RISK ROUNDUP—As a way of introduction, I am Walter Haney, Sr. I began my work life as a six-year-old on a row crop farm in Lamar County, Alabama, picking up sticks and stalks and plowing off seed beds.
Seventy-nine years later, I live 14 miles up the road in Hamilton, Alabama, and now work as a Consulting Risk Manager over five states.
The row crop farm belonged to my daddy and the year of initial employment was 1940. This last stage of employment began more than 40 years ago and the employer’s name is American Risk Managers, Inc.
My Real Life Begins
In the meantime, my life has been varied, and to me, very meaningful. The two most meaningful incidents occurred at Sulligent High School in 1952 — my senior year. Two ladies entered my life; one for a very short time and leaving a lifelong influence, and one for a very long time.
The first was a lady missionary who preached the word of God to us and then gave an altar call. I went forward and claimed a New Testament and the soul salvation that Jesus game me.
Shortly thereafter, I saw the prettiest blonde-haired girl I had ever seen. Let me correct this statement, she was the prettiest girl I have EVER seen.
A Wife For The Ages.
Sue & Walter Look Into The Future.
She and I were married four years later. In that four years, she completed school and I became a member of the Army Security Agency, an elite Army unit, until it became entangled in Pentagon politics.
Out of the military and with a new wife to support, I spent a year in college and then a year in direct insurance sales. We then had the opportunity to move to Hamilton to manage a county newspaper.
Oscar Roden was desperate for a managing editor for the Marion County News. He remembered I had interned the summer after high school at the Progressive Farmer. He hired me, took me to Hamilton, gave me a key and told me I was in charge of a two-person staff.
“I told him I would stay a year, but I was leaving at that time. Well, Hamilton kinda grows on you.”
We stayed that year and then another at the newspaper.
I knew how to write mainline news, sports and obituaries. However, weddings and showers were foreign to me. Due to the mothers and brides calling, I found out the second week — just get the stories from back issues and substitute current names. They all looked alike. Case solved.
Family Grows & Career Path Changes
Deborah was born in the beginning and Wally came two years later and it became apparent we were fast moving our needs past our earnings capabilities. After two years, I began a career in retail insurance. We stayed in this for seventeen years. But something seemed to be missing.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that I ought to be helping business people with their insurance buying. This spawned a new segment of my career path. The path of a Consulting Risk Manager, which still to this day leads me throughout the same path.
“People change. Companies change. But the one constant that remains is the need of business people to understand their insurance coverage and the proper pricing.”
I understand this, because even as an agent, I just needed a price that would sell, and often without the client’s complete knowledge of the product.
As a Risk Manager, I have had to learn both these principals (coverage and pricing) and how they are to be applied to a multitude of business types, sizes, locations and prevalent threats. All of which have a direct bearing on your client.
You have to get the scheme of coverage and the pricing right for the possible anticipated peril. Performed correctly, the coverage will be there and your premium will be 25% to 35% lower. And the turmoil usually associated with property and casualty insurance will certainly be dimmed or obliterated.
Mr. Walter Shares His Risk Managment Knowledge On His Company’s Risk Resources Blog.
I had always wanted to sit and advise the buyer in his decision making. I always thought — just as a company needs an outside accounting firm and a legal firm — they needed someone to help them survey, structure and purchase one of their big ticket items.
The coverage has to be there and the pricing has to be more than competitive. I always felt that the commercial buyer was at a decided disadvantage, simply because he didn’t know coverage or pricing.
With this in mind, we jumped into the Consulting Risk Management Business. Our goal was to furnish the buyer with an informed opinion on which product best fit his need. To make it a fair decision, neither American Risk Managers nor myself could have pecuniary in the advising or purchasing decision.
During 40-plus years, we have worked for utility companies, contractors, material supply firms, trucking operations, manufacturers, hospitals and senior day care centers, saving them all an average of 25% to 35%.
105 Wins In 13 Years
So, in my early life, I had dreamed of writing and coaching. The Lord gave me a way into coaching when the high school coach asked me to take the 12-and-under Hamilton Aggies Football Team.
We played throughout the southeast for a period of 13 years and won 105 games, lost 7 and tied 5. We played teams such as the Birmingham Toy Bowlers, Nashville Junior Pro Champs, and the Columbus Air Force Base Team. We were an annual visitor to the Huntsville Turkey Classic Playoffs.
“The Lord has been good to Sue and me. We have the two we started with and added a great daughter-in-law and a great son-in-law. From these unions, we have been given 6 grandchildren — all girls; four of whom are married, and 8 great-grandchildren.”
Part Of The Haney Clan Is Shown With Coach Walter “Red” Haney When He Was Honored As The “Father Of Hamilton Little League Football” At Hamilton’s Sargent Stadium In 2018.
The Lord has also let us work in a field we truly love for more than 40 years. None of this would have been possible without the direction and blessing of God and that blonde I first saw 67 years ago in Sulligent. I can only stand in awe and say, “Thank you, Father.”
The Love Story Continues…
You Can Learn More About Mr. Walter Here.
(Photo Credits: Ms. Sue’s Senior Portrait – Olan Mills; Ms. Sue & Mr. Walter Looking At Engagement Ring – Courtesy/Haney Family; The Haney’s At Home In Hamilton And The Love Story Continues – Courtesy/Hamilton United Methodist Church; Haney Clan On Football Field – Courtesy/Ginger Avery & The Journal Record.)