“I never aspired to be in a hall of fame,” 2019 inductee, Pat Ryan said when we sat down with him earlier this year, “I didn’t think it was on my radar, but I did aspire to excellence.” He never intended to be a revolutionary in the automotive industry either. His only desire was to make something better, and that something was the car buying experience. Ryan has always had an entrepreneurial spirit about himself, believing that to be an entrepreneur, you have to bring about change to something, bringing or adding value to something that’s not already there. So, he did just that while working at a Dick Fencl Chevrolet dealership in suburban Chicago. Ryan saw an opportunity to bundle finance and insurance together and create a fifth profit center for the dealer.
Before Finance and Insurance (F&I) centers were an integral part of buying a car, your car salesman would arrange financing through manufacturers like General Motors Acceptance Corporation (now known as Ally Financial), Ford Motor Credit, or Chrysler Credit. Some would even arrange through a bank, if the dealership and bank had a relationship already. Selling insurance at a dealership wasn’t even thought of, because dealers were not licensed to do so. In addition to seeing a huge profit opportunity in finance and insurance, Ryan also thought “there was a real need for the professionalization of it.”
When we spoke to an old friend and colleague of Ryan’s, Steve Berrett, he stated that Ryan’s contribution to the F&I world was much more than the professionalization of it or adding an extra profit, “he revolutionized F&I and standardized it.” Ryan and his associates created a rigorous training program for their agents and committed to following up with those who had trained to ensure consistency.
To this day, Ryan has ensured his company is looking forward in the industry, embracing new technologies while still supporting the agents. At Ryan Specialty Group (RSG), where he is the founder, chairman, and CEO, they have continued to emphasize the importance of their brokers and agents rather than letting new technology replace them. In an interview with Insurance Business Magazine, Ryan stated that instead, “RSG is committing a lot of capital into technology that will enable and empower the broker.”
As well as continually supporting every single one of his employees, Ryan and his wife, Shirley, have also been major contributors to charitable causes through the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation. Ryan has been aspiring to excellence since the beginning and it is safe to say, he has achieved it.
Pat Ryan will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on July 18th at the MGM Grand Detroit. You can read more about his life here