Stephen Friedrichs has been selling insurance in Fishers since March 1, but that wasn’t by design. Friedrichs had formerly worked in the hospitality industry, traveling the U.S. as the director of revenue for Marriott Luxury hotels. But he was laid off from that job in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Less than a year later, the Fishers resident has blazed a new career path by opening his own insurance firm — Friedrichs Agency — in Fishers through Farmers Insurance.
“COVID came and my (hotel business) budgets were just decimated,” Friedrichs said. “Nobody was flying anymore. Eighty percent of your rooms were for businesses that travel. On March 23, 2020, that 80 percent dropped to zero percent overnight. Layoffs started to happen. Eventually, I was shown the door, along with many other directors of revenue across the company.”
Friedrichs, 43, stayed in touch with his former bosses at Marriott waiting to see when he could return to work. But the outlook for the third and fourth quarters were bleak. With savings dwindling and a wife and three children to provide for, he decided to explore other employment opportunities.
“I started going down either a mortgage broker or financial adviser path and actually had two options to move forward with,” Friedrichs said. “But then Farmers Insurance called while I was grocery shopping with my kids and said that they had found my resume and thought I might be a good fit as an agency owner.”
Friedrichs was interested, and Farmers Insurance provided him a doorway and brand recognition. The company supported him in finding and renovating an office near city center at 8977 Technology Dr., Suite D, and in hiring a staff. One of his staffers, David Millican, worked with Friedrichs as a client before joining him as a full-time employee at Friedrichs Agency.
“At the end of the day, the only people who like insurance in this room is David and me,” Friedrichs said. “(Clients) don’t care about it. You’re like, ‘I have to work on my insurance, what a nightmare.’ Right? We’re here to make that an easy transition for you so you can just get on with life and give you peace of mind.”