Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Dave Moore protected quarterbacks for 15 years, but now he protects homeowners and business from hurricanes, floods and fires.
He opened Moore Resources in 2008 and writes commercial and personal insurance coverage through national carriers. The company, on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, has five employees and writes about 300 new policies a year.
Moore acknowledged that very few people know that he owns and operates an insurance agency.
"If I didn't do the radio work, many people wouldn't even know me," he said. "It's all word of mouth."
Even before Moore played his last down in the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl, he had started his new career. During the 2006 season, he helped small businesses find cheaper insurance protection and payroll services. He targeted blue-collar fields like the construction industry with its mom-and-pop shops.
"Every blue-collar guy in America is a football fan," he said.
Moore, who played a franchise-record 13 seasons with the Bucs during a 15-year career, works 40 to 50 hours a week at the firm. On the weekends, he's the color analyst on the Buccaneers Radio Network alongside Gene Deckerhoff.
Being undersized and wanting to prolong his NFL career, Moore, 42, studied techniques to anticipate what would happen on the field. Those skills prepared him for the business world.
"I am a student of the game," he said. "I ask a lot of questions. I talk to a lot of people. I am not afraid to use as many resources that are out there."
Moore, who has lived in St. Petersburg since 1995, advertises the business on Facebook and when he talks on some radio shows — but not during the games. The former University of Pittsburgh Panther is also a part owner of the Island Way Grill in Clearwater.
Moore told the Times about his transition from the football field to the insurance industry.
What's harder? Writing a homeowner's policy in Pinellas County or catching a pass between two linebackers.
There is nothing easy about either of them; tough to compare. They are both tough in very different ways. Catching a pass between two linebackers is extremely challenging physically, but it is predictable. When I would get up to the line of scrimmage, I could see where the defense would line up and predict the coverage by the players' alignments and body language. In the end, you are always going to be pounded by both linebackers.
A homeowners policy in Pinellas County is not as predictable. Quite the opposite. More often than not, it becomes mentally exhausting. The standard carriers in Florida will write the policy for one home and reject the house across the street. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. Then if you do get the home written, they are commonly nonrenewed the following year.
You use the term "blue collar" a lot in conversation. Why?
I did grow up in a blue-collar atmosphere. I was in a home where I watched my father get up early and go to work every day. Nothing in life comes easy. You have to be willing to put in your time and work hard for it. I was raised that way, and I was also that type of football player. Things were not handed to me, I had to earn everything.
I treat the insurance agency the same way. We give the best effort we can to our clients. We seem to gravitate toward the working-class people. They are the people that appreciate what we do most. Insurance is not always the most popular thing to deal with. But we all need to have it. We do our best to explain coverage and find the best rates available to solve their problems. I think they appreciate what we do.
What's the biggest challenge in selling insurance?
Our location is the biggest challenge and the age of the dwellings. If I was a State Farm Insurance guy in Virginia, life would be a lot easier.
You have a degree in the administration of justice. What were your career plans?
If I couldn't play in the NFL, I wanted to go into federal law enforcement. I interviewed with the Secret Service and took the test with the U.S. Marshals. What I really wanted to do was work for the Drug Enforcement Administration, but I was too old when I retired. I am a guy who always had a Plan B. I wasn't even on the depth chart when I got to college. I was told I'd never get drafted in the NFL. Then (former Bucs' coach Sam Wyche) told me I'd be a full-time backup and special-teams player. Well, I ended up starting 100 games. I am one of those guys who finds a way to get it done.
Thousands of Bucs fans hear you on the radio each week. Why not tout your business to land more insurance customers?
I am not ready for that yet but might consider doing it next season. I have had the opportunity to grow slower. The same reason that customers come is the same reason that they will leave. We spend a lot of time talking about the need to provide good service. (The NFL connection) gets me in the door and is a good conversation starter. I am not comfortable doing self-promotion.
The fact that I played football, from an insurance carrier standpoint, people have been more willing to help me. I've been able to determine how my career is going to go. Your reputation is attached to the people who work with you.
Why don't you advertise at all?
I don't want to invite more than I need. I wrote every policy myself when I started. I did it debt free and didn't go out and dig a big hole. There's different business philosophies out there. It made sense to grow gradually. The majority of business comes from referrals. It makes better business and is an easier sell. If I start cold calling, it's time consuming.
When referrals come in, it's your business to have as long as you do it right. I don't want to drop the ball. I am not afraid to tell a customer that I can't give them the best rate. All I ask, is they keep me in mind when they look again. I've never lost a client because of bad service.
Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459.