North Shore Risk Management is a boutique insurance brokerage firm, with a focus on tailored, personal insurance solutions for successful individuals and families. This involves coverage for homes, private passenger, classic and antique vehicles, art, wine, jewelry and other unique collections, excess liability umbrella policies, boats, yachts and rental properties.
Joel Harris, owner of North Shore Risk Management, has been writing insurance coverage throughout Illinois and the rest of the country for close to twenty years. He started his agency to help educate his clients about the most nuanced of coverages – while providing an exceptional client experience. Joel and his family live in Wilmette, where he is an active board member for New Trier High School’s hockey program. He also serves as Vice President of Andrea’s Hope Foundation, which provides financial assistance to individuals impacted with a terminal cancer diagnosis.
When he was only two years old, Joel’s parents moved the family to Glencoe, IL, located in the northern suburbs of Chicago. They did so to take advantage of the award-wining schools while maintaining close proximity to Chicago and Lake Michigan. Joel’s father was a world-renowned commercial photographer in his heyday – having taken pictures of every famous person imaginable. He vividly recalls his younger days when his dad would surprise him by skipping school in order to meet his childhood idols such as Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Magic Johnson and many other high-profile celebrities. He has always known celebrities to be ordinary people with really cool day jobs. Perhaps this is why he is comfortable insuring high-profile clients, attorneys, business owners, traders, doctors, consultants, private equity financiers, etc. As talented as Joel’s father is with a camera, as evidenced by the photos throughout this website, it was his mom who was the true gold standard in their family.
Joel’s mother lived a life that was filled with personal accomplishments. This included a career that started at age 15 in the fashion industry, as a Saks Fifth Avenue model, where she later met her future husband, an accomplished photographer working on some of the largest national advertising campaigns. She went on to design a sport jacket worn by President Gerald R. Ford during his presidential candidacy. A few years later she ran with the Olympic Torch in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Torch Relay after a rigorous five-month vetting process. The odds of her qualifying for this honor were “one ten thousandth of a percent”. In fact, the original torch happens to be in the family’s possession to this very day. Joel’s mom also etched her name in the Guinness Book of World Records for organizing and running in the fastest 24-hour women’s relay. She competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Trials for Velodrome bike racing after overtraining while running 140+ miles each week and incurring too many leg injuries – all while serving as an award-winning national sales executive at Adidas and subsequently Reebok.
Her true calling was answered when she headed to the Art Institute of Chicago for drawing classes in her early 50’s. This led to international recognition in art galleries throughout the United States, Italy and other parts of the world. Perhaps her most meaningful professional accomplishment was a series of 50 oil paintings as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. This unfortunate event resulted in her “Women of Courage” collection – consisting of fifty separate oil paintings of prominent women from the Middle East, Europe and the United States. This included contemporary Women of Courage such as Oprah Winfrey, but equally if not more important, Middle Eastern women who were accomplished but hidden behind their veils. Unfortunately, her life was cut short at age 69 due to ovarian cancer but her legacy lives on through Andrea’s Hope Foundation.
It’s hard to believe that Joel and his brother would somehow fall into insurance agency ownership coming from this pedigree. His brother runs a very successful independent agency in Florida while Joel has chosen to do the same along Chicago’s North Shore. Joel and his brother often talk about the drive and determination they inherited from their parents. Their upbringing is clearly a major reason they have been successful in growing their respective practices while always keeping their client’s best interest at the forefront.
After graduating from New Trier High School and shortly before acquiring