Finance Monthly Insurance Awards 2021: Interview with Brian Haney
We speak with Finance Monthly's Insurance & Retirement Services Leader of 2021.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m proud to say I was recently voted (by my daughter) to the illustrious title of “World’s Most Embarrassing Dad!” So that’s my full-time gig, but I also masquerade as the Founder of my firm, The Haney Company, advising our clients on how to achieve financial freedom. I think my role is fairly straightforward – build our brand and develop the right relationships so we can help as many clients as possible. My market development responsibilities have me running a podcast, writing 1-2 articles a month for a variety of industry publications such as Associations NOW, Insurancenewsnet, Advisor Today, Adviser Perspectives, and Kiplinger to name a few. I am also a professional speaker, speaking over a dozen times a year to a variety of audiences, and also launched a Brand Development and Coaching consultancy within our firm to help financial professionals develop a brand and stand out in the digital marketplace. I not only want our practice to thrive, but I also want my industry to thrive because removing financial barriers is better for everyone!
When it comes to my “job,” I consider myself very fortunate to view it as a calling, not just a profession. I deeply care for all my clients beyond what I do for them professionally. It’s such a blessing to feel like work isn’t “work,” and I’m doubly fortunate to work every day with people I deeply respect. I know that not all family businesses are great, especially when the family dynamic breaks down. We are fortunate that we not only love and care for one another, but we like each other too!
Tell us about The Haney Company’s mission and goals?
It might surprise you to know that the most important business lessons I learned were taught to me when I was 8 years old working with my father as a paperboy. Delivering newspapers 365 days a year to 72 houses at 5 am each day, wasn’t exactly every young boy’s dream. Beyond the meagre amount of income it provided me, those 11 years were some of the most formative moments of my life. The most significant lesson I learned was when my dad told me, “If you’re going to do anything, do it with excellence.” This has been our business mantra ever since. So, fast forward to our family business today: our team has embraced several core values that guide everything we do:
- Family – Those we care for most
- Equity – Diversity and inclusion
- Education – Financial empowerment
- Social justice – Addressing poverty & economic inequality
- Green living – Caring for our culture and our planet
We all strive to live life on purpose and mission. Whether an Association driven by mission, a business hoping to be sold one day, or a family eager to send kids off to college and retire to the beach together, our finances should be a means to that end, never a stumbling block. With so much information out there, much of it conflicting, it can be hard to navigate a way forward with confidence. We want to cut through the noise and help you interpret that information so you can apply it properly to your situation. Good financial advice can be the key to achieving your mission and life goals. One of the underlying goals of our firm is to empower people to live enriched lives and not be held captive by financial stress. I firmly believe that means we are in the human transformation business.
What are the things that make a great insurer in your opinion?
I think great insurers and insurance professionals see insurance for what it is, not just what it does. Insurance shows up when others run away, insurance lifts up when everything falls apart, insurance repairs broken lives and gives us a chance at new ones. While the industry is fighting commoditisation, great practitioners and companies alike see the continued need to properly assess and address the risks we all face. Don’t buy and build risk around price, build price and policy around risk. In our practice, we understand that our brand is not just the corporate name that shows up on our clients’ insurance statements, but it’s our emotional connection to our clients and the value of their experience working with us. It’s not only our promise fulfilled, but the life that becomes possible after the storm hits. We aren’t bartering a commodity, we are protecting and preserving love and human dignity. We offer hope and new beginnings.
Insurance shows up when others run away, insurance lifts up when everything falls apart, insurance repairs broken lives and gives us a chance at new ones.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I am passionate about seeing people achieve financial freedom. Making the most of your money doesn’t come easy! Knowing what to do, how to do it, and wondering if you made the right decision can be challenging. I understand how that feels and I am fanatical about helping you make the financial decisions you want to make but may not understand how to make. There’s a lot of information out there, much of it conflicting, so it can be hard to know how to make sense of it. I want to cut through the noise and help you interpret that information so you can apply it properly to your situation. I help people understand, not just to do something, buy some policy, make some investment and hope it works out. In 15 years, I have found one thing to be universally true: we all want to make the right financial choices for ourselves, our businesses, and our families. So, it’s never a lack of desire that prevents us from doing certain things, it is usually a lack of understanding, not just what to do, but how to do, and why to do it. Following a financial plan, properly investing overtime, offering employees benefits that are competitive but don’t bankrupt you, selecting insurance that adequately protects those you care for, none of these are intuitive, nor are they something that is taught in school.
