The world lost a great soul this past week as beloved Jimmy Buffet left us for Margaritaville in the sky. While his loss saddened millions, his legacy lives on with so many lessons that we can learn from it.

Born in 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Jimmy learned to play guitar from a frat brother at Auburn University and eventually worked his way to Nashville to further his country career. His first album, Down to Earth, was released in 1970, selling 324 copies. Two years later, he found himself in Key West creating his own musical genre often referred to as island escapism.

While life may not always be a Cheeseburger in Paradise, he did teach us the importance of a work/life balance and the importance of finding the lifestyle that best suits our individual needs. Through his music, merchandise and experience we learned that “success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”.

His success came from creating a niche that he had fun with. It is a valuable lesson, as far too often people become cogs in the machine, losing their true sense of purpose. Jimmy never waited for someone to choose him, rather he created his purpose.

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons he taught us was the importance of having fun. Make no mistake, he was a hardworking, astute businessman with a net worth of a billion dollars. He achieved this by having fun with what he was doing and bringing the audience along for the ride.

From a musician’s perspective he was never considered the best guitarist or singer in the world, but he never let those concerns stop him from focusing on his greatest strength of telling a story that people would love. Whether he is singing about “wrinkles only going where the smiles have been” or us telling a story about what our businesses do best, he teaches us that the audience is our key to success and creating a unique and compelling story is the best way to achieve this success.

With the ebbs and flows we have seen over the course of our lives it often seems that “life is just a tire swing.” He was the definition of a purpose driven life, not thinking less of himself, but thinking of himself less, as he sacrificed for his businesses, family, friends and his adoring fans.

As Jimmy searches for his “lost shaker of salt”, we will continue to focus on finding your lost shakers of subrogation dollars as “searching is half the fun; life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.
In the end, he summed up his life perfectly, “I’ve got to go where the wind and the water are free.” R.I.P. Jimmy.

Chris Tidball is an executive claims consultant with SecondLook, a leading provider of subrogation services. His career has spanned twenty-five years in adjusting, management and leadership with multiple Top 10 P&C carriers and leading technology companies. He is the author of multiple books and the host of the Insurance Claims Innovation podcast. He can be reached at