Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Fred Loya was born to immigrant parents in Santa, California. His mother had a well-established family and his father worked different jobs through his life until he financed his own grocery store. Loya worked on his family ranch right out of college, he was able to do book keeping and started buying cattle for the ranch. Through buying cattle, he met Bill Bur who became Loya’s employer. Bur later lost his business and became an insurance agent with Farmers Insurance. He influenced Loya to become an agent as well, despite objection from his wife. Loya became one of the most successful Farmer’s Insurance agents in El Paso in the 1970’s and decided to create his own business. After insurance became mandatory, Loya saw how unfair it was to sign minorities and low-income people because of high insurance rate. Loya saw his strength in auto insurance and enlisted his children in growing his business. He began Fred Loya Insurance in 1985 with liability insurance. It was an undersold business in El Paso because the majority of insurance agencies did not want to work with low-income people. Loya says life changed in 1995 when he began to issue his own policies. Loya turned his company over to his children in the early 2000’s. Loya faced discrimination when he was rejected by the insurance board in New York who doubted the company. Through changes in legislation, Fred Loya Insurance went through different policies in order to maintain a profit. He stuck to underserved communities throughout the southwest. Loya created a relationship with Frost Bank in San Antonio, Texas, which opened up opportunities for them. Loya implemented more training and offices for his team. His son also took on claims and the financial backing of claims. He plans on opening up a claims headquarters in San Antonio and keep El Paso as their main headquarters. Fred Loya Insurance employs around 2,200 people. His vision is to see the company continue to grow and to continue to employ El Pasoans.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Interview with Fred Loya by Homero Galicia, 2009, "Interview no. 1540," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.