PHOENIX – Insurance expert, Rob Salas launched Tribal Indemnity, LLC, to serve tribal governments, tribal enterprises and 638 programs. Tribal Indemnity provides in-house, licensed and professional, insurance program management. The business operates within an innovative model and guiding principles – work directly with and for the tribes, efficiently manage costs and portfolios, dramatically reduce cost, negotiate fair cost saving agreements, and invest into the community.
The business hosted a launch event on January 19 at its office location on Central Ave and Thomas Rd. Salas brings professional, forward thinking strategies, with an augmentation of confidence for insurance management. His extensive experience in the industry, as well as his network in Indian Country, afforded him the foundation and knowledge, to start his business at a very minimal cost.
Salas understands that staring a business would be a risk.
“You have to have a certain level of risk tolerance, and thankfully my wife has faith in me,” he explained. “You have to have risk tolerance, capital put aside, and belief in Indian Country. I believe that if I invest my time, my effort and my energy in Indian Country, this is going to work.”
Salas opened his own Famers Insurance agency in 2005 which he ran with his wife Kim until he later took another opportunity and was introduced to Alternative Risk Transfer insurance programs. “It’s like the backend of insurance,” he described. In 2013, he led the tribal unit of another firm and handled the volatilities of working with tribes and their entities.
What Salas had noticed while working with tribes was that the people, who are making the decisions, are non-native people and their scope and interest are limited to what they know.
“They are very professional and hired to do a task,” he explained. “But when they go home at the end of the day, they’re taking their kids to Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts meetings and we’re taking our kids to Morning Star [native youth leadership council meetings].”
Last year, Salas had felt that it was time to put onto paper and into action the skills and ideas he has gained over a decade in the insurance industry and his understanding of tribal economic development, sustainability, succession planning, and self-determination.
“I realized this is a calling. This idea had been manifesting for about six months, to put forth an emphasis and effort of working internally for the tribes,” said Salas. “Managing the small cost piece as well as driving down the total cost of risk and assisting in placing mechanisms for training and support services for their staff and education for tribal leaders regarding decisions coming down the pipe.”
Originally from Los Angeles, California, Salas is a descendant of the Luiseno La Jolla, Band of Mission Indians. He has lived in Arizona since 1992. He and his Kim Moore-Salas have been together for 20 years. They are the proud parents of three beautiful daughters.
Their family looks forward to the success of the business and giving back to the community. They want to catch the interests of the youth the up-and-coming young native professionals coming out of the Universities and to develop partnerships between businesses and communities to create opportunities for the large youth native populations, both on and off reservations.
“What I thought about him and I venturing off on our own business was bringing community work together, showing our daughters how to work for something on their own, and then give back to the community,” Moore-Salas explained. “Morning Star brings a lot of that into what they do with other youth groups.”