Liquor Pak Associates
It has been said that most people don't choose their professions; their professions choose them. Larry Chasin, president of Liquor Pak Associates in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, explains how an unexpected and not entirely welcome development involving his father-in-law led him to where he is now--head of an MGA and program administrator for the liquor industry.
Chasin tells the story this way: "The time was 1964, and my father-in-law was just getting started in his own insurance agency. One of his clients had begun a retail wine business, and they became good friends. At one of their meetings, his friend and client suggested that he take home a few cases of a wine that was supposed to be 'out of sight.' Not wanting to disappoint his friend, he agreed and loaded his car. 'That will be $600,' the clerk said, and my father-in-law almost fell over. He wasn't even making $600 a month at the time. Not wanting to embarrass himself, he made a deal to pay part of the bill each week and went home. His wife, who was the primary breadwinner in the family at the time, watched in disbelief as he stacked the wine in the corner of the bedroom. 'What are we going to do with that, and how much did it cost?' she asked. After he had calmed her down, they sat down to one of her famous Italian dinners and opened one of his new bottles. It was then that his love and appreciation of wine began. Little did he know that one day his insurance business and love of wine would unite as one.
"The wine turned out to be 1961 Chateau Latour, a case of which recently sold at auction for over $50,000," Chasin continues. "As the insurance business grew, the wine collection grew, and we developed relationships with the major retailers in New York and New Jersey. It was a meeting with one of these retailers that launched the Liquor Pak insurance programs."
Before the introduction of these programs, Chasin says, liquor stores were typically forced into the surplus lines market for insurance. "We helped change that in 1996 when we were able to develop a program specifically for retail wine and liquor merchants," he says. "How did we know what types of insurance coverages were needed? Simple. We asked. But we didn't ask underwriters, agents or actuaries. We asked liquor store owners. And after hearing from small, owner-operated corner stores to large-volume superstores, we developed a program that provided the coverages store owners needed, while also helping them maintain a profitable business."
Store owners do not want be forced to carry high contents limits all year, just to protect the high inventory levels kept during peak holiday periods, Chasin explains. "They need liquor liability protection but are tired of being charged the same rates as a bar or restaurant owner for liability coverage," he says. "And they said they don't need all the paperwork and red tape that come with separate policies for liability, property and umbrella coverages, not to mention workers compensation or automobile policies. But the one thing that was most important to them was their ability to control the cost of doing business, and that included the cost of their insurance protection. That's why we've teamed with Great American Insurance Companies to offer the most competitive and comprehensive insurance program available for wine and liquor merchants," Chasin continues.
Liquor Pak insurance programs are available to the best wine and liquor retailers across the country and are distributed through independent agents, Chasin says. "Agents are able to submit an application for the 'one nice store' in town or work with Liquor Pak on a campaign targeted to every store in the area. Our relationships with our agents are our most important assets."
Chasin says he decided to join the Target Markets Association when he realized the number of independent agents he would be able to reach, not to mention the networking he would be able to do with other program administrators. "Program administrators are specialists, and we need an association that is geared to specialists," he says. "And we like what Target Markets is doing in the area of education. So, raising a glass, Cheers to Target Markets!" *