Star Power

Bryan Krupin '94 may manage insurance and wealth transfer planning for the glitterati of Beverly Hills, but he brought the tenets of good business with him from the East Coast. More specifically, Krupin attributes Roanoke College and his sociology degree to giving him "exceptional communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and creative thinking, all in a very nurturing environment with peers and teachers who honestly care."

Krupin's father, Michael J. Krupin - senior partner and co-founder, with his son, of Gilbert-Krupin Insurance Services, LLC - is also credited with influencing his son in all the right ways. He pulled Bryan into the insurance business in their hometown of Richmond, Va.

Before insurance, Bryan Krupin played with the ideas of attending cooking school, delving into restaurant management or working as a travel agent. But he also knew that insurance represented "unlimited income potential" as well as the perks of being in business for himself. And his father set that example: As an insurance producer in Richmond, Michael Krupin was able to attend Bryan's tennis matches through high school and even at Roanoke College.

To Bryan Krupin, family comes first and his chosen career has enabled him to follow that conviction.

Gilbert-Krupin LLC was established in 1996 in Beverly Hills with a friend, Dennis Gilbert, who, as a former baseball agent, had many valuable contacts. Now, the firm has representation in Richmond as well as an office in New York that Bryan Krupin's sister, Ashley, has advanced as director of business development. Krupin, who is managing partner of the firm, said their business has a specialized niche: "We only work with entertainers and high net worth people. Our clients are the 'Who's Who.'" Krupin says he can't divulge names but that "every day, I have a new opportunity with someone" who he's recently seen on the big screen in a movie theater or performing at a concert.

Krupin says part of his success comes from being a nice person, something he says is a necessity because people do business with people they like and trust. This he took from his father, whom he describes as positive, genuine, and a man of character.

But in addition to being likeable, Krupin says one has to have smarts, knowledge and experience. He has become a numbers geek, he said, admitting that he's "a bit analytical at times." His father also showed him the importance of passion for a career.

"It probably stops there," he says. "If you aren't passionate about helping people, you are not going to stand out. At the end of the day, I love coming to work, and I work extremely hard."

The business has grown by virtue of contacts, something else he learned through his father's expertise. About 90 percent of their business is the result of referrals from advisors. There are two ways to acquire clients, he explains. One is to reach out directly; the other is to work through advisors, who have clients.

"Once you make them your best friend, so to speak, they have a way of giving you all of their clients," he says. "At the top, or in any kind of niche, it's a small world, and advisors know each other."

He intends to concentrate on his niche and not spread the business too thin. After all, he says, "we have a pretty good corner of the market here. We don't want to be a jack-of-all-trades. We don't want to try to expand just for the mere fact of acquiring additional revenue."

This niche is something he couldn't have established in Richmond, although he misses the East Coast, recalling that Hollywood is sometimes referred to as "a sunny town with shady people." He is also very careful about his reputation, realizing that it's a hard-won commodity that's easily lost. "It doesn't take much to ruin it, so we always try to be very cautious about how we go about doing our business."

Krupin runs his business the way he runs his life: "I try to be a nice person, and try to be respectful of people." He finds customer service "lacking" in this country, and makes an effort to remedy that. He also values and misses the manners he grew up with in Virginia - the very thing one doesn't appreciate until it's missing. To that end, his pet peeve is the unreturned phone call, so he tries to return his messages within 12 hours.

"It comes down to working hard and being passionate," says Krupin, who is on the board of the Krupin Family Foundation, which supports numerous educational and philanthropic causes. "Those are the two most important ingredients you can have."

He looks down onto Rodeo Drive from his office window. He lives near the ocean. He has two children, a wife and a love of travel. And he wants the same things for his children as his father wanted for him: "to be hard workers, be respectful, have manners and grow up happy."

Bryan Krupin has fulfilled his father's wishes.

-Sarah Cox

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