Featured New York Life Insurance Agent: Frank Chiovaro.
Helping families and businesses find financial security is music to his ears.
Since joining New York Life’s Baltimore Office in 2005, Frank Chiovaro has been enjoying the work he does. “I love getting in front of people and helping them,” he says. “One of the best aspects of my job is sharing my knowledge with my clients.” But having a career in the life insurance industry is something that Chiovaro never thought he’d have—not in a million years.
In fact, the day before he officially began training as a New York Life agent, he was on an airplane, flying back from a USO tour of Central Europe—including Germany and Kosovo—with his rock band. “I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and then my family moved to the Hudson Valley,” says Chiovaro. “My father passed away when I was nine, but because he didn’t have proper life insurance coverage in place, my mother was unable to keep up with our house. We moved to central Pennsylvania when I was a freshman in high school, closer to her family.”
Feeling lonely and feeling isolated, Chiovaro turned to music, first starting on the drums “much to my mother’s chagrin,” he laughes. “She was thrilled when I showed interest in learning guitar and encouraged it in every way she could.” After graduating from high school, he moved back to New York to pursue his dreams of making it in the music industry. But after a few years of playing the college music scene, he needed a change. On a friend's suggestion, he moved to Maryland, where he met his bandmates and formed the group Brickfoot. And his dreams began to be realized.
“Once our band started making a name for ourselves, we got more local media coverage,” says Chiovaro. “We were approached by the Department of Defense to tour for the USO and signed right after 9/11. We traveled all over the world—Puerto Rico, Italy, Spain, Japan, Guam—playing for troops, but nothing impacted me more than the time we spent in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had, and I have never been the same since. Our troops were serving in adverse conditions. Every morning, they have to get up and perform their jobs precisely—no matter what the night has brought. It made me appreciate everything I have as an American, and gave me a renewed sense of humanity.”
Although Chiovaro was enjoying touring with his band, he knew the time would come to settle down and find a career. Used to being on stage, “I knew I wanted to work with people—that was natural for me—but I wanted to make an impact,” he says. “I also knew that I wanted to be affiliated with a respected company. But I didn’t think I would have joined New York Life as an agent.”
Chivovaro had some previous experience working as an agent’s assistant and enjoyed the work, but he resisted being recruited. Finally, his best friend’s father, the long-time Baltimore Office Manager Charlie Herneker, persuaded him to give it a try. And the rest is history.
His contract was signed before he left for what would be his last USO tour. Chiovaro “literally flew into the states from Germany, went to bed, woke up the next morning, put on a suit and began training at New York Life. He laughs. “I had terrible jet lag, but I knew this was what I wanted.” And he hasn’t regretted it.
In 2009, Chiovaro became an Eagle Strategy Adviser,* which qualified him to engage in financial and retirement planning for high-net-worth clients and business owners. Four years later, Chiovaro and three other seasoned New York Life agents teamed up to form their own financial consulting firm, The Camden Planning Group.
“I strongly believe in the products we recommend, such as long-term care insurance, whole life, and term, since they help individuals and families stay well-protected, no matter what the economic environment," says Chiovaro. "I want to be sure that our clients aren’t underinsured like my family was.” Chiovaro also gives back by mentoring newer agents, on both a formal and informal basis, and he is always willing to volunteer as a guest speaker or to teach a class.
Chiovaro enjoys breaking stereotypes a bit as well. “I am proud to represent New York Life and to be defying the ‘typical’ image of those in the life insurance business,” he says. “During one appointment, one of my clients said, ‘I really appreciate that you’re not pushing me into a decision right now.’ It’s just not what I’m about.”
*Eagle Financial Advisers offer investment advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser and a New York Life affiliate. Mr. Chiovaro is also an Agent offering insurance products and services through New York Life Insurance Company and a registered representative offering securities products and services through NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA/ SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency. Camden Planning Group, LLC is not owned or operated by New York Life Insurance Company or its affiliates.