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Houston County Living

The Agent that Cares

May 26, 2020 10:34AM ● By Alexa Tebben
 
     I’ve never been excited to talk about insurance until I had a conversation with Bobby Ryals. With a passion for his work and a heart for his customers, Bobby makes what is usually an overwhelming discussion about your insurance seem like a pleasant afternoon chat. With 20 years of experience in the field, he is well equipped to inform you of your options and help guide you through each decision. “Unfortunately, a lot of people in today’s time find out what their insurance does for them after the fact,” Bobby says. “The general public is not well versed on insurance –they know they have got to have it, the state requires them to have it... that’s about all they know. It’s really satisfying when you’re able to help somebody and they say, ‘Nobody has ever explained that to me.’” However, it is not just his work ethic that sets him apart from other insurance agents. His unique life experience have shaped the way he lives and works, driving his passion to help each person he encounters. 
     Bobby grew up in South Georgia where sports played an active role in his young life. He played football and baseball in high school before continuing baseball in college. At 19-years-old with a promising athletic career ahead of him, he was involved in a car accident that left him instantly paralyzed. “My accident was the best and worst thing that could have happened to me,” says Bobby. He explains that having his talent for sports suddenly ripped from his grasp was devastating, but says, “Being 19 and truly understanding how fragile life is and knowing that I should have died, the fact that I’m 43 and I’m still here is icing on the cake.” Bobby is quick to tell you it is his trust in the Lord that enabled him through this trying time. “Faith is something that builds because of these moments where we can’t rely on ourselves anymore and we have to rely on Him –and He proves Himself over and over again.” It’s a beautiful reminder of how perspective, when coupled with faith, can alter your attitude about your circumstances. 

      After his accident, Bobby was determined to find a fulfilling career path that he would love just as much as sports. With the encouragement of friends in the insurance business, he took a licensing class that he describes as incredibly challenging. However, despite having no prior knowledge of the business, he knew he could learn anything and was determined to try. At the end of the course, Bobby was one of two out of the entire class that passed the certification exam on their first try. Qualified and eager, he stepped into the insurance field confident about the road ahead. After eight years in insurance, he took a break to work as a senior account manager with Dell in Nashville, Tennessee. Bobby speaks of his time in Nashville with fondness. However, like many people around 2008, he was greatly affected by the financial crisis that hit the economy. He faced the same struggles that many of his peers, along with the rest of the country experienced. It was a difficult time that led to his move back home to Georgia where the familiar world of insurance welcomed his return. Although not every day on the job was as fun as a baseball game, he decided to use his work as an opportunity to impact the lives of each person he came across. “It’s not really about insurance,” he says. “It’s about being able to help people. That’s what I like to do."

     
 Like most of us, Bobby wants to make a difference in the world and fears reaching the finish line of life with nothing to show for it. After spending the afternoon in his office, I can attest that he truly leaves his mark on this world. He has a heart for helping people and enjoys developing relationships with his customers. Bobby likes sitting down face-to-face with his customers, lending a listening ear and a sincere interest in their lives. During our interview, a customer walked into the office and I got to witness the interaction first-hand. Bobby greeted the customer by name, warmly invited him into his office and took care of business while making inquiries about the man’s dog. The entire exchange felt like a friendly visit rather than a business encounter. When the customer left, Bobby admitted he enjoys the personal interactions more than the insurance work itself. “That’s one thing that keeps me doing it: you get the opportunity to talk to them, to know them. When they go through heart breaks, you go through them right along with them. But it’s cool to see the other side when things go well for them and you get to share in that too.” He is a natural at building rapport with his customers, and they leave his office knowing he genuinely cares for their happiness and well-being. 
 
 
    Bobby has an infectious spirit and an approach to life that causes you to see your own struggles as opportunities to help and impact others. No matter what trials life throws our way, Bobby believes in using one’s struggles to glorify God. He strongly believes that the talents we have are not for our own use but rather gifts from God to be used for the good of others. “Every job has the potential to be a mission field,” he says. “We were created to be His [God’s] instruments. If we allow Him to use us, He will take us to amazing places.” The Lord has used Bobby as a light to touch the lives of people throughout his insurance career, and it’s clear after one conversation with him that he lives to be the hands and feet of God. His perspective reaches far beyond daily struggles, transcending to the overall purpose and meaning of our time on this earth.  Bobby recognizes when things do not matter in the grand scheme of things and can value and cherish the things that do. He holds his family in high regard, deeply caring for both his wife and eight-year-old stepdaughter. When telling me of his family, Bobby spoke with adoration for his loved ones saying he is blessed with the people in his life. “I am a family man,” Bobby says proudly, “trying to make a living, trying to take care of my family. I have the same concerns that [my customers] do. I am the same guy that they are, and I truly want to help people. I genuinely do.” I’ve never been more convinced of someone’s deep-seated desire to help others. You can be assured that Bobby will go above and beyond when taking care of his customers, because he sincerely cares for each one of them.
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