I joke sometimes that I’m a Financial Therapist. So much of finances is emotional because so much of it deals with relationships and people that we care for. No, I don’t sit people down on a couch a have them spill their guts over bad financial decisions and offer them tissues at $200/hour. My role is simple: I help my clients make the financial decisions that they want to make, but just don’t know how to make. I help my clients frame the decision the right way (specific to them, not some generalisation about what everyone “should” be doing), understand the variables involved, then assess the landscape of options that may be a fit. We weigh out pros and cons, and ultimately, I help facilitate the option that my clients feel suits them best. At the end of the day, they control their money instead of having their money control them. I think that financial peace is some of the best kind of peace and helping clients achieve it is perhaps the most exciting part of every day for me.
What does this award mean to you?
This award is so incredibly humbling because, for me, success is team success and not the function of any one person in our practice. I would not be here without the incredible team behind me, nor without the incredible community of colleagues that have mentored me, picked me up when things got rough, helped me and constantly pointed me in the right direction to be the best professional I have hoped to be. Organisations like the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) have been foundational to me, and I could not imagine any recognition being possible without them. I’m so grateful for this recognition and hope it can be an opportunity to offer encouragement to other industry professionals so we can all collectively become more and help our industry make a more significant impact in our culture.
About Brian Haney
Brian has been in the Financial Services Business since 2003, working with a diverse group of clients representing a slice of the Washington DC marketplace. As a native of the Washington area, he grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, attending high school in Bethesda. He founded The Haney Company with his father 9 years ago, combining 2 generations of industry experience. With more than a decade of experience in Banking, Investments, Asset management and insurance, Brian’s expertise and keen insights provide organizations, businesses and individuals with unique and innovative strategies to meet their insurance needs and financial goals. The marriage between his father’s association/non-profit expertise and his private industry background give the Haney Company a substantial edge in the marketplace.
Brian is active in the industry and has received much recognition during his time. He was a SunTrust Bank EdgeMaster Conference Qualifier 2006, the West Financial Group New Agent of the year in 2008, MassMutual Life Insurance Company Rising Leader 2009, 2010, 2011, MassMutual Life Insurance Company Leaders Qualifier 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, MDRT Qualifier every year since 2009, MDRT Court of Table Qualifier every year since 2014, and a Top of the Table Qualifier every year since 2016. Brian is also a NAIFA National Quality Award recipient each year since 2013. Brian was also named one of NAIFA’s prestigious 4 Under 40 in 2017, as well as their Diversity Champion in 2018. Brian was honored to be one NAILBA’s ID 20 winners and one of the Washington Business Journal’s 2019 40 UNDER 40 winners. Brian was recognized by ThinkAdviser as a 2021 Luminary Awardee for Diversity and Inclusion. He is an active Board member of NAIFA Greater Washington, and an active MDRT volunteer leader.
Brian’s professional designations include:
- Certified Funds Specialist (CFS®)
- Certified Income Specialist (CIS®)
- Certified in Long Term Care (CLTC®)
- Certified Family Business Specialist (CFBS®)
- Life & Annuity Certified Professional (LACP®)
- Certified Association Executive (CAE)
Brian was formerly a Private Banker & Investment Associate for SunTrust Investment Services, and a Licensed Banker at Wachovia bank where he began his career. Brian resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife and daughter. He is a 2002 Graduate of Indiana University.
The Haney Company offers financial services advice and guidance, including strategies for aligning values and mission with investment decisions, based on decades of experience and the highest level of personal attention. These advantages provide an uncompromising dedication to our clients and the ability to find the right financial solutions for you and your goals. As specialists in insurance and retirement programs for Associations and their executives, we’ll always dig deep to find the insurance and affinity plans that work for your organization. And because of our extensive training and experience, we can also provide you with innovative solutions that fit best.
CLTC, CFBS, CFS, CIS, LACP, CAE
Founder, Vice President
The Haney Company
308 Southwest Drive
Silver Spring, MD. 20901
F: 301-593-0800 | C: 240-888-8630