At the group’s initial meeting, Ray remembers sitting outside the door, waiting for his turn to speak as IPSSA considered what company was going to handle their insurance needs.
“I was going up against Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and the insurance agent for IPSA. I was nervous because if I lost, I would be losing my whole group and everything I had worked for.”
He was about to make the most important sales pitch of his life.
Remembering his father’s message about selling himself, he strode into the meeting, took off his tie and told the board that in choosing him, they were choosing an advocate.
“I made it very personal and told them they needed an advocate, and between my training as an insurance agent, and a lawyer, they were getting just that.”
Although only one Cal-IPSA member, familiar with his work, sat on the 10-member board, the vote came back unanimously in his favor.
During those formative years, Ray took to the streets, speaking at chapter meetings, driving all over California, from his San Fernando Valley office to San Diego, Fresno, and Palm Springs.
“I went to hundreds and hundreds of chapter meetings and got used to speaking in front of these guys. I was at every IPSSA board meeting, and the group was really growing fast.”
In 1990, he passed the bar with his ticket to practice law in hand. But as he started interviewing, he discovered he really didn’t want to be a lawyer. By this time, he was truly enjoying the direction his career in insurance was taking him. He had made a place for himself with IPSSA and within the pool industry in general. He had his own monthly column in the association’s newspaper, and his years of speaking at chapter and board meetings had turned him into a gifted, talented, and highly demanded speaker at industry trade shows and events.
But he had promised himself that if a law firm offered him a full-time salary and allowed him to only work three days a week, he owed it to himself to take the job. His third interview offered him the perfect job, allowing him to practice law while staying involved in the pool industry. So he worked two jobs for 12 years; practicing law, making court appearances, depositions, arbitrations, and a few trials while, maintaining his insurance position with the pool industry.
Ray has devoted his career to the swimming pool service industry, which has provided him with his most satisfying professional experiences. Over the years, he has spoken to thousands of pool professionals at chapter meetings, banquets, trade shows, and over the phone. He continues to make himself available to pool techs and willingly shares his knowledge. He really has a special role too; where else can a service tech get so much information about the risks he bears in servicing pools and spas?
“After handling so many claims, I think I am in a really good position to educate pool techs,” Ray said. “Everyone has been interested in my message because I never really sold anything; I just wanted to tell them what they were exposing themselves to by failing to close a gate or by leaving the pool with a dangerous condition.”
His success, he says, all comes back to that meeting of four decades ago.
“When those three guys came into my office that day, 40 years ago, it started a personal relationship. In no other part of the universe would I fit in like I happen to fit into the pool business. I was really blessed that way.”
Ray Arouesty is the Senior Vice President of Hub International Insurance Brokers.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University Northridge, a Master of Science in Psychology from Purdue University, and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School. He also held a California Contractors license and has technical swimming pool certifications from IPSSA and the NPC.