Louis T. Mastos passed away in Reno, Nevada, on March 21, 2020. He was 98 years old.
Nearly everyone connected to the insurance industry in Nevada knew of Louis T. Mastos. Many knew him personally. He was an icon in insurance for nearly 60 years.
Lou Mastos was born in Los Angeles, California on April 7, 1921, and attended Louisiana Tech and Tulane University. He served in the USNR from 1942 to April 1946 during World War II.
Lou married Eva Bedolli Mastos on May 18, 1947 in Los Angeles. They had two children and moved to Reno in 1956. They had been married 71 years when Eva passed away in 2018.
Louis T. Mastos was the Nevada Commissioner of Insurance from 1965 to 1971. It was during his tenure as Commissioner when, during the 1969 session of the Nevada legislature, the laws regulating insurance were largely rewritten. After SB39 finally passed, over 40% of insurance law was completely new language. Records at the legislature indicate that Commissioner Mastos played a key role in many legislative hearings where the original draft was debated, amended, and revised prior to passage.
In 1971 Louis T. Mastos & Associates, Inc. was founded in Reno, Nevada as a managing general agency and surplus lines broker. Louis T. Mastos practically pioneered the business of bringing markets to agencies throughout the state via his MGA. He didn't invent the concept, but as a former Commissioner of Insurance, he recognized a vacuum in the business and began filling it. It is safe to say he literally saved a fair number of small insurance agencies in Nevada by opening a marketplace for them to sell all kinds of insurance they could never get anywhere else. And he gave insurance companies with narrow product lines a market penetration where they could never have obtained it otherwise. He often traveled the state to personally meet insurance agency principals. His knowledge, skill, and endearing personality resulted in wide admiration from insurance agency owners across Nevada.
Louis T. Mastos & Associates eventually had offices in Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, AZ, and Santa Rosa, CA. Many will remember that he sometimes answered the phone by saying, “World Headquarters of Louis T. Mastos."
Lou was President of the AAMGA for the term 1985-1986. While President of the Association he felt that the rapidly growing Association needed more structured financial control. He is credited with creating the office of the Secretary-Treasurer and appointing the first person to hold the position. Lou was noteworthy in the Association for encouraging younger members to get involved in AAMGA activities.
In addition to the AAMGA, Lou was a member of the Prospectors Club, National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices, Emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Insurance Hall of Fame, Nevada Surplus Lines Association, and Board of Directors of Frontier Adjusters of America, Inc.
Lou remained active in the business, going to the office a few hours most days. He continued making agency calls and attending industry meetings until only a few years ago. Nearly everyone in the Independent Insurance Agency plant in Nevada will have a fond memory of knowing Louis T. Mastos.
Message from James L. Wadhams, Esq.
Louis T. Mastos, “Lou" or to all who ever met the man was a friend and mentor who should be remembered as a not only a valued contributor to the insurance industry in Nevada but a person whose stature as a man far exceeded his height. Lou placed the ultimate value on relationships based on honesty and trust. He was kind to all but in appropriate circumstances tough yet fair with those who might have drifted off course. He was the second Insurance Commissioner in Nevada. Through the first half of the 20th century, insurance was regulated by the State Controller but somewhere in the 50's the legislature shifted that responsibility to the newly created office of Commissioner of Insurance. Paul Hammel was the first and Lou, having been Hammel's deputy was made the second person to hold the office. I came to Nevada in 1975 to work under the third Commissioner, Dick Rottman and was introduced to Lou. He greeted the “new kid" without any hesitation and offered to help me transition into Nevada and learn about the insurance industry here. Lou's knowledge was deep but his understanding of Nevada was even deeper and he shared it with me freely. His advice was level headed and always reflected a perspective of taking the long view. "Things go in cycles and so does the insurance market place", he would say. We were a much smaller state back then but we still are small today. Things do go in cycles and the long view is important. Thank you for your contribution to all who knew you. I will miss you my friend but I will never forget you, your kindness to me and the lessons that have stood the test of time. God bless you, Louis T. Mastos.
God Bless Lou I worked with him for many years. William Allen Kaercher, Kaercher Insurance
Louis was a kind gracious man. He made our industry better. We are better that he was apart of us! Tom Burns, Cragin & Pike
Agent News is the NIIA monthly e-newsletter. All members and partners will receive the newsletter in their in box on the second Thursday of the month.
For advertising information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org