INCLINE VILLLAGE, Nev. — Mike Menath taught his son Scott everything he knows; Scott Menath teaches his father everything he learns. Their relationship stretches from beyond family to a work relationship, and to a friendship.
“He taught me how to fish and hunt,” Scott said. “He’s taught me the insurance basics, but more than that the dedication to hard work and not giving up on clients.”
Last year, Scott joined his father, Mike, and his mother, Lisa, at Menath Insurance after years of working in the industry all over the country. Scott wanted to bring a new perspective to his father’s business. He said it was always a goal to come back to Incline.
“Scott has a real passion for people and helping them solve their insurance problems,” Mike said. “He has a real entrepreneurial spirit.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY
It wasn’t long after marrying Scott that Ashley joined the family business. When she reached an apex in her career in the hotel industry, Ashley said she was up for a new challenge. Being part of Menath Insurance also means she isn’t too left out of the family conversations.
The Menaths work hard not to talk about work at home, but family gatherings sometimes lead to business talk.
“We really try not to,” Mike said. “But because it’s inevitably on all of our minds, it happens.”
Ashley remembers car trips or family dinners when Mike, Lisa and Scott constantly spoke industry jargon.
“The rest of the family was always talking insurance,” she said with a laugh. “It’s great to be involved and now know the conversation.”
Ashley’s computer skills were welcomed by Lisa, who said Ashley “has been a lifesaver” since coming to work at Menath Insurance.
“She is so sharp with computers and technology,” Lisa said of her daughter-in-law. “She has stepped right in and done a tremendous amount of work.”
TEACHING EACH OTHER
The ins and outs of the insurance business and the experience of working with clients is passed down from Mike and Lisa to their children. Internet and emails, and the importance of technology is passed up to the parents.
“Technology has changed our business,” Scott said. “Everything is on a computer now, the mobility of our business allows us to do business anywhere.”
Because of technology, Menath Insurance now has clients all over the United States.
Mike and Lisa’s experience combined with Scott and Ashley’s knowledge of technology, allows Menath Insurance to have the best of both worlds. Mike is thankful for the up-to-date knowledge but admits that his son “brought (them) kicking and screaming into it.”
Scott jokes with his mother about her dated ideas of technology. “Mom, carbon papers are outdated!” he said with a laugh.
ROOTED IN VALUES
Although stepping into the age of computers, Menath Insurance still values the old way of doing things.
Thirty-two years ago, Menath Insurance began in Incline with Lisa making cold calls in the evenings and Mike doing the daily footwork.
“I went door to door during the days, jumping over snow banks and running from dogs,” Mike said.
The Menaths attribute their business’s success to their value in personal relationships with clients. One-on-one conversations with each and every client has always been important.
“Technology is great for processing but the best business is still done face to face,” Scott said.
Really getting to know a client allows the agents to know which coverage is best and also where gaps in coverage may lie, Ashley said.
Her mother-in-law is known for “spending hours on the phone just making sure our clients are taken care of. Lisa will stay here all night if she has to take care of a client. It’s not just a business to her,” Ashley said.
The personal relationships Lisa and Mike have formed with clients and employees in 32 years isn’t something that will ever be easy to give up. The couple have no plans of retiring and joke that it would be nearly impossible to do so.
“I can see myself coming in to say hi to everyone at 95 years old,” Lisa said. “I can’t see myself retiring.”
And although Scott said he is learning the business and putting his “nose to the grindstone and proving (he is) capable,” Mike has no plans of retiring either. He is thankful for the community that has allowed him to grow a business, raise a family, and give back.
“Incline’s a special place to raise kids,” he said. “The closeness of the families and the ability for involvement is great.”
Working together as a family is something the Menaths never take for granted.
“It’s great to see the talent,” Lisa said. “When you use it and all use it together you see how great it can be. Family is so important.”
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Technology is great for processing but the best business is still done face to face.”