Jonathan Fortenberry: Promoting Balance and Increasing Yield


For Jonathan Fortenberry, Risk Manager and Independent Contractor with several insurance carriers (with American National being the main one), increasing yield has been a recurring theme throughout his life.

Growing up on a rice and soybean farm in the Mississippi Delta, he first learned the trait of increasing yield from his grandfather, Rice Farmer of the Year a few times in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and also made the cover of Progressive Farmer.  “He was noted for looking at planting in a new way to increase yield, and I think that’s where I get that trait from,”  Jonathan states.  He continues, “It taught me to look at a problem and maximize every part of the solution.”

A self-proclaimed “math nerd,” Jonathan’s first major career was with FedEx, ensuring planes were loaded in a balanced way that promoted safe flights.  Continuing with the themes of balancing and increasing yield, he then got into banking.  In 2014, while working at a local bank, he met the man who would become his mentor in the insurance industry.  He had a longing to work in the investment world, but soon realized in addition to planning, he enjoyed being out on farms and at businesses much more.  This led to a desire to participate in both sides and a natural progression into the insurance industry.

With a new college degree, a young marriage, and an infant son, Jonathan decided there was no better time to open his own business.  Sadly, his father passed away only 5 months after this, and the funeral home informed his family his father’s life insurance had expired.  “It was crushing to us.  So I made it my mission to make sure other people don’t feel what we felt then,” Jonathan explains.

These experiences propelled Jonathan to find his niche in the insurance world.  He pours his strengths of increasing yield and promoting balance into his work daily.  “My career today is almost entirely managing relationships and answering tough questions.  Most of us have invested our time, our money, our energy, and sometimes our blood in our hobbies, our businesses, and our homes.  It’s my job to make sure people are protected, they understand how they are protected, and they feel good about the solution,” Jonathan states.

His approach to the importance of having horses, horse farms, equine businesses, and equipment covered is a simple yet effective one:  “Insure the things that matter.”  Loss of a barn translates into a boarding operation or trainer being unable to run a business, which means a loss of income.  Losing a truck or trailer means hitching rides to the shows.  As we all know, horses are notorious for injuring themselves or coming down with some random ailment, some requiring emergency vet visits, and those bills add up quickly.  Jonathan states, “ In the worst case scenario, we lose not only parts of our heart, but also our time and investment.”  He wants his clients and potential clients to know, “Farm policies and horse insurance policies can help recoup some of that.”  Horses, barns and outbuildings, trucks and trailers, and even fencing can and should all be insured. 
Going beyond horses and the equine world, Jonathan reminds us:  “And then there’s each other.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, has someone that loves them, and most of us have people that depend on us.  The value of life insurance when someone passes away can be an absolute godsend. Horse owners and folks in the horse business [world] should think through their belongings and tools and gauge how much it hurts to lose those items.  If it would stop or slow business, it’s worth insuring.”

When asked about his future goals for his business, Jonathan hopes to continue to increase his yield.  He would like to grow his business roughly 7-8 times what it is now.  “That will give me the capacity to give others a start in this wonderful career, just like I was given the opportunity,”  he explains.

Jonathan understands that in order to meet his growth goal he will need to continue to meet new people and earn their trust.  As far as adding clients goes, “It’s not just a game of numbers,” for him.  “It’s helping people feel at peace just in case the worst day comes.  It means the world to me when someone trusts me.  I do not take it lightly.  When they hurt, I hurt.  When they win, I feel like I’m winning with them,” he states.

Jonathan encourages you to contact your agent and review your current policies to ensure your property, horses, equipment, and even the kind of riding activities you participate in are properly covered.  If you have any questions at all, he gladly welcomes them- even if you choose not to do business with him.  He can help cover your needs, whatever those may be.  “If [you] want to know how to shop for insurance for your aging folks or your child that just turned 16, or if you want to open a new business, or if you want to save for a day when you won’t work as much, I want to be in the conversation with you,” Jonathan expresses.




Alicia Johnson

Alicia is a Writer and Editorial Coordinator for the Horse Review. She has two wonderful children, Mason and Madison. Her and her family live an active lifestyle and love being outdoors. Alicia has been a horse lover for as long as she can remember, she didn't become a horse owner until she was an adult. Now, her daughter, Madison, has grown to love horses and it is a passion they share together.

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