Gene Nussbaum and Peter Joniec are the founders of The Jonus Group. Based in the Mid-Atlantic region, The Jonus Group specializes in recruiting for the insurance industry, connecting carriers, agencies, brokers, wholesalers, and other kinds of insurance companies with qualified, motivated candidates when they need them. Gene is seasoned insurance and recruiting expert with close to 30 years in the industry. Peter is United States Navy veteran who began his career as an insurance recruiter in 2007. The company’s name is a portmanteau of the two men’s last names.
EDWIN WARFIELD: Tell us about your backgrounds.
GENE NUSSBAUM: I’ve been in the recruiting business for about 28 years. I spent 21 years with my first organization, left there to start an insurance recruiting practice at a new organization, met Pete at that particular place, and felt that we had a way of doing things better for the insurance industry, and moved on to create the Jonus Group in July of 2012.
It’s interesting, because I was in public accounting and wanted to get out of that and place my accounting friends, but the shop that I joined said, “We really have one desk and that’s for insurance,” so I got kind of put into that by default. But Pete went to school for insurance.
PETER JONIEC: Yeah, I went to Temple for risk management, and that was my introduction to insurance and risk management at that point. And then I was doing a recruiting role, which was engineering/manufacturing, and essentially we took any job that would come in the door at my first recruiting firm. I had to become a little more specialized, so I started looking for roles as an insurance recruiter and I happen to come across one at the shop that Gene was at. I went in interviewed, one thing lead to another, and went from there.
Q. How has the company grown since then?
GENE NUSSBAUM: We started with just the two of us in some shared space. We wanted to make sure that the business was viable. A year later, we moved into space here in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and hired our first employee. We actually started in 1500 square feet, and kept hiring people, and it was kind of funny to watch because people were just bursting out of the space. We got lucky and there was some space opening up next door to us—4500 square feet—that we were able to move into, and we grew to about 30 people over there. And then, just by chance, we took more space just recently—maybe three months ago—across the hall, so now we’re in 10,000 square feet and up to about 40 people right now.
Q. Do you work with a particular kind of insurance broker?
GENE NUSSBAUM: We’ll work with the small broker that has five people; we’ll work with the largest brokers in the nation that have tens of thousands of people—multi-offices, multinational offices. We’re not so much focused on what type of insurance broker, but more the type of person that they’re looking to hire: either the person servicing your account or the person selling your account.
Connect with Peter and Gene on LinkedIn