Faces in the Industry: Jim Hopgood
By: MIASF Staff
Date posted: Sep 28, 2021 Tue
Tell us where you are from, what brought you to Florida, and how long you’ve lived here.
I was born and raised in the greater NYC area. I came to South Florida in the early 1980's and bought my first Florida based boat- a 22' Seyler with a 200 HP Merc Black Max. We loved coming down to Florida so much we built a second home in Jupiter. We frequently visited Fort Lauderdale and subsequently sold our vacation home in Jupiter in 1997. We have had a condo here in Fort Lauderdale for the last 15 years.
Where do you work, what is your job title, and what does your job entail?
My professional career was based in NJ. I built an insurance agency and sold it and permanently moved out of NJ to Fort Lauderdale. My practice specialty was developing employee benefit programs for associations. A few years ago, I was chatting with a fellow boater at our marina who owns the oldest insurance agency in Fort Lauderdale, The John Galt Insurance Agency. I had time on my hands and asked the agency owner, Jim Rudd, if I could build out the agency's employee benefit department as the Benefits Division Manager. He said sure thing. Being surrounded by marine based mostly smaller employers, it occurred to me that the trade association servicing that sector is one worth looking into. That is when I met the MIASF. The association said they would be interested in seeing what I could put together that could benefit most of the association members. I, along with other professionals I had relationships with over the years, developed a medical insurance program for MIASF members that was endorsed by MIASF late last year. My associates and I have enjoyed working with members to help them better achieve their goals- either through savings or benefit improvements, or both.
How did you initially become interested in the marine industry?
I have been boating since I was a teenager. Mostly in smaller lake boats. The first boat I owned, and still do to this day, is a 1960 16’4” Century Resorter ski boat with a Fireball Marine Inboard motor. But now we live in the biggest marine community in the country and live on the Port Everglades inlet where we can witness the latest and greatest crafts on a daily basis. In my prior insurance career I dealt with state Dental Associations, Bar Associations, Tourism Associations, etc. Truth be told, I so much prefer dealing with MIASF members. Great people with incredible skills who appreciate our work.
What is your favorite or most valuable benefit of membership in MIASF?
Medical Insurance is a concern for nearly all members. Besides it's high cost, those that use it rely on it to perform as advertised. We have assisted members who thought they could not afford coverage/obtain coverage. For others, we have saved enough money for the employer to expand their retirement program. MIASF members look for the association to help them attract and retain good employees. As a MIASF member, I am pleased and proud to be a part of that effort.
Describe any other community organizations or events with which you are involved?
After permanently moving to Florida and buying a boat slip condo at The Port Marina on 17th Street, I ran and was elected as a board member of the 125 boat slip marina. I then became the President of the marina condo board for the last 6 years. A position I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Tell us about your hobbies and the kinds of things you do for fun.
There are few things my family and I enjoy more than boating in South Florida. In addition, we enjoy beach walks and the many things life in Fort Lauderdale presents. From trying new restaurants to going to hear live bands, to my every day walk over the 17th Street bridge, I thoroughly embrace all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer. My wife and I are also grandparents and are waiting for our second grandchild to arrive in November. We look forward to creating more memories with our extended family in South Florida.