Wahoo Programs, LLC, run by Scott Kegler, provides insurance brokers with tailored insurance programs for specialty niches. Their Infrastructure Contractor Program is a property and liability insurance program custom-tailored to the unique needs of utility and transportation contractors.
Scott is most proud of the fact that he was able to launch the company without bank debt or equity partners by using his 401(k) funds.
MO: Why did you decide to create Wahoo Programs, LLC and what were some of the earliest challenges you faced?
Scott: The biggest challenge was overcoming the fear and anxiety of leaving a secure job in a bad economy. I have a family to support, so it was really difficult to pull the trigger on making this move. In the end, I decided that, on my deathbed, I would feel better having tried and failed than having never tried at all.
MO: What do infrastructure contractors need to know about the types of insurance they need?
Scott: Being a contractor today is brutal. The paperwork alone, especially on publicly financed jobs, can bring the strongest of men to their knees. Long gone are the days of a handshake and a man’s word to get the job done.
Unfortunately, this also carries over to the insurance policies they need to buy. My contractors need to buy 7 to 10 different types of insurance policies, usually from different insurance companies, just to be in business. Each policy is a complex contract with hundreds of different nuances. Navigating through that by themselves is nearly impossible. The contractors rely on their insurance brokers to be sure they are getting the right products.
Our company is in business to make the insurance process run more smoothly for both the broker and the contractor. We package a set of 7-8 insurance policies (depending on their needs) custom tailored for Infrastructure Contractors. Our policies come with the changes and enhancements required for this class of business. It saves time and money for both the insurance brokers and their clients.
MO: You were able to finance the company completely on your own. Very few entrepreneurs are able to do so. How does this work to your advantage?
Scott: Financing it myself allows us to take our time and do things right. We don’t have investors breathing down our necks demanding returns or operational changes. It also allows us to have clarity when we are making decisions. We aren’t influenced by anyone else’s agenda.
MO: What in your background has prepared you for running Wahoo Programs, LLC?
Scott: I spent the last 8 years as a retail insurance broker. I spent a lot of time looking for new customers and putting together insurance programs for them. Working with contractors is very time intensive. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of details that you have to get right to be a good insurance broker. One screw up can cost your client thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Having a partner like Wahoo that you can trust to help put together these policies is a big advantage.
MO: You mention that “The infrastructure of the United States is in need of billions of dollars of repair. We’ll be part of this process by proving infrastructure contractors with the insurance coverage they need at an affordable price.” Tell us more about how you see your company as an aid in the repair process for the US economy?
Scott: The American Society of Engineers publishes an Infrastructure Report card (www.infrastructurereportcard.org). The latest report gives the country’s infrastructure a composite grade of D, and estimates the country needs $2.2 Trillion of investment to fix it. That’s a lot of work to be done. Most of that work will be done by privately owned local contractors employing local people.
It’s bad enough that these contractors have to put up their houses as collateral in order to secure the bonds they need to qualify for these jobs. I just can’t stand to see them also get screwed because they bought insurance policies with poor coverage or they paid more than they needed to.
We are but a small cog in this giant wheel of bringing the US’s infrastructure up to par. We play a small part, but if we make it easier for even one contractor to do his job, we’ll feel good about that.
MO: What can we expect in the near future for Wahoo Programs, LLC?
Scott: We’ll be grinding it out here in Haddonfield, New Jersey. We’ll just be showing up every day trying to grow our business.
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