She started selling insurance with no marketing budget, $10 worth of business cards and a door-to-door approach back in 2002. Today, Maria Karlsson, president and broker, not only celebrates the 15th anniversary of her successful company, the Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Superyacht Insurance Group, but also the launch of her company’s excusive crew medical plan called the ‘Global Mariner’, together with Azimuth Rick Solutions.
“After having worked for the Florida Powerboat Club for several years, I wanted to focus more on sales and marketing,” says Karlsson. “I saw an ad in the paper asking for ‘insurance sales agents’ and I went to the meeting to hear what it was all about.”
The position didn’t turn out to be what Karlsson had hoped, yet it her was interest and aptitude for the insurance industry that led her to start her own firm. She began selling U.S. domestic health insurance plans for individual and groups and soon progressed into international insurance with a focus on the yachting industry. Karlsson says her proudest accomplishment to date is the new crew medical plan with Azimuth, a managing agency for certain underwriters at Lloyd’s.
“The plan is specifically designed for crew and it covers them while working, during time off and when in between jobs. It’s a simple plan design explained in a two-page brochure that will not overwhelm busy crew. It also has a ‘one price for all’ structure, meaning it’s the same price whether you’re a 50-year-old captain or a 20-year-old stewardess. This is unheard of, but keeps things simple,” she explains.
Karlsson has another anniversary to celebrate this year. That is, 10 years since first dating and five years of marriage to husband Steve. The two met in the line of work when Steve captained a yacht that Karlsson provided the crew medical insurance.
“Steve takes great part in the firm and acts like a consultant since he has 30 years of first-hand experience in yachting,” she says.