The new president of the Young Insurance Professionals got into the insurance business a little more than 15 years ago because of Hurricane Katrina.

At the time Hurricane Katrina came ashore, Eric Vocke was working as a sales representative for a company that sold institutional furnishings, such as shelving, technical furniture, desks and tables, and he did space planning. The company’s niche market was libraries. Vocke’s territory was Louisiana, so when Katrina hit, his world was pretty much turned upside down, and he started looking around for something else to do. Vocke’s brother was a friend of Mike Worley, who headed up the catastrophe adjusting firm bearing his name, so the Vocke brothers decided to attend a Worley training event, get certified and see about going to work.

A native of Metairie, Vocke thought he’d be working Hurricane Katrina claims since it was 2006, but Hurricane Rita made landfall in southwest Louisiana a month after Katrina hit the southeastern part of the state, and Vocke was sent to handle Rita claims on behalf of State Farm.

Vocke was hooked. He liked adjusting claims and believes he was good at it. Vocke stayed with Worley Companies until 2009 when he and a friend decided to open an independent agency. In 2009, they opened Capstone Insurance Agency, where Vocke serves as president.

He was installed as president of YIPs Feb. 4 at the Annual Winter Conference held at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center during the annual membership meeting. Vocke has served on the YIPs board since 2017.

In addition to being active with YIPs, Vocke is a past president of PIA of New Orleans, and started serving on the board in 2014.

Early on after they opened the agency, Vocke and his partner decided to join PIA. Since the agency was new, Vocke explained, he and his business partner had no mentors, no father, grandfather or uncle, in the business to guide them in making business decisions. He gathered information about PIA online and decided to attend a meeting. “I could tell it was a great group. They were close knit,” he told the Reporter in a 2019 interview. He feels the same about YIPs.

Vocke believes the decision to join PIA has been good for the agency, providing “education and networking for the betterment of the agency.”

In addition to being active with PIA and YIPs, he served his community as a board member and vice president of the Men’s Club at the school his children attend, and he coached his children’s swim team at a local country club.

Vocke is a certified claims adjuster and licensed property/casualty producer. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from St. Edwards University in Austin. He explains the biology major by saying his father was an oral surgeon, so Vocke thought about entering the medical field, but his career took a different path.

Vocke succeeds Ryan Page, Page and Sons Insurance Agency, Houma, who remains on the YIPs board of directors.

Vocke’s primary goal as YIPs president is to build on the success of previous leadership. Again this year, YIPs is planning to host a Casino Night the day before PIA of Acadiana’s Annual Crawfish Boil, the YIPs Bowl-a-Thon in the fall, and the YIPs Day at the Races in December. A charity has not been selected for this year, but Vocke is thinking about choosing Bridge House as the recipient of the proceeds from the charity event.

In addition, Vocke would like to do more to get young people interested in the insurance industry. “I would like to reach out to high school students and let them know about the various job opportunities available in the insurance industry that do not require going to college,” Vocke told the Reporter. “I think it would be helpful to get in front of the younger generation and let them know that there are jobs in the insurance industry other than pushing paper,” Vocke added.

When asked by the Reporter what he thought was the biggest challenge facing agents in Louisiana, he said, “property markets.” He added, “Property markets are few and far between.” He thinks the best thing for the property market in Louisiana has been Citizens’ new property policy. Vocke told the Reporter, “It saved our agency because we had numerous policies that were non-renewed and had storm damage, some had major damage. We had nowhere else to place those policies.” Vocke said, “In addition to the property market problem, flood insurance is a big unknown.”

Officers installed along with Vocke are Victoria Matherne, Acosta Insurance Agency, St. Amant, president-elect, and, Jason DiMaggio, SageSure Insurance Managers, Slidell, secretary/treasurer.

Board members installed were Baylie Babin, Imperial PFS, Metairie; Jared Denais, Renew Insurance and Financial Services, Lafayette; Mary Dias D’Antonio, Dan Burghardt Insurance, Metairie; Nick Farley, Ann Sagona Insurance Agency, Metairie; Britt Grieme, Amwins Access, New Orleans; Chad Harrington, Hull and Company, Metairie; Sara McConnell, Spears Insurance, Franklinton, and Jessica Miller, Powell and Associates, Hammond.