Most 28-year-olds are just starting to get into the groove of their adult careers, but not Allen M. Nieves. As vice president of operations for Crystal Financial Insurance Services, Nieves is in his ninth year in the benefits broker industry.

He started selling insurance seven years ago at the age of 21, thanks to working at an agency owned and operated by his mother. And because of his young age, he hit the ground running to prove that he was more than the son of the shop's owner.

“I took it upon myself to become more knowledgeable than anyone else in my field by constantly researching laws, trends, and products for each market I sold in. After one minute of speaking with me, my clients are put at ease knowing they are in good hands,” he says. His current book of business is approximately $4 million in premium.

Along with selling individual health coverage, he helps small businesses near the firm’s South Windsor, Conn., office set up their employee health plans.

When not at his desk, Nieves can be found in his car traveling to the small businesses or clients’ homes. “Whichever is best or easiest for the clients,” he says.

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“Sometimes I’ll go out to the business site and break down the plan but some people like to do everything over the phone especially if it is one or two people. It’s easier for them to work that way,” he says.

And much like the way that Nieves dove into the industry to learn every aspect of his brokerage business, the Central Connecticut State University graduate says the best part of his job is sharing his knowledge with his clients. In short, he relishes the opportunity to cut through the complexity and help them make the right decisions for their small business health plans.

“Just actually being able to help people with so much that's overly complicated and being able to simplify these items for them to understand it [is rewarding]. Then you give them the relief of not having to worry about this. They can push that on me and I can take care of it for them,” he says.

Needless to say, his boss is a big supporter of Nieves’. “Allen has achieved at his young age what most advisers don't over their entire career. He continuously educates himself to keep up with the changing environment and is able to shift with each change that comes our way. He takes the time with his clients to educate them based on their needs, which has led to an abundance of repeat business and referrals,” says Jennifer Lovett, president and CEO of Crystal Financial Insurance Services.

“His assistance with the training of our advisors and the Connecticut broker community has earned him respect in Connecticut’s insurance industry,” Lovett adds. “He has never looked for recognition, but working sometimes 16-hour days and weekends to make sure his clients are taken care of, and many times for zero commission, he is definitely deserving.”

In the next five years, Nieves hopes to grow his business portfolio and add to his certifications for selling other forms of insurance coverage.

“I am not sure about opening up more locations but I am looking for a more diversified book of business,” he says, adding, “That’s what I am working on now — making sure I have clientele in multiple markets.”

He adds, “I am actually looking to get my life insurance license in the next couple of months so that I am pretty much a one-stop shop.”

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