SALEM — When Kevin Nichting was 22 years old, purchased a truck, threw his construction tools in the back and started his own construction business. The Salem resident is once again stepping out of his comfort zone, trading in his tools to launch a Farm Bureau Financial Services branch in his hometown this fall.
Nichting was recruited to Farm Bureau in the fall of 2018 by a fellow Salem Fire & Rescue member Phil West, an agency manager. Nichting said the pay was right, he liked the long-term benefits, and so after eight years as a contractor, he decided to make the switch to insurance agent. His office for K. Nichting Agency will open in Salem this fall.
Nichting is building his insurance office in Salem himself with the help of his father’s construction business, Nichting Construction. The walls will begin going up this week at 125 South Main Street in Salem.
Nichting went into construction because he grew up in the industry. His dad, Steve Nichting, started a construction business the year Kevin Nichting was born. As soon as he was old enough to crawl up a ladder, Nichting was on the roof helping his dad on job sites.
Many of Nichting’s clients from K. Nichting Construction followed him from one business to another and are already insured with Farm Bureau under K. Nichting Agency.
Nichting believes in helping people protect the things they work hard to build.
“If someone’s house burns down, we want to make sure we can write them a check to replace it,” Nichting said. “There’s a lot of insurance companies out there that don’t insure houses for enough. It’s important for me to protect everyone I know — their house, auto and financial situation.”
The same values that made Nichting a good contractor make him a good insurance agent. Personal relationships, his appearance as a business owner, the way he presents himself to the community, it all comes into play, he said.
He also already has experience managing a company’s income on a budget.
“The checks you bring in might be larger, but you have to think about paying taxes, advertising and other overhead expenses,” Nichting said. “I took all that (experience) over from my construction company.”
Nichting believes being a business owner is full of limitless possibilities. The reward is based on a business owner’s own ambition for the job, he said.
When Nichting started as an insurance agent in March, he said he never realized how much it would be about helping people.
“I’ve had people thank me up and down,” Nichting said. “I’ve been able to go in, look at someone’s insurance policy and get them better coverage for less. People are really happy when you can get that for them.”
Nichting said that even when Farm Bureau can’t offer the lowest coverage, he still sees clients switch to Farm Bureau because of the customer service.
“We’re very hands on,” he said.
The advice Nichting offers to people shopping for insurance is to look at what they are actually getting covered for in addition to the price of that coverage.
“Why have an insurance policy if you don’t know what you’re getting covered for?” Nichting said. “They could be grossly underinsured and not even know it.”