Insurance Entrepreneur Dan Garzella’s Committed to Fostering Professional Growth of his Employees

Dan Garzella is a renowned US-based insurance entrepreneur and owner of The Garzella Group. Famed for offering premier personal and business insurance services, Dan underscores that perseverance, persistence, and commitment to growth of his employees pushes him forward.

Dan Garzella, an acclaimed insurance entrepreneur and business owner overcame a series of hardships before climbing to the top of the ladder in the insurance industry. When he graduated from the Central Michigan University, he followed his friends to the Grand Canyon State and was unemployed with minimal financial resources to build his career.

“I figured that I could work as a server when I got there,” says Garzella. “I went to at least 50 bars and restaurants before I was hired, only to find the place shut down on my first day of work. I had to take one of the first jobs I could get, which came from a recruiter at Farmers Insurance.”

Encouraged by his father and mentor to pursue the life of a scratch agent, Garzella accepted the offer, obtained his insurance license, and was provided a list of leads for selling home and auto insurance. Ten years later, he emerged among the top five agents country-wide at Farmers Insurance. 

“Perseverance, persistence, and a commitment to the growth and success of others drive me forward,” Garzella underscored. “I look at every challenge as an opportunity and apply that mindset to my mentorship. I get a lot of intrinsic value out of seeing someone succeed after walking them through a step-by-step process.”

Harnessing the experience and skills he honed at Farmers Insurance, Dan Garzella launched a new brokerage to better serve clients and provide employees with ample growth opportunities. In his words, starting from scratch was intimidating but rewarding:

“Starting over was daunting, but I found opportunities in the risk,” Garzella said. “I wanted to make good on the commitments that I made with the team that led to my success and I knew we could do more. So I sold the Farmers agency and used the money plus a business loan to pay the salaries of my employees and worked seven days a week for 18 months before I felt I had a foundation secure enough to build on.”

Since 2014, the brokerage has grown from an idea to handling $62 million in premium  organically, leveraging cutting edge technology developed to overcome industry hurdles for customers, employees, and partners. 

“I wanted consumers to have options with their insurance rather than defaulting to a one-size-fits-all solution,” Dan exclaimed. “As independent agents, we can provide consumers with a multitude of options without a scale that caps us. This offers the highest level of creativity for a business owner and increases our ability to solve problems with creative solutions.”

As Garzella Group agents continued to succeed and grow, many considered starting brokerages of their own. Rather than turn them away, Garzella wanted to help them by sharing the platform and expertise that made his brokerage successful, and in doing so launched Darkhorse Insurance Brokers in 2023.

“I started Darkhorse for people in the same place I was 10 years ago, moving from the captive to the independent world,” Garzella said. “It was initially created for agents who had worked with me and were looking to start something for themselves. I figured “Why have them leave when I can build a vehicle to help them create their own companies?”

Beyond providing a stable foundation for up-and-coming insurance agencies, Darkhorse helps entrepreneurs customize their business plans and strategies to determine goals and interests and then matches them with subject matter experts to provide one-on-one mentorship and insight. 

“The plethora of expertise and experience that our subject matter experts bring allows people to build an agency based off of what they like and are interested in,” says Garzella. 

In two decades since venturing as a greenhorn insurance agent, Garzella has founded four companies, including Avalon Risk Management, a proprietary product for commercial real estate developed to boost both NOI and ROI. Like Darkhorse, Avalon was built as a solution to a challenge he faced with The Garzella Group and desired to expand his services to cater to the needs of customers and ambitions of employees. 

“At its forefront, insurance is peace of mind. It’s support at a time when you need it the most,” Garzella concluded. “I want to provide that same support for my team. I’m proud of opportunities we’ve created. Every time an employee buys their first house, a car, or anything that improves their life, I know that I helped them.”

Dan Garzella also created LowerMyDTI, a solution for consumers who are unable to close their dream house and Insurance Accountants, which provides accounting services tailored to the needs of any agency.

“We work with lenders, real estate agents, and consumers to lower the debt-to-income ratio with reductions in the insurance premium to allow a deal to underwrite better, in turn, helping consumers get their home.”

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Company Name: The Garzella Group
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