Lifestyle Personal Lines the Jan/Feb 2020 issue

Ed Page, COO, Relation Insurance

Having fun at what you’re doing is core to creating success and making life enjoyable, and that includes work.
By Chris Hann Posted on January 15, 2020
Q
You’re a wine collector. How did you start?
A
I didn’t drink until I was about 26, but I always liked food. I went to Paris for the first time around 1998, and I thought, you can’t go to Paris and not drink wine. Once I realized wine makes food taste better, and vice versa, I was sold.

Favorite vacation spots: Mexico and Anguilla

Favorite movie: The Godfather

Favorite actor: Robert De Niro

Favorite musician: Stevie Wonder (“The most amazing musical talent the world has ever known.”)

Favorite Stevie Wonder recording: “Songs in the Key of Life” (“The first album I ever bought.”)

Favorite jazz pianist: Keith Jarrett

Favorite Keith Jarrett recording: Tie: “All of You” on the “Tribute” album and “The Koln Concert: Part 1”

Favorite author: Stephen King

Favorite go-to wine: Kistler Pinot Noir

Favorite charity: Flourish Agenda (“Which does amazing programs for youth of color. I’ve been on the board for about 15 years.”)

Q
How many bottles do you have?
A
I started collecting around 2001 and built my own cellar about three years ago. It can hold a couple thousand bottles, and it’s currently about half full.
Q
What’s your top wine?
A
I just picked up some 2001 Chateau d’Yquem. It’s a French Sauternes and is arguably one of the best vintages of one of the best Sauternes in the world.
Q
What should the average person know about wine?
A
Don’t be afraid to break the “rules.” Drink what you like.
Q
You’ve been playing jazz piano for 30 years. What do you love about jazz?
A
I always heard it in the house. My parents love jazz. My godfather was a jazz musician and a music instructor in the New York school system. Jazz to me is a bit of an acquired taste, sort of like wine. But one day I “got it” and it clicked, and then I couldn’t live without it.
Q
What kind of jazz do you play?
A
I am mostly a classic jazz guy—think Miles Davis from the ’50s and ’60s and the blue note stuff from the ’60s, like Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. I’m also heavily into the fusion world, such as Chick Corea’s “Return To Forever” and Weather Report. I love Stevie Wonder and think he is the most amazing musical talent the world has ever known.
Q
Who are your heroes?
A
My dad, Bill Page. He was an officer in the Korean War. He is incredibly disciplined, super smart, has an MBA and a PhD, but most importantly is a good human being with great morals and principles. He was a college professor most of his career and taught math, computer science and African American history at Brooklyn College for 30 years. He’s about to turn 91, and he’s still playing golf.
Q
I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of insurance executives with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. How did you wind up in the insurance industry?
A
Just like everybody else, by accident. The company that I had helped to run was acquired, and I was about to accept an offer at another company when I got a call from Parthenon Capital, which owned Relation at the time. They said, “Come meet Relation’s CEO, Joe Tatum.” I was going on vacation the next day, so I had breakfast that morning with Joe and a couple of board members. Joe is just a phenomenal human being. Having such different yet complementary skill sets and backgrounds really helped us grow Relation to an almost $120 million company.
Q
Tell me more about Relation.
A
We have close to 600 employees in 37 offices around the country. Our goal is to triple our revenue over the next five years while building a company that will thrive for 100-plus years.
Q
You’ve written about the importance of company culture. What three words describe the culture at Relation?
A
Transparent, authentic, and fun.
Q
I’ve asked that question before, and I’m not sure anyone’s ever mentioned fun. Why fun?
A
Having fun at what you’re doing is core to creating success and making life enjoyable, and that includes work.
Q
If you could change one thing about the insurance industry, what would it be?
A
The producers. (laughs) I’ve never seen a business where the salespeople control the revenues like they do in insurance. It means you have to make your company a “destination firm” where people WANT to work.
Q
Last question: What gives you your leader’s edge?
A
With intelligence, integrity, intensity, compassion and humor, I inspire myself and others to work together, continuously improve and relentlessly focus on accomplishing great things.
Chris Hann Associate Editor Read More

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