A family member’s request led Jack Hignett into the insurance industry after a 25-year career in the restaurant industry.
Hignett, 59, is a general adjuster and property supervisor for Houston-based Gulf Coast Claims Service. He joined the family-owned independent adjuster in 2005 after a request for help following Hurricane Rita, which made U.S. landfall less than a month after Hurricane Katrina.
The Silsbee, Texas, native took the job to work in the rural area where he grew up because he was familiar with the region.
“And I loved it,” he said. “And I’ve been doing it ever since, going on 16 years now.”
Hignett started as an adjuster before moving into marketing. He’s worked in his current role for about two years and handles insurance defense work, supporting the insurance company’s defense if sued. He’s also responsible for claims supervision and oversees field adjusters.
“I do a little bit of all of it,” he added.
Primarily, the company handles claims throughout Texas for global insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London. The company’s adjusters inspect and report on damages and losses for claims. As a supervisor, he ensures the reports are completed timely and adequately before being sent to Lloyd’s.
“They insure everything, like Tom Brady’s arm … spaceships … all kinds of stuff,” he said. “Domestic carriers, like State Farm and Allstate, don’t insure things outside of the normal: homes, cars and RVs. … Lloyd’s of London insures about everything.”
Gulf Coast Claims Service completes between 2,000 and 3,000 claims annually, and Hignett is one of three or four employees who ensure they are completed correctly. He conducts inspections throughout Texas and travels some.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the business. The company handled more claims in 2020 than in 2019, Hignett said.
Hignett was the Powerhouse Seafood & Grill owner in Fayetteville when the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named him to the Forty Under 40 class in 1998. He remained the owner until 2000 and sold the business.
He had plans to open multiple restaurants, including a second location at Village on the Creeks in Rogers.
“When we got ready to open a second one, we hit a snag,” he said. “We decided it would be best if we sold it and moved on.”
He moved back to Texas and started working for Landry’s in San Antonio. He managed the Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants in the city for about two years before moving back to Houston to work for Brinker International. He ran Chili’s restaurants in Houston for Brinker for about three years until joining Gulf Coast Claims Service.
“I got out of the restaurant business after 25 years,” he said. “It was good. I enjoyed it. But just the way life rolled on; I got into the insurance adjusting business.”
Though Powerhouse was the only restaurant he’s owned, in June 2020, his family opened a gift shop in Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb where he lives. His wife, Chrissy, and daughter, Ally, run The Brook Home & Gift, and it’s been successful, he said. He looks to see it grow.
In 1984, Hignett earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Houston. He was the food and beverage director at the Houstonian for six years before moving to Fayetteville.
“Opening Powerhouse as young as I was … a lot of fun,” he said. “We started Party on the Patio. We stayed on the edge of the community as it was growing. Back then, Bud Walton [Arena] hadn’t opened. The Walton Arts Center wasn’t there. The only thing down on Dickson Street at the time was George’s, the library, and everybody wanted us to go up to the mall. We didn’t want to do that. We wanted to stay down by the university.”
Hignett has three children, who are 40, 34 and 31. They were 7, 4 and 1 when his family moved to Fayetteville.
He returns to the area at least twice each year to visit friends and attend football games. Hobbies include going to beaches, fishing and spending time with grandchildren. He also likes to attend games at different NFL and MLB stadiums each year.