May 26, 2020

SMW Spotlight: Bryan Holtzman

1.   What did you learn from your dad about being a PA?

My dad, Jerry, actually discouraged me from getting into the business.  I watched him when I was young, and he was working all the time.  I have to say, he always made it a priority to come to every baseball game that I played in, near or far.  I never understood how he balanced all of this until I had kids of my own.  Growing up he taught me how to read policies at a young age.  I would also go out and help him do contents and building take-offs.  Needless to say, Public Adjusting runs deep in the family blood and I was destined to become a PA.

2.   What was your first job out of college?

When I was a senior in college, we were competing in the NCAA Championships for the New England Region. It was the night before the Finals.  The outcome of this game would determine whether or not we’d move on to the College World Series.  If we lost, I’d walk at graduation and have to get a job.  I was in full-on baseball mode.  I went to my dad’s hotel room that night and he asked me: what are you gonna do if you lose?  He always made sure I was prepared for every situation.  I told him I wanted to be a PA.  So, the next day, after playing my last college baseball game, I sent out resumes.  Within a week, I had my first job as a claims analyst at a large national insurance carrier.  I wasn’t sure it was the right first job, but my dad told me: ‘take it, it’ll be worth it – you’ll see.’  And he was right.

3.   What did you learn in your first job that was valuable in becoming a public adjuster?

My job at a large national insurance carrier was hugely helpful to me in terms of learning how insurance companies approach things and how they think.  Insurance companies tend to be very black and white, and I learned how to maneuver around their roadblocks.  I also made a lot of great connections.  95% of the people I worked with over there are now in management positions.  So, I can call and get issues resolved.  As they say: ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’  It’s much easier to settle claims when you have good relationships with people within the industry.

4.    What was the last concert you went to?

Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind, in a solo performance a few months ago.

5.    Who trained you as a public adjuster?

When I arrived at SMW in 2004, I was under the guidance of Bruce Swerling and Jimmy Harlor. Needless to say, it was trial by fire.  I went home every night wondering if I was going to be fired the next day.

6.    What’s your favorite part of the job?

Helping people out.  I like navigating a really hard claims process to a successful conclusion.  It’s satisfying to simplify the process for our clients.  Having an expert makes it go easier.  And seeing the smile on a client’s face when they get a check is its own reward.

7.     What’s the most challenging part of being a PA?

Dealing with unreasonable client expectations is hard, as is helping those people find a happy medium.  Sometimes a client will forget we’re on the same team and that we are working for them.  Say we write a number – $50k – that we estimate the claim is worth, and they think it’s a million-dollar claim.  A big gap like that can cause challenges.  I try really hard to set expectations from the beginning – that’s one of the most important things.  It makes things go more smoothly.

8.    What’s the most memorable or most rewarding loss?

The hurricane claims – from Irma and Maria – down in St Maarten and Puerto Rico.  Those were memorable.  We were working from far away with limited resources.  It’s certainly memorable to be living on an island with no power, and electricity flowing only at night when it’s dark. 

9.   What are your hobbies?

I enjoy playing golf and going to concerts.  And I’m heavily addicted to Candy Crush.

10.   What’s your favorite sports team?

The Red Sox, despite the Mookie Betts trade.

11.   Favorite Food / Restaurants?

My favorite foods are chicken parm and spicy buffalo wings.  For favorite restaurants, I’d have to go with Davio’s for a nice New York strip steak, and Wendell’s for wings.

12.   What are the worst trends you participated in?

I was part of the Z. Cavaricci pants craze – I can’t say I’m proud of that.  Pegged jeans were once part of my repertoire.  And I had a rat tail at one point.

13.   What would your best friends say is your best quality? 

My work ethic.  I hope my work colleagues would say the same.

14.   Name a time when you did the right thing and no one saw.

A month ago, I was out with family at an indoor mini-golf course.  I found a wallet in the parking lot and gave it to the person at the front desk.

15.   What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Cape Cod.  I like relaxing on the beaches of West Dennis.

16.   What is your daily attire?

When I’m in the office, it’s usually slacks and a shirt.  If I’m in the field, I’ll be in jeans, work boots and a polo shirt.

17.   Favorite TV show?


18.   Do you like Audio books or reading books?

Audio – the last one I checked out was Black Mass, about Whitey Bulger.

19.   Favorite Book?

Parenting for Dummies – it taught me to have patience.

20.   What’s your favorite picture?

That famous one — Boulevard of Broken Dreams – that shows James Dean, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe seated at an all-night diner.

21.   If you had a superpower what would it be?


22.   If you could pick a new first name what would it be?

I like my name – and the spelling of it.  So, I wouldn’t change it.

23.   Who is your celebrity crush?

Mila Kunis

24.   How do you maintain a work life balance?

When I’m not working, I try to shut it off as best I can and be the best father and husband I can be. With two young girls, 6 and 4, that’s really important.  Don’t ask my wife – she’ll tell you I don’t balance things enough.

25.   What trait are you most proud of in your children?

They are very respectful kids.

26.   What’s it like working with family?

Mainly, I like it.  In a family business, things can get tough, of course.  But, overall, I like working alongside family every day.

27.   What would your girls say is their favorite thing about you?

They like when I take them on special dates – usually to the arcade.

28.   What’s your favorite dessert?

Hot fudge coffee Oreo ice cream with tons of whipped cream.

Bryan Holtzman

Bryan Holtzman is Vice President of Swerling Milton Winnick, with more than 15 years of experience helping businesses and homeowners navigate complex insurance claims. He specializes in building estimates and policy interpretation.
If you’ve had a fire, flood or other property loss resulting in an insurance claim, and need a public insurance adjuster in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New England or anywhere in the U.S. or Caribbean, call Swerling Milton Winnick. We are the oldest and largest public adjusting firm in New England, and our team of experts will give you personalized, 24/7 attention to successfully resolve your residential or business insurance claim.