La Verne’s Krista Chakmak Takes Clients Under Her Wing

May 5, 2009
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Talk to Krista or the Duck and they'll give you all the Aflacts about supplemental insurance. If the Duck could talk, he would tell you that Krista will take you under her wing for all your supplemental insurance needs.

Talk to Krista or the Duck and they'll give you all the Aflacts about supplemental insurance. If the Duck could talk, he would tell you that Krista will take you under her wing for all your supplemental insurance needs.

An accident occurs in the United States every four seconds. A coronary event occurs every 26 seconds and a stroke every 45 seconds. Cancer strikes one of every two men and one of every three women.

Those are the kinds of real life statistics from the National Safety Council, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society that should send you running to Krista Chakmak, a Bonita (class of 1998) and Mt. SAC graduate who loves educating people about the benefits of Aflac supplemental insurance.

Krista is not your typical insurance agent, nor is Aflac your typical insurance company. Their stories are both compelling, and now that they’re both on the same team, local residents come out the real winners in this pairing of duck and dashing Aflac agent.  The duck’s story, err Aflac’s history, is first, if for no other reason, it starts 25 years earlier than Krista’s.

In 1955, after three brothers, John, Paul and Bill Amos, watched their father succumb to cancer, wiping out the family’s finances, they started the American Family Life Insurance Company in Columbus, Ga. In 1958, they pioneered cancer insurance, and beginning in 1964, along with changing their name to the American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, they focused their sales efforts on workplace settings. To further set themselves apart from many other insurance companies whose names began with “American,” they officially adopted the acronym “Aflac” in 1990.

Look mom, no hands!

Without a rock (Prudential), hands (Allstate), Snoopy (Met Life), or some other memorable logo to fall back on for branding, Aflac and its advertising agency, the Kaplan Thaler Group in New York City, invented the duck.  Struggling to come up with a concept to make the big but relatively obscure insurance company’s name memorable, one of the agency’s art directors stumbled upon the duck idea while walking around Central Park at lunchtime uttering, “Aflac, Aflac.” He soon realized how much the company’s name sounded like a duck’s quack.

Aflac has had a great deal to quack about ever since (only female dabbling ducks actually quack, but that’s another story for another paper). Celebrities from Chevy Chase and Yao Ming to Yogi Berra have lined up to star in the company’s commercials. Berra’ first ad, “Berra at the Barber, was filmed in a barber shop and featured three new Yogi sayings as he tried to further brand the helpful insurance company:aflac


“It’s the one you really need to have. If you don’t have it, that’s why you need it.”

“If you get hurt and miss work, it won’t hurt to miss work.”

“They give you cash, which is just as good as money.”

In 2008, Aflac reported profits of $1.3 billion. 2008 was also the same year Krista joined Aflac, and, not surprisingly, she has taken to the company like a duck to water.

That’s always been Krista’s style. All through her early La Verne years, she was an elite soccer player. After graduating from Bonita in 1998, she obtained her certificate in fashion merchandising from Mt. SAC and immediately went to work for Express, an American specialty fashion retailer. She was lured away by Louis Vuitton, the luxury leather luggage designer, which sent her to New York City and Paris. At its Fashion Valley mall location in San Diego, she became the store’s first associate to hit $1 million in sales, and was promoted to manage the company’s Fashion Island store.

Krista next was recruited to serve as a personal assistant to the owner of an interior design company for whom she worked for three years before branching out to the Orange County interior design firm, Fari International. “We did some amazing projects,” Krista said. Her work there also gave her the confidence to launch her own company called Motif in Newport Beach. Her expertise and experience were perfect for the job; her timing was less fortunate. October 2007 was the peak of the stock market, and also the crest from which it began to tumble. “Everything tanked,” Krista said. “The economy just killed us.”

In love with a duck!

Newly married and out of work, Krista took a couple of months to reassess her career options. The next move for this Louis Vuitton–bag toting young professional was one she never saw coming. At a career fair, she stuck her head in a room, where there was a company rep lonelier than the Maytag repairman. Partly out of curiosity and partly out of sympathy, she talked to the Aflac representative. “It was totally random, but we really got along and hit it off,” Krista recalled “I was really impressed with him and the company and wanted to learn more,” Krista said.”

“I’ve been in love with the duck every since.”

Krista started her new Aflac career in August 2008. A quick study, she obtained her health and life insurance licenses in about a week. But what was it about Krista and the duck that made the partnership such a great fit — so special, in fact, she decided to jettison her career in interior design and high retail and never look back?

“In retail, I would rarely see my clients again,” Krista replied. “Hey come in, they buy, that’s it. As an Aflac agent, I get to start relationships with my clients. They all have my cell phone number. I always say, ‘I hope you never have to call me,’ but heaven forbid, if you do, I’ll be there and Aflac will be there to help and support you.”

Aflac insurance policies, many of which are listed below, range in price from $2 to $14 a week.

·         Accident

·         Cancer/Specified Disease

·         Dental

·         Hospital Confinement Indemnity

·         Hospital Confinement Sickness

·         Hospital Intensive Care

·         Life

·         Long-term Care

·         Lump-Sum Critical

·         Short-Term Disability

·         Specified Health Event

·         Vision

“Aflac is insurance for daily living,” Krista said. “Major medical never covers 100%. There are always deductibles and copayments. If you have a loss of income, you have money to help cover your rent, your car payment, your prescription drugs. Aflac is your backstop for covering all those out of pocket expenses.

“Most of our claims take four days to process,” added Krista. “It pays cash directly to you on top of, or separate from any other benefit you have. And Aflac rates don’t go up when you file a claim.”

Many Aflac plans also come with wellness benefits. For instance, if you are a Cancer plan holder, Aflac pays you for mammography, pap smear and cancer screenings. “Aflac pays you for taking care of yourself,” Krista said.

Wellness, too!

There’s no medical exam to qualify for Aflac insurance, but you can’t obtain a policy, say, for cancer, if you already have cancer. Were you to hide a condition, submit a claim and your pre-existing condition were discovered after a check of your medical records, Aflac would return the premiums you had already paid, but would not pay out on your claim.

Krista shares this and other “Aflacts” to potential customers at their place of work, home or wherever else they’d like to meet. Many employers offer Aflac as a low-cost employee benefit that employees can pay for easily through convenient payroll deductions.

Coming up on her first-year anniversary with Aflac, Krista is philosophical about her career, believing that “it was meant to be.” An accident in the economy (okay, a crash) now has her selling accident insurance (Aflac’s most popular policy that covers everything, believe it or not, from a bee sting to a broken arm).

“I don’t really have to sell it, either,” Krista explained. “I just try to educate people about how they can better protect their families financially. I give people a chance to participate. People don’t realize how devastating an illness can be until they’re in one.”

Working for Aflac has also brought Krista back home to La Verne, where once a week she and new husband return to her mom and dad’s house for dinner. “We call it, ‘Gail’s café.’” That night, Gail was whipping up her classic, mac and cheese. Gail, a health clerk at Allen elementary in San Dimas, also happens to be the Allen Elementary Employee of the Year.

“My dad told me how fortunate I was to be doing something I really enjoy,” Krista said. “I feel really lucky to be associated with such a great company that offers the kinds of products that really help people when they need help the most.”

If you have questions about how Aflac works, or just want of those lovably annoying Aflac ducks, email Krista at or call (714) 456-9005 office.

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