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Sherrie Calhoun returns to Amusement Industry with New Insurance Carrier
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Sherrie Calhoun, a veteran of the carnival insurance industry for over 40 years, is back in the business with a brand new company after a two-year hiatus. “I’ve  been out of the business for two years now and I really, really missed everybody,” says Calhoun.  Her re-entry enables her to reconnect with friends and clients and introduce a new entrant into the amusement insurance business.  

With the amusement business hammered by closings due to the Pandemic in 2020, many carnivals are searching for affordable insurance options and struggling to get cash together to pay premiums so they can get back on the road.  Coupled with the consolidation the amusement industry insurance business has seen over the last couple of seasons, a new entry into the market with a familiar face is a welcome addition for many.  At a time when many carnival companies are ready to get back on the road for a reopening in 2021, Calhoun is offering an additional option for the crucial coverage needed to open again.  For many companies, insurance can be one of the largest expenses they face. 

Calhoun started out in the carnival insurance business essentially by accident. “In 1978 an employment agency placed me with a big brokerage company called Frank B. Hall and the job was in carnival insurance,” remembers Calhoun. “I’ve worked in the industry ever since.” 

She also worked with the Charles Myers Insurance Agency where she was taught that great customer service is the most important part of the job. With an industry so small and tight knit, getting to know your customers and treat them well will bring success in a business that is largely family owned and operated.  Calhoun has forged friendships and relationships with many carnival owners, both clients and non-clients and she has sold insurance to multiple generations of carnival owners due to her strong ties with the families that own the shows.

After taking a few years off in the 80s, she got back in the industry in the 90s and over the years, worked for some of the largest, most well-known agencies in the industry.  She left her most recent posting on December 31st, 2018, before reentering the business in 2021. 

An old friend in the insurance business began discussing coming back into the industry and after giving it some thought, Calhoun decided that she would be happiest working in the business she loved, being able to provide an essential service in a time of crisis.  “Starting in January 2021, I joined the Windham Insurance Agency, which puts a huge focus on customer service,” says Calhoun.  She believes that customer service focus will be a great match for the industry ands hopes to make a big impact with her new company.  

For Calhoun, it is the clients who have drawn her back into the industry. “I just love my clients, many have become close friends over the years. The carnival industry is just fun and the people are fun,” she says.  She’s looking forward to being on the road and visiting customers with whom she has been out of touch for the past couple of years.

At Windham, Calhoun will have access to several markets from which she can get quotes for customers; helping to provide the best coverage at affordable prices. Multiple markets will help keep prices lower and offer different types of coverage for her clients of all sizes and needs.  “Having multiple markets to go to with the accounts or ‘risk’ is huge and on top of it, Windham’s customer service first attitude drew me in and reminded me of the old Charles Myers attitude,” she says. 

In order to spread the word about her new position, Calhoun was planning to attend the 2021 IISF trade show in Gibsonton, Florida, the largest trade show focusing on the carnival business. However, a freak snowstorm in San Antonio left her unable to travel to Florida and see her clients after a two-year hiatus.    

Undeterred by the storm, Calhoun decided to travel to the Gibsonton area after the snow had cleared and visit the still large number of clients who were living in the area during the winter.  While the number of people would not be the same as during the trade show, she was still able to see many old friends and clients.  “I was able to go down there last week and see some people but I was disappointed I couldn’t make it to the trade show,” says Calhoun.         

Despite historic weather setbacks, Calhoun is ready to hit the ground running and has already begun quoting accounts for renewals in March and April. “I know a lot of companies tend to renew in the Summer and I’m ready to prepare those quotes,” she says. 

Attuned to the specific needs of the carnival industry, Calhoun knows that services such as getting certificates quickly, being available at odd hours, providing outstanding customer service, and keeping prices affordable are important in order to keep these unique businesses running smoothly.  

“2020 was a tough year and a lot of people are looking for a fresh start, like me.  Hopefully, 2021 will bring us all some success and the end of COVID,” says Calhoun.
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