Lifestyle Personal Lines the November 2022 issue

John Nelson, Co-CEO, Warner Pacific

“It has been a 35-year college education for me, so it’s challenging in that regard.”
By Chris Hann Posted on November 1, 2022
Q
You’re a collector and restorer of ship models. How did that hobby come about?
A
I’ve collected ship models ever since I was a kid. I like the larger-scale models—the more detailed, the better. One of the models that I got recently is a container ship-type model, nine feet long. It’s all brass and everything, but it showed up broken. The good news is now I have a project, though this may be my last restoration.

FAVORITE PART OF BUSINESS TRAVEL: “Getting on the plane with a cup of coffee. I’m good to go.”

LESS FAVORITE PART OF BUSINESS TRAVEL: “Getting up at five o’clock in the morning.”

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

FAVORITE MOVIES: Dumb and Dumber, No Country for Old Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, any James Bond film

FAVORITE ACTRESS Sandra Bullock

FAVORITE ACTOR Tom Hanks

FAVORITE CALIFORNIA MUCIAN: The Eagles

FAVORITE WESTLAKE VILLAGE RESTRAURANT Tuscany

FAVORITE DISH AT TUSCANY: “Anything with tomato sauce.”

Q
When you started out, was there a particular model of a particular ship that struck your fancy?
A
I tend to collect famous ships of World War II. I’m obsessed with tanker ship models. I’ve got a cruise ship model of the Disney Fantasy. But the deal with my family was, “Alright, you’re going to buy yourself a ship model, you’re going to take us on a cruise on that ship.”
Q
That sounds fair enough.
A
You have to work these compromises out, right?
Q
You also enjoy landscape photography. Why landscapes?
A
My brother-in-law has a Nikon D90 camera, and he showed it to me. It was remarkable the detail of the images that he was taking. Then my wife found a photography teacher that I have been going on trips with ever since. His thing is landscape. So guess what? My thing is landscape. The photography for me is an excuse to get out of the house and go on a road trip.
Q
That’s a good excuse. Do you have a single favorite image that you’ve shot?
A
One of the shots that I took in Rome was of the Vatican. I knew where I wanted to be. I knew what bridge I wanted to be on. I knew what time of day I needed to be on that bridge. I prepared for it, and it turned out perfect. There was a red sunset going on behind the Vatican. The Tiber River is in the foreground. The Vatican is beyond that. It’s a great image, but it was also the preparation that went into that.
Q
What is it like to be a co-CEO with your brother?
A
Our roles are distinct. I’m more involved with the operational aspects of the company. Dave is involved with the technology as well as the finance side of it. We both have our basic roles, and it’s been a great partnership. You couldn’t get a better brother than Dave.
Q
Why do you say that?
A
He’s there when you need him, and he’s there when you don’t think you need him. He’s a brother and a partner I trust.
Q
You’ve been in the business since 1986. What has kept you in the business for that long?
A
I love the business. It’s a complicated business. It has been a 35-year college education for me, so it’s challenging in that regard. I can’t think of anything more important.
Q
How would your co-workers describe your management style?
A
I think they’d call it collaborative. We have a great family of employees who’ve been with us a long time. They take good care of me, and so we do the best we can to take care of them.
Q
If you could change one thing about the insurance industry, what would it be?
A
A lot of people don’t have access to decent healthcare. We take it for granted that, if something happens to us, we have access to good hospitals that will take care of us. That is not the case for about 80 to 100 million Americans. It’s something we need to pay attention to more than we have.
Q
What gives you your leader’s edge?
A
I listen. I see opportunities. I have a vision. I know why we need to get to where we’re going.
Chris Hann Associate Editor Read More

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