direct contribution as a co-founder, collectively OCEAN and Differential have spawned dozens of ventured-backed organizations that have raised millions and created hundreds of jobs.

Tim is very active in the Cincinnati entrepreneurial community which, among other efforts, has included bringing Startup Weekend to Cincinnati, serving on the Advisory Board for NKU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, serving as an EIR for the University of Cincinnati’s Venture Lab, as well as being an active mentor to entrepreneurs and students in the region.

In addition to his volunteer and entrepreneurial endeavors, one of his greatest joys and challenges is co-leading his four young children (Nolan, Owen, Faith, and Emma) with his wife, Kristy.

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Episode 283