by David Chapman
Matt Carlucci Jr. and Joe Carlucci II have more in common with their father, Matt, and grandfather, Joe, than just their names. They have the business in their blood, too.
The two are following in the footsteps of the path chosen by both their locally well-known grandfather and father and have become third-generation insurance agents — a career they are familiar with from their many years watching their father.
“I kind of always knew I wanted to do insurance,” said Joe II, 20. “I worked with him (father) when I was little ... he always had an answer for people.”
Matt Jr., 24, originally planned to become a lawyer but quickly decided the legal route wasn’t for him. Instead, like Joe II, he took in the knowledge he had from working with his father throughout the years and realized the insurance business was for him as well.
“I really like the way he took care of people,” said Matt Jr. “It inspired me, really. It’s about building relationships, being honest and taking care of people’s needs.”
Unlike their elders, though, they slightly strayed from the path. Instead of becoming State Farm Insurance agents, they instead are two of the 20 or so agents who operate under the Brightway Insurance umbrella.
“State Farm is a great company,” said Matt Jr. “Originally, we wanted to be with them, but for now we feel like Brightway is a better option for us ... David and Michael Miller (CEO and COO, respectively, of Brightway Insurance) are great.”
The ability to write any type of insurance policy, coupled with Brightway’s service center that allows the two to concentrate on clients needs instead of policy housekeeping duties, attracted them to the Jacksonville-based company.
“It (service center) takes a load off of us on certain things, but at the same time we’re loaded down anyway,” said Matt Jr., laughing.
They’ve set up shop at their father’s old location at 3621 Hendricks Ave., but Matt Sr. didn’t move too far away — he’s a block away at 3707 Hendricks Ave.
To some, the proximity and different companies might foster the idea of butting heads over clients, but the boys chuckle at the idea.
“There’s not that much of a competition,” said Joe II. “Many times people come in or call us because of the name ... they’ve (grandfather and father) made it a great name for the business.”
It’s the name and practice they both want to emulate. Both recalled stories of the client loyalty they’d heard about their grandfather and seen with their father. Joe Carlucci personally met with every client who had a claim following Hurricane Dora in 1964 — more than 100 in the span of a couple days.
Over the years, the two have helped their father arrange appointments for two hectic days of meetings for client claims following numerous tropical storms that have swept through the area. Each time, they remember how Matt Sr. never said an ill word and helped each client to the fullest of his capacity.
“I know it sounds cliché,” began Matt Jr., “but it’s not just about selling policies .... it’s about building a relationship with people and really helping them meet their needs.”
If there’s one area the younger Carluccis differ from with their father and grandfather — at least for now — it’s politics. Joe Carlucci held positions in both the Florida Senate and City Council, while Matt Sr. is a former Council president and mayoral candidate.
“Nah, I really doubt it,” said Joe II, followed by a laugh. “It’s not for me.”
Matt Jr. was a political science major at the University of North Florida and admitted to getting the “political bug” in terms of following political news coverage, especially around election times, but he has more important things on his mind.
“I don’t think so,” he said, before noting his recent marriage. “It’s more important for me to be a husband, one day a father and successful businessman.”
Whatever they do, their father couldn’t be prouder of their decisions.
“As a father, what pleases me the most is that they have the same set of values, which is important,” said Matt Sr.
When his two boys told him they wanted to go into business together and in the same career path their father and grandfather walked, he was happy. But, he also offered a little advice.
“I told them it wasn’t going to be easy and it was going to be hard work,” said Matt Sr. “I told them they had to be there for their clients whenever they needed to be and to build those relationships that last.”
He’s proud of them for the way they turned out, but he’s just as optimistic about their future in the business.
“I think they’ll be great.”