HSI Instructor Tom Kopacz
Tom Kopacz teaches a variety of Property and Casualty programs at Hartford School of Insurance (HSI), including Commercial Lines CSR/Account Manager School, Commercial Lines Producer School and Small Business Coverage Specialist Program, both in a classroom and virtual setting.
Kopacz joined The Hartford as a Small Commercial Sales Representative in 2003, and joined HSI as an instructor in 2007. With 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, Kopacz draws on a deep reservoir of knowledge about many facets of the industry. After graduating from Youngstown State College, he began his insurance career in 1978 at Continental Insurance Company and worked there for 16 years. He then worked in an agency prior to joining St Paul/USF&G, where he would work for 8 years before joining The Hartford.
His diversified experience has assisted him in his current role, from an underwriting, sales and management background to working in an agency as a commercial lines manager where he managed CSRs and worked with producers. The 18 months he spent working in an insurance agency is something that he finds particularly beneficial to his current role.
“I look back on the experience and it really helps me relate to CSRs and producers within the agencies,” said Kopacz. “I can say ‘I’ve been in your shoes.’”
Identifying Those Gaps
During his courses, one of the primary themes Kopacz reiterates is honing in on coverage gaps. And in order to identify gaps in your customer’s current coverage, you have to know the right questions to ask.
“Asking the right questions enables you to identify where your insured is not covered,” said Kopacz. “Then you can offer them a solution and provide the option of purchasing coverage for something they aren’t currently covered for.”
Students not only leave the HSI programs armed with an array of knowledge to help them identify coverage gaps, however, but also the confidence to discuss options with their customers.
“It’s very encouraging when someone gives you that “Aha!” moment,” said Kopacz. “Especially for people that have been in another business line, such as personal or commercial, it makes them feel that much more comfortable talking to a customer.”
Kopacz’ s extensive underwriting, sales and marketing experience in Property and Casualty Insurance, from commercial lines to managing people in personal lines, enables him to provide his students with real life examples that they can in turn use in their day-to-day work.
Graduates Landing Large Accounts
Kopacz encourages his students to stay in touch after the course is over, and many take him up on the offer.
“Typically when I hear from a student it can be a question on coverage or something,” said Kopacz. “Or it can be if they land a large account or pick up an account because of something they learned during the training.”
When the material discussed in HSI classes leads to a sale, it’s especially satisfying for him.
“From the types of coverage to what the forms will and won’t provide, it creates an opportunity for you,” said Kopacz. “It’s great to see something they learned in the class translate to success in their jobs.”
Outside of insurance, one of his passions is BBQ. He really enjoys cooking and will "grill anything;" he also loves using his grill for smoking ribs or chicken. His go-to dish is spaghetti, complete with homemade sauce and meatballs, and he jokes with his kids that it’s his world famous recipe.