■ BY SUE ERWIN
John Prescott has been a certified financial planner for many years, and in the past he’s worked with several national corporations. But now he’s serving clients in Boca Grande with Italiano Insurance.
Because of his working relationship with Nat and with Italiano Insurance Services over the years, John decided he wanted to spend more time on the island meeting new clients and establishing more professional relationships. John has worked closely with Nat and the team for more than 25 years, and as of last February, he’s been working exclusively with Italiano Insurance Services.
“I’m really enjoying the transition,” John said. “Boca Grande is such a beautiful place, and I’m happy to be part of such a great team.”
As a certified financial planner, John works with clients and their families to plan their financial futures. He is an expert in estate planning, wealth transfer, business transitions and valuation. John offers advice and expertise in life and disability insurance, long-term care planning and Medicare as well as supplements to aid in the cost of medical care.
Prior to joining Italiano Insurance Services, John’s work with the national firms and institutions was mainly on Florida’s west coast, where he assisted successful clients with estate planning and insurance needs.
John was born in Iowa and moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin with his family when he was 15 years old. He is one of eight children, all of whom worked in the grocery store his father and mother owned in his hometown.
“All of the children helped out at the store,” John said. “I was really quick at making change, which helped when we were busy. Also, I remember getting in 100-lb. burlap bags of potatoes and breaking them down into smaller 5-lb. bags for the customers.”
John attended the University of Wisconsin. He studied geography and civics with the intention of becoming a geomorphologist (one who studies the surface features of rocks and land), but he ended up working in retail management for his father’s grocery store.
John met his wife Jan in Oshkosh, Wisconsin while they were in high school together.
“Neither my wife nor I liked the long, cold winters, so we moved our family to Florida in 1983, and we’ve really enjoyed living here ever since,” John said.
After John and Jan moved to Florida, he was a manager at an Albertson’s store, but he left retail to pursue a career in the insurance field. He worked in retail for nearly 27 years.
“The hours in retail can be very brutal,” John said. “It’s usually seven days a week and it leaves very little time for family life.”
MetLife Insurance in Tampa called upon John and he was invited to come and interview with the company. He decided that was a good career choice at the time.
“I started with MetLife and went through the licensing and training process, and within the first two years I had moved up to branch manager,” he said.
He also pursued his Series 7 license to specialize in the sales of stocks and bonds.
As a manager, he had to hire new sales representatives and train them on how to properly interview potential new clients.
After five years with MetLife, John went to work for Continental Assurance, based in Tampa, where he focused on providing life insurance, disability and long-term care.
His introduction to the Italiano family happened while he was with Continental, calling on the Italiano agency to get their input on life insurance products.
During the time when he traveled the state working with corporate agencies, John and Jan moved their family to Fort Myers.
John also worked as an independent broker, helping with financial planning, life insurance and investments.
He developed his own book of clients while retaining the agency relationship with Nat and Italiano Insurance.
Deregulation was spurring insurance growth in the financial institutions in the early 2000s, and a large financial firm recruited John.
“That was when they bought up banking companies that were just starting to offer life insurance and property and casualty insurance.”
John spent the next 15 years in the corporate world specializing in insurance. He also continued to assist Nat and his clients in choosing the right amount and the right type of coverage for their needs.
That relationship with Nat and his agency has since grown and is creating new service capabilities for the Italiano clients.
“They’re a great team, and I really enjoy working with all the staff here,” John said.
He still works out of the Tampa Italiano Insurance office two days a week to meet with clients there.
John said the satisfaction he gets from helping clients, many of whom he’s become good friends with, has kept him in the field over the years.
As a certified financial planner, John takes what he does very seriously. He completes at least 30 hours of continuing education each year just to stay in operation.
John and Jan have three children: Craig, Heidi and Jennifer.
Craig has his PhD in physics and does research for the University of Florida. He lives in Gainesville with his wife.
Heidi also lives in Gainesville with her husband and four children. She is an attorney with the State of Florida.
Jennifer, her husband and son live in Tampa. She is a treasury officer for a community bank institution.
John’s five grandchildren are: Ally, 14; Nathan, 12; Logan, 10; Connor, nine and Ruslan, 12.
All five grandchildren are very active in athletics and extracurricular activities and are all good students.
The boys keep busy with soccer, baseball, scouting and hockey. Ballet takes much of Ally’s time.
Ruslan’s mother and father are hockey fans, and they named Ruslan after a former Tampa Bay Lightning player. Fittingly, Ruslan is a very good player who is on a traveling hockey team.
When he is not working, John enjoys dropping a fishing line in the water every now and then, but he has not yet had the opportunity to go tarpon fishing.
John is a fan of music of all genres.
He stays active by swimming, both in the pool and at the beach. And he also occasionally golfs.
“My grandchildren really like the beach, so when they visit I look forward to taking them,” he said.
John and Jan also enjoy traveling and exploring new places as time allows.
The next time you’re out and about around town, stop in at Italiano Insurance on Palm Avenue and say hello to John, or give him a call at (941) 964-0400.