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Up close and personal: an Agent in Paris

Read time: 3 min

'No two days – or customers – are alike'

Anthony Haddad has been an AXA agent in the Eastern suburbs of Paris for ten years now. He is proud of what he does but is frequently surprised at the misconceptions others have of what his job entails.

Anthony runs his two agencies in the Eastern outskirts of Paris with his team of ten – half of which are women. He serves around 7,500 customers and manages over 13,000 contracts.

There are two things he enjoys most about his job. First there is the variety. With a pretty balanced portfolio of SME insurance and life and health insurance, no two days – or customers – are alike.

This variety brings him in contact with people from all walks of life, be they shopkeepers, florists, hairdressers, restaurant owners, real estate agents, dentists or lawyers. Some are locals and some are from further afield to whom he has been recommended.

Anthony Haddad stands proudly in front of the portrait of his dad.

“On the commercial-lines side, we arethe link between the customer, the claims inspector, the management services, and especially, when it comes to a major claim such as a fire, providing a customised service to help an SME get back on its feet. In these cases our service must be flawless.”

And to all these different profiles, he can rely on not only his knowledge of the offerings or on the backing of AXA France’s vast array of products and services, but also on the decades-worth of experience he gleaned working alongside his dad, Bernard Haddad.

“I have utmost admiration for my dad who was a general agent for more than 40 years. We worked together for 10 years, and I learnt alongside him. He transmitted his passion to me, to truly accompany our policyholders in the long term. This is something that I strive to do, and I can tell you: it works.”

An AXA agent serving the community

Which brings us to the second aspect that keeps Anthony loving his job: proximity. And as far as he is concerned, the key to being a successful agent is being close to your customers. A policyholder must feel they are accompanied, be they taking out their first insurance policy or are multi-generational customers. Which means taking the time in his schedule, two or three times a month, to visit them to say hello, go over the details of a policy, or simply reaching out to keep in touch.

“We can be proud of what we do. Nobody knows our customers better than we do and that is what makes a difference, on a daily basis.”

Indeed, between selling a policy and accompanying a customer there is a gap. And what distinguishes the perception many have of Anthony’s job and the reality is disclosure: being open and honest with the customers. Deserving their trust.

It is that kind of personal involvement that brings Anthony the satisfaction of having an added value.

“Premiums always seem expensive until you benefit from the coverage. My job is to provide advice. A service. We think of the unexpected and provide reassurance and sustainability of one’s life.”

Like the time he helped a family he covered whose son had, following an accident whilst on holiday, ended up paraplegic. They were a modest-income family and had been clients of his for over 15 years. The father had bought an accident and sickness policy.

This enabled Anthony to accompany the family, supporting them and adapting the home for wheelchair use.

“I have a real role to play in the difficult times. That is an essential part of my job. And it makes a huge difference in someone’s life.”