Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

40 Under 40 – Matt Harrell

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Matthew Harrell, Managing Director, received Business Observer's 40 Under 40 Award.

Editor’s note: Matthew Harrell was selected as a 2017 Business Observer 40 Under 40 Award honoree.

Managing Director, Franklin Street Insurance Services

Matt Harrell would like to clear up some misconceptions about insurance, especially the high-stakes, big money variety in which he trades.

“I can’t give you hard statistics, but there’s probably more money that flows in and out of the insurance industry than any other industry,” he says. “The whole concept is that [insurance companies] collect money and hold it for claims that they might have to pay out in the future. But once you’re holding that premium money and don’t have to pay it out, what do you do with it? You invest it into the stock market, real estate market, bonds, etc. And so trillions of dollars are being held in real estate and stocks and if you turn that off it would have a tremendous effect on economy.

Adds Harrell: “There’s a very good reason Warren Buffett is so heavily invested in insurance companies.”

Harrell says he and the team of 10 he manages at Franklin Street Insurance Services deal with companies that routinely pay in excess of $1 million in premiums. So the stakes are high.

“There’s a lot of risk management strategy that has to be taken into consideration,” he says. “You have to be very creative in how you come up with plan structures and in how you transfer risk.”

Harrell, a Florida State grad, says insurance wasn’t his original career track. That would be management information systems. But he thought that would be boring — a surprising word choice for some who instead chose insurance.

“People look at [insurance] like it’s really dry and not very exciting,” he says, “but there’s a lot of high-level, complex work that goes into it, especially at the level where we operate.”

Survey Says

Eat lunch out or at your desk:

at my desk, always. Thanks UberEATS.

Weirdest job you’ve ever had:

Cleaned out an old cigar factory.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with:

Ernest Hemingway, Bill Belichick

One thing you do every day:

Have a glass of red wine.


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