Steve Alvarez

In what part of town do you live?
I’m in Palmetto Bay. I’ve been in this area for 12 years, and before that around Sunset and 104th.

Would you share a little bit about what keeps you busy during the week?
I’m an insurance broker. I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years.

What type of insurance?
Commercial. I started in the business doing computer operations and transitioned into underwriting. Then, I had the opportunity to run the office in Miami and got some ownership stake in the company. We got bought out in 2008 by BB&T, which is now Truist, after the SunTrust merger. We’re like the insurance arm of the bank. I run the office, but I also run my book – managing my book of business.

How have things changed for the business since Covid started?
With Covid, my employees are working from home. I’ve got a team of about 12, a few brokers and then several assistants that help us place business. We write a lot of restaurants, and many are asking for a reduction in sales because they’re not going to hit their targets. Some need to cancel their insurance and get their money back. Those guys are all hurting really bad. Hospitality is getting killed. We’re trying to help folks and every which way we can like offering them an automatic renewal with 25% reduced exposures out of the gate. We have to evaluate each case differently.

Where does your company fit in the process of selling insurance. Is your job to evaluate the risk and create the numbers?
Pretty much. That’s a good way to put it. We’re kind of the middle man between the insurance company and the insurance agents that sell insurance.

What do you think the biggest hurdle is in the insurance field?
I buy insurance myself and even I ask myself why I need it. Nobody wants to buy insurance, man. It’s an expensive piece of paper. But, what’s the first thing they’re going to ask you for when you go to lease a retail location? Proof of insurance.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love it. I love it because I stay busy. I love it because my business is nonstop. One minute I’m writing an apartment building which is simple. I can do it on the phone with my eyes closed and then I can turn around and see a guy producing masks and ventilators and have to figure out how to write them. We ask detailed questions to figure out the specific types of risk.

What else do you enjoy outside of work?
I enjoy golfing, going for a walks, and just exercising. Lately I’m exercising more than ever in my garage.

You been coming to our ‘drive-throughs’ for several weeks, would you share about that experience?
I love it. For me, it wouldn’t matter where you guys were at. I love your product. I love your smoothies. When you guys were at your house, it was great because it’s around the corner from my house. That was the nicest thing ever. I get the concentrate and I get the cookies now. I wish I could have your smoothies every day.

What other businesses are you supporting during this time?
We’ll use Uber eats for PF Chang’s or Diced. We’ll order from A Brooklyn Pizza or Steve’s Pizza. We just had the new pizza on 152nd last Friday. It was my wife’s birthday and we had some people over and did the whole social distancing happy hour in my yard. Everyone brought their coolers and what they wanted to drink. Pizza was great. Everyone loved the pizza place when they were in the Grove (behind Johnny Rockets).  

What restaurants are you looking forward to going back to?
I think any restaurant at this point.

What about for a special occasion? 
We would probably go to Capital Grill or some sushi place. We enjoy Pub Belly for a glass of wine and some good sushi. But, mostly we eat at home. Also, there’s a great steakhouse in Merrick called Perry’s – even just to have a salad at the bar.

What’s a worthy splurge for you?
I enjoy Dolphin season tickets. I love going to those games. When I was young, my dad used to take us to the Orange Bowl. He was like all the other old Cuban dads, we had to get tickets under the roof, but we still took ponchos to every game. I’ve done that now with my younger daughter and she’s become a huge football fan. She loves going and it doesn’t matter how bad they stink, she just loves going to football games.

What’s a good rainy day activity?
Watching movies.

Are there any community groups that are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
Feeding South Florida

What question would you like to ask us?
(SA) How do you guys make those smoothies? I mean, what is behind all that good fruit that you guys produce?

(A+W) A lot of harvesting, ripening, and pulping fruits. Adena spends several days a week on the farm, looking for what’s perfectly ripe or ready to harvest. Since fruit doesn’t ripen at the same time, Adena’s checking the fruits daily to determine what’s ready to pulp. And then, when fruits are running out, she’s quickly creating new recipes around what’s in season. All that, and several VitaMix blenders and nugget ice. 

Are there vegetables as well in your smoothies?
(A+W) Yes, the green one has Kale and the red has Beets.

Is there a pitch about your business that you would like us to share?
It’s a difficult question because we really are not consumer facing at all. But for any retail insurance agents, it would be great to get to know you. We’ll help you out and would love to serve your accounts.

What question, advice or a challenge would you like to pose to the community?
We’re in this together. Let’s get up and do what we can. Let’s do our part. Let’s be safe. If you’re not a person that’s been hurt by covid, donate to Feeding South Florida. There’s a lot of people hurting right now.