An Agent You Should Know: Randy Kolarik


By Kelsey Clapp

Randy Kolarik began with Western Fraternal Life Association in July 1989, following in his father, Rudy Kolarik’s, footsteps. Randy attended the University of Wisconsin in River Falls and graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science with minors in Agri-Business and Farm Management. He and his wife Jodi have three children, Nick, Elizabeth, and Celia.

Randy was brought to wfla by former agency manager Dean Estling. What drew him to this company was what it offered as a whole. “It is a small company, but it is great not only being able to offer the insurance security, but also having the community service aspect. It is the ideal situation.” He loves the Single Premium Whole Life product that wfla has to offer because you are able to cover any age with it, and you know it will stay with the company because the premium has already been paid. Randy considers wfla’s scholarship program his favorite member benefit because it helps our members increase their knowledge. “You never know when that knowledge we are giving them could come back and help wfla in the future,” Randy noted.

Outside of his insurance business, Randy is active in Boy Scouts, church activities, and many different committees. Randy enjoys golfing, along with woodworking, and furniture refinishing. He likes to reclaim things from what he would consider the dump. Randy is a member of Lodge 108 and is the head cook for the lodge ‘booyah’ party that takes place annually. He actively participates in fraternal activities as a speaker at Lodge, District, and State Meetings.

In May, Randy will become the President of the National Association of Fraternal Insurance Counselors. He will hold this position from May 2014- May 2015. His duties will include speaking at state chapter meetings, dealing with the issues that arise, and taking care of the books. Randy will need to be there to serve the FIC members, and he will head the NAFIC National Conventions. The Home Office would like to congratulate Randy on this wonderful achievement in his career.

Randy has been awarded many different awards from wfla. He has been named Agent of the Year three times: 1997, 2007 and 2011. Randy was also named to the Century Club, Golden Quill, and has been part of the President’s Cabinet several times. He is consistently one of wfla’s leading agents and serves many members throughout the state of Wisconsin. He has also served as the President of the Wisconsin Fraternal Insurance Counselors.

Randy has attended many of wfla’s agent incentive trips, but a few really stick out in his mind. “In Puerto Vallarta many years ago, we were the only boat out on the water. We could see three hump back whales; they were so close that we actually got sprayed by one of them. We think he was putting on a show for us. Two of them swam under our boat, and the eye on the mom was as big as a steering wheel. If they had flipped their tail, we would have been shipped wrecked,” Randy recalls.

Randy would like to leave everyone out there with a bit of advice, “If you are looking for a career opportunity this is a good place to be. WFLA is a small company that offers strong financial as well as communities service opportunities. You are able to talk directly to the president of the company, and you get to know the people behind the scenes. It is the perfect opportunity.”

WFLA is thankful to have Randy Kolarik as a part of our team and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Agent Spotlight – Brad Gilson

Brad Gilson 2012 (2)How long have you been in the insurance industry?
50 years, started on March 4th 1963.

What got you involved in Insurance?
“I got out of the service in December and I went to work in January for John Deere. When I changed my car insurance later that year, I was asked if I was interested in selling because my dad was a salesperson. I read the insurance industry information pamphlet and while I was doing that, a gentleman asked me if I was thinking about selling. Later, I got a phone call from the District Manager and we had a meeting. The rest is history and it was a match made in heaven.”

How long have you worked for wfla?
Thirty-four years

You have worked for us for many years, why have you stayed with wfla?

  1. I have been into fraternalism since I was in kindergarten because of my dad.  Now I get both sides, personally and professionally.
  2. I like the attitude of the people in the Home Office.
  3. The contract with insurance for me, personally. I get a pension plan.
  4. WFLA has competitive products.

What’s your favorite product that wfla offers and why?

Value Life- it does three things in one certificate.

  1. It is reasonably priced
  2. There is a no Lapse Clause
  3. It has the effect of being life time term

I like the “guaranteed” fact of any product.

What’s your favorite member benefit and why?
“The Fraternal Herald member magazine because the recipes are good and I am able to keep track of my clients if they pass on or what the lodges that I service are doing. Also, if a member moves we will find out from a returned Fraternal Herald that helps me better serve the members.”

How is working for a fraternal association different from working with a for-profit company?
“The difference is the attitude of a fraternal company. WFLA is more service-orientated than profit-orientated.”

You have attended many lodge meetings, State Meetings, and Conventions. Do you have any favorite memories to share from one of these events?
“I like the camaraderie of the State Meetings. I also like the agent Mid-Year event because you get to see many of the agents, new and old.”

What do you feel is the most challenging part of your job?
Overcoming call reluctance- “You don’t want to call and talk to people. It could be because you are afraid of a ‘no’. You must overcome that and make a call. Understanding that there are days that just need to be paperwork days and the phone needs to stay down.”

What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?
“I always get a zing when I get another application because I know that I have helped somebody. When that zing goes away I will know that I am in trouble.”

How many incentive trips have you qualified for? Which trip was your favorite? Why?
“I have qualified for roughly 40. We [my wife and I] have been everywhere from Ireland to Hawaii. I liked Ireland and Hawaii equally. In Hawaii, there is so much patriotism. As a veteran, the thing that sticks out the most is the Arizona [ship] memorial.”

You recently went to Ireland on an incentive trip, what is something about that trip that you will never forget?
“First, the artistic abilities of the people at the Waterford Crystal. It was amazing to see them hand sculpt all of the crystal, and we watched them fine-tune the pieces. Blarney Castle- I wasn’t able to kiss the stone, but I will remember looking at the grounds around it. The flowers were impressive. Lastly, I love fish and chips.”

Do you have any favorite stories about members you have helped?
“In one case, the father died of a heart attack and 4 years later the mother died of cancer. The children were able to use our orphans benefit to go to community college. After that they were able to continue their schooling. Another example I saw was when a large term policy was bought. The husband was killed in a car accident, and the death benefit paid for the remainder of the house.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
“I am an avid sports fan- I was a sports official for 27 years at the high school and college level. I officiated at baseball, softball, football, and basketball games. I am also a Rail Fan (trains) I could go to Newton [Kansas] and watch the rail yard and not be bored. It gets rid of stress, as well. I also enjoy traveling.

What do you plan to do once you retire?
“First, I have to figure out when I am going to retire. I would make the world’s worst couch potato, I will be bored. I have no intention of ever fully retiring. As long as I am physically and mentally able to do the job, I will continue to do my job. I plan to work smarter not harder, as the years go on. If I ever did retire, I would love to travel. I would like to go to Alaska because I have never been there.”