May 13, 2020
By: Richard Lau
Tell us about yourself and what your company does, & how long you've been working on it.
I’m Ross Quade and I help people find smart solutions to end of life expenses as an insurance agent and owner of Prime Mutual. I’ve been involved in the insurance industry since 1996 in just about every facet you can imagine. I started in a center cold calling, then working as an agent for a captive company as well as independent agencies. Additionally, I’ve owned affiliate marketing websites in the insurance space and I’ve worked as an affiliate manager for a leading insurance consumer portal. More recently, I’ve re-branded Prime Mutual and am now completely focused on final expense insurance. This renewed interest came from a personal milestone, the 10 year anniversary of my mother’s passing from pancreatic cancer. I was in a haze in the wake of my mom’s death and focusing on financial aspects was such a burden. I want to help people plan in advance so when the time comes, their loved ones can simply mourn their loss.
What inspired you to start your own company - tell us the story?
My father; but not in the way you’d expect. He embodied the classic 1950’s success story - a chemical engineer at 3M, house in the suburbs, wife and three kids. But he was so focused on his career and providing this cookie cutter lifestyle that he was rarely home.
As a precocious and rebellious kid, I knew there had to be a better way and I figured it was to own my own business. I didn’t know what or how, but I knew I wouldn't toil endlessly to serve other people's ambitions. I wanted to be my own boss so I’d have the freedom and flexibility to be present in my family life.
Now, it seems, I’ve followed in my father’s footsteps but a modern version of this success story. I own websites and rental properties that allow me to work on my own schedule and travel the world with my family. I’m imperfectly navigating a work life balance, but my purpose and intention are always pointing in the right direction.
How did you decide on your company name and logo?
Final expense insurance can be an emotional topic. We wanted our logo and name to be a symbol of trust and comfort. Our logo is a dove within a circle, which symbolizes love, peace, and the life cycle. Our name is intended to encompass the two parties we are here to help and that we are among the leaders in the industry. Prime means first, best, and starts the phrase “prime of your life,” referring to the seniors who are interested in protecting their legacy. Mutual means to be held by two or more parties. This refers to the connection our clients have to the loved ones they are leaving behind.
What's been a good way of growing your customer base and sales? Can you share a few success stories with us?
What drives our website is providing helpful and valuable information to those considering one of the most difficult aspects of life: death. For instance, the Covid-19 pandemic has made loss more devastating through social distancing requirements that prevent people from grieving in traditional ways.
To help people navigate this new landscape, we created guides to online memorial websites and how to host virtual funerals. We’ve had several messages of gratitude for the resources and many wanting to re-post our information.
What did you wish you knew before you started your company? What advice do you have for first-time entrepreneurs?
Imagine one of those game show money booths, with bills whipping all around you. If you are just chasing dollars, you’re likely to come out empty handed. You need to have a greater purpose and defined intention behind your business in order to be successful.
I spent years trying to build businesses just to shove dollars in my pockets. Once I realized that success comes from solving other people’s problems that I was uniquely qualified to help with, all the pieces came together.
Start with a foundation of purpose and intention. Figure out what tools and skills you have and what or who you need. Then create a solid business plan with purpose and intention as your base.
What are trends in your industry that you are excited about?
For me, the most exciting thing in the industry is the work a company called Recompose is doing. They are focused on green funerals but in a particularly innovative way. They are creating processes and changing laws to allow the gentle conversion of human remains into soil, which can in turn nourish new life. It’s fascinating and poetic.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I'm a spontaneous, nonconforming, city dweller that highly values my independence and freedom. So, people are always surprised to learn that I’m an Eagle Scout and a veteran of the US Army. These institutions demand conformity and obedience, but they also instill discipline, altruism, and determination. Plus, I can whittle a pretty slick Pinewood Derby car.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I’ve traveled the world and stood before its most iconic sights, but right now, my favorite place is inside a blanket and pillow fort reading books with my daughter. Our family has canceled a lot of upcoming travel plans and we are filled with wanderlust. But the silver lining in this pandemic has been a renewed appreciation for all the simple things in life that make it worth living.