Floricua-Katiry-González Before opening her insurance agency Katiry González spent almost a year traveling back and forth from Florida to San Juan, every month.
Image courtesy of Katiry González

Not being fluent in English didn’t stop the insurance broker from positioning her company in first place among three Florida counties while helping the Latino community.

Katiry González was born with a gift for sales. A desire to learn, an innate curiosity, love for prosperity, and a fearlessness in taking risks helped her sharpen her skills in the world of sales. Now, she owns an insurance company in Kissimmee, Florida.

González worked as a sales associate in a jewelry store, where she later became an assistant manager. 

RELATED: How Sheila Báez Lost Everything and Then Remade Her Life in Orlando

After 10 years in the jewelry industry, González learned about health insurance and liked the idea of becoming a salesperson for the industry.

“When I got to know the insurance world, I was impressed by the commissions people could receive. I asked for an interview with Medicare y Mucho Más. They didn’t hire me as a salesperson; they told me they could offer me a position as a promoter. Basically, it’s an unpaid job. They give you a car allowance and pay you by the number of new insurance customers responding to the sales materials distributed,” she told The Americano.

“I decided to take the job because I wanted to be in the field. I started in May and in September the manager told me, ‘I remember you told me you were interested in a sales position. By October we will be hiring salespeople. If you work as a salesperson and do not meet expectations, you lose both positions.’ I decided to take a risk. I started my new position in October and by November I had the highest numbers. They offered me a permanent position,” González remembered.

Three years later, González realized that in Florida she could work with all of the health insurance companies as an independent broker. By then, her husband Alex Dávila also became a salesperson in the insurance industry.

In 2015, they both received an attractive offer from a company in Florida, so they relocated to Kissimmee. Soon after, they realized the opportunity was not what they thought it would be, so Katiry called her former boss in Puerto Rico in MCS Classic Care and explained the situation. Because she was an independent salesperson, MCS let her work with them again.

“I decided to travel every month from Florida to Puerto Rico. As I already had my connections, doctors, and clients as a reference. I just bought the ticket to go back and the calls started coming in. I would spend three weeks in Florida and one week in Puerto Rico for a period of 10 months,” the insurance broker told The Americano.

RELATED: WATCH: Alexandra Osorio Traded Basketball for Scissors

González has four children. The oldest daughter is from her husband’s previous marriage. She has lived with the couple since she was 10 years old and helped them to take care of three younger siblings. 

Initially, it was difficult for González to understand Florida’s health insurance system. Although she had a license to work in the industry, it wasn’t until she met Julio Ramos, a Dominican agent, that she understood how to enter the field.

“He told me that as an independent broker you create your own business. You learn by reading and taking online courses. In this situation, you are your own boss. He had me work in a promotional booth, and I studied with dedication because the Medicaid system in Florida is very different than the one in Puerto Rico.”

A year later, González was a group leader, as she had 500 enrollments under her belt. 

Two years ago, she and her husband established their company, Gosen Insurance Group. The name “Gosen” refers to a biblical locale symbolizing fertility. The fecund company has paid homage to its name, becoming the number one open-enrollment entity in Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties, even though it has fewer agents than larger companies. And all this without Katiry being fluent in English.

“What is key is that I train independent brokers as if they were unpaid salespeople. I give them a promotion booth and promoters. Their goal is to have 12 to 15 monthly enrollments. Our focus is on serving people.

Most of the sales force is Latino. González has hired Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and a Haitian, who came from different backgrounds, such as nursing and publishing. She offered them the training she had to acquire on her own.

“I have agents who do not speak English. They were settling for jobs that paid $8–9 an hour. Now, they have been able to buy their own homes and realize their dreams. I made myself. I am helping people who come to this country with the fear of not knowing the language and therefore settle for a low salary.”

She serves the Latino community. Doing her job, she’s realized many people, especially the elderly, do not receive services they qualify for because nobody provides them with information. So when they arrive at her office, the first thing she does is check for benefits that might apply to them.

“Medicare ads do not explain there is help available for medication and other services. They don’t explain that the state pays for their Part B. We have discovered how many people pay their $144.50 for Part B when sometimes all they get from Social Security is some $700. We get the state to pay those fees.”

Customers’ gratitude is Katiry and Alex’s greatest satisfaction. They bring the community closer together with gatherings at their office, so people can get to know each other better.

“According to the Bible, all those who live in Gosen will prosper: this has been the case for all of us. Our salespeople can testify to that.”

RELATED: Floricua of the Week: Activist Denise Díaz Hopes These Protests Actually Lead To Real, Much-Needed Change