THE RESULTS OF A “CAN DO” ATTITUDE
Montana-based entrepreneur finds success with two businesses
By Christopher W. Cook
In the insurance industry, certain dedicated young professionals stand out among their peers and are members of an elite squad of individuals. These are their stories. “Dun dun.”
The entrepreneur—a person who organizes and operates a business. This writer is not an entrepreneur. A consultant with Discovery Toys. A wedding videographer. These were just a few of my failed attempts. I was always advised by my parents to do what I love, so I’ll stick to writing.
Reghan Brandt, founder and CEO of LRP, The Loss Run Pros, and co-founder and president of Columbia Pacific Finance (CPF), was taught by her parents that “the big four” in life—being humble, hungry, educated and honest—would guarantee happiness and success.
“My parents instilled in me and my three sisters a ‘can do’ attitude, and that risk was to be calculated but not feared,” Brandt says. “I watched my parents build multiple successful businesses and raise four independent women. I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”
Brandt, who lives in Missoula, Montana, graduated from Gonzaga University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and marketing and “joined the corporate world” with Wells Fargo. “The training at Wells Fargo provided me with an excellent foundation for my future endeavors,” she says.
Her first business venture began after a conversation at a friend’s wedding.
“I met an insurance agent who started filling me in on the industry. He said a group of agents on the east side of Washington state were looking to start a premium finance company, but needed an operator/founder,” Brandt says. “A few cocktails in and I felt confident enough to let him know that I could easily ‘figure insurance out’, and the rest is history.”
Brandt started CPF, an insurance premium finance company, in 2008. “I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by amazing teams at CPF and LRP [more on that later], where we get to work with wonderful retail agents and talented underwriters at MGAs and top-notch carriers,” she says.
But it wasn’t always easy.
“Being a young woman starting out in the insurance industry, I had to work harder, utilize technology more efficiently, and understand the industry better than my competitors,” Brandt says. “Over a decade later, the finance company has been a success.”
“My focus has always been on making sure I understand how to help agents get more business. I love working with
agencies and love leaning in on their processes and observing how successful agencies thrive.”
Founder and CEO, The Loss Run Pros
Co-Founder and President, Columbia Pacific Finance
The next adventure
With the success of one business under her belt, Brandt’s entrepreneurial spirit took over. “I wanted to test my knowledge and experience and create another new business,” she says. “My experience at CPF gave me a front-row seat into thousands of brokers’ offices, and I saw firsthand all the inefficiencies in how commercial insurance transactions are processed.
“I pin-pointed the loss run (a de-tailed record of the insured’s claim/loss history for a certain policy period) process as one that really needed a huge makeover. Loss run reports are required for many commercial insurance trans-actions and, at the present time, there is no industry standard on getting this data.”
Brandt spent the summer of 2019 developing a business plan and road- map to solve the problems with loss runs, and by the end of that summer LRP, The Loss Run Pros was born.
“Our products are centered around enhancing the insurance agent’s process, service and workflows,” she says. “The LRP software is subscription-based and allows insurance professionals to generate, track, and schedule all loss run requests. You are also able to send the loss run request authorization form to the insured via email to be e-signed and submitted instantly to the carriers.
“My focus has always been on making sure I understand how to help agents get more business. I love working with agencies and love leaning in on their processes and observing how successful agencies thrive.”
While she was developing LRP, Brandt discovered BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) (see the January 2023 cover story of Rough Notes) on LinkedIn.
“I felt that my plan was a perfect fit for what they were searching to capitalize,” Brandt says. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I knew I had to become part of the BTV family.”
LRP applied to be a part of BTV’s first Accelerator and was selected. Brandt credits the thoughtful and innovative advice from the BTV family for improvements and tweaks made to the LRP roadmap. “We’re partnered along-side impressive insurtechs that have now become friends and mentors, too,” she says.
For the success of her businesses, Brandt thanks her family. “My parents have been great examples that there is no glass ceiling, and you can accomplish anything,” she says. “They started and sold many different business ventures over the past 40-plus years, and they are always my sounding board, trusted resource, and biggest cheer-leaders.
“I also have an uncle based in Seattle, Mike Mansfield, who sits on the boards of CPF and LRP. He has helped counsel me on the ins and outs of business and truly helped walk me through so many challenges of startups and business operations.”
In the insurance industry, “there are so many great people,” Brandt says. “I work with two amazing teams who help provide top-notch service to great agents who have helped the companies excel; great leaders like Bob Kimmell, Mark Smith, Joe Adams and Matt Bishop; and great friends who have guided me, including Jeremiah Howard, Scott Carpenteri, Jeremy Gluck, Lena Battraw Peters and more.”
Involvement and advice
Brandt loves staying active in the insurance community. “I am always looking for new opportunities to connect with agents and help educate them about the latest technology and resources out there,” she says. “As a result, I have been involved with many associations over the past few years, including MarshBerry, Agents Alliance, First Choice, ISU, PacWest, Iroquois Group, SIAA, Smart Choice and many captive networks, like Farmers Insurance.”
Brandt took her desire to connect and educate a step further in January 2022, when she started and began hosting The Insurance Chatter podcast, a show that discusses market trends, insurtech tools and recruiting in the industry.
“There are many young people who think the insurance industry is boring, but I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it,” she says. “It’s such a crucial part of our economy and helps keep every-thing running smoothly, and I think it’s important for young people to under-stand that.
“I started The Insurance Chatter to highlight all the different careers, opportunities and talent that this industry offers. My goal is to drive more engagement from young people and show that insurance can be an incredibly rewarding career path.”
Outside of insurance, Brandt is on the Executive Committee for Youth Homes of Montana. “It’s an organization that’s close to my heart, and I’m passionate about helping the kids who are placed in the homes,” she says. “We cared for over 940 youth and their families last year.
“When I stop to consider where these kids would be if they were not sheltered in one of their homes, the alternatives reaffirm the commitment to always provide a safe place for them to turn when life turns upside down. Without these services, kids would remain in unsafe homes or become homeless.
“I’m so grateful for this organization, because I know we are making a difference in this world and I know that everyone of our youths will look back on their time spent with us as one where they felt safe, loved, and could call home.”
As for advice to new insurance professionals starting their careers: With the recent pushes for remote work, Brandt believes that “there are a lot of young people missing out on important in-person meetings and opportunities to develop their skills and gain a mentor,” she says. She advises that “if a boss asks you to lunch—go! If a boss holds a town hall—go! If a boss invites you to an event—go! The sky is the limit if you start networking and fostering relationships with your colleagues and managers.”
When she isn’t doing “insurance stuff,” Brandt spends time with her husband, Matt, and their three “crazy” boys. “They’re six, four and one; as you can imagine there’s never a dull moment around here and we have to make sure the chainsaw is stored properly,” she says with a laugh.
“We live in Missoula, Montana, so in the summer, we spend our time bike riding, golfing, hiking, floating the river, and playing around town. We love to be outside as much as possible. In the winter, we sled at our local hill, ski if there’s enough snow, and build fires to make the best S’mores,” she concludes.