USAA’s Fortune overseeing insurance company’s growth

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Kent Fortune is vice president and general manager of USAA’s operations in Colorado Springs.

He began his work at USAA in 1989 after graduating from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a bachelor’s degree in business. He went on to work in other markets but returned to USAA about a year ago.

Since that time Fortune has overseen several growth initiatives for USAA.

You earned a degree from UCCS then left the Springs market. What brought you back?

In 1997, I had the opportunity to relocate with USAA and broaden my job and experience. For the next 16 years, I had the wonderful opportunity to grow and develop within USAA and at our different locations. Then last year I was offered the vice-president/general manager position here at our Colorado Springs Campus and I had to say yes. Not only was this a great opportunity for me with USAA but also because my parents still live here in Colorado Springs and my sister and her family live up the road in Denver. Overall, I have lived in Colorado for more than 16 years and I’m thrilled to be back.

What are the most challenging issues facing the insurance industry today? What challenges will the next five years bring?

I can’t speak for the industry, but one of the issues on which USAA is focused is driver safety. We’re currently exploring a variety of approaches to help our members drive safely in all stages of life. We’re looking at everything from technology applications to providing timely and practical advice.

It seems that USAA has been on a growth campaign in Colorado Springs. What kind of growth has the company seen locally during the last couple of years?

USAA has expanded its footprint in the Colorado Springs market by adding a financial center, which provides our members another way to access USAA products, services and financial advice. In addition, USAA members can now deposit checks using USAA Easy Deposit at more than a dozen The UPS Store locations throughout the Colorado Springs area.

We also continue to add employees in Colorado Springs as our membership grows. We are committed to maintaining a strong, healthy company with outstanding service for today’s members as well as tomorrow’s.

Have USAA’s membership requirements changed during the last few years? Why or why not, and if so what have the advantages been?

In 2009, USAA opened its doors to all military veterans who have served honorably, no matter when or how long they served, as well as their families. The decision was a natural extension of USAA’s mission: To serve the financial needs of the men and women of America’s military community. Over the past nearly 90 years, the USAA family has grown by embracing a larger portion of America’s active duty, retired and separated military members. Opening our doors to all veterans who have served honorably helps to fulfill our mission.

As a Springs resident, what about the city would you most like to see changed?

Colorado Springs is a great community and we are honored to serve as the trusted financial advisor to local members of the military community and their families. We would like to see other businesses continue to focus on hiring veterans — especially as troops are transitioning out of the military. In addition, we are big believers in giving back to the community and many of our employees volunteer hundreds of hours per year. I’m on the YMCA, American Red Cross and Pikes Peak United Way boards and would encourage all organizations to consider ways they can help support the community.