This week in our career spotlights series, we meet a woman who has been in the horse industry for most of her life and uses her
experience in the industry to be great at what she does. Phyllis LaMalfa works as an equine insurance agent for Markel Insurance Company. She was recruited by Markel Insurance because her father and sister both sold insurance for years. Phyllis says that it may not be the most glamorous job in the horse world, but the excitement she gets to see when someone just bought their new horse is all worth it.
Markel Insurance has over 50 years of experience providing coverage for horse owners and horse businesses. The company has been a pioneer in equine insurance and has been a part of many of the equine coverages that are around today. Whether you are searching to insure your horse or your business, Markel probably has it. Phyllis has been an equine insurance agent for the company since 2013 specializing in the Arabian and Working Western Horse areas.
Phyllis has a varied past experiences in a variety of areas. She has been a commercial real estate agent and a co-owner of a tack store called Western Tradition, with which she got to travel to many of the Arabian shows and sell tack.
“Through all of those jobs, my husband and I have been farmers, farming rice and nut crops,” Phyllis said.
Phyllis has been showing and breeding Arabian horses since the 1970s, working at horse shows, and being a 4-H leader. She currently resides in both California and Arizona. Since Phyllis has a background in numerous industries, she also specializes in farm and ranch insurance, and commercial liability.
Phyllis says that equine insurance is unique because it is a specialty. It requires certain insurance agents with the horse knowledge to write up equine insurance. One of the biggest challenges that Phyllis has seen with equine insurance is reaching all the people with her product.
“We need to reach horse people all over the U.S.,” Phyllis said.
If you are interested in becoming an equine insurance agent, Phyllis says the first step is getting your insurance’s license. After you have your license, begin contacting companies that carry equine insurance. Not every insurance provider is going to offer specialized insurance for horses. Therefore, you are not going to be able to work for every insurance company if you want to specialize. Selling equine insurance is a 24/7 job, so Phyllis recommends that you are prepared to be available at any time.
“Just jump in,” Phyllis says, “pass the insurance exam, get with a company, and get out there.”
Our career spotlight series has shown us that there are a variety of jobs available in the equine industry. From being a farm manager all the way to being an insurance agent. No matter what your passion is, the equine industry has a spot for you. Stay tuned for more because we aren’t done exploring all the careers that the equine industry has to offer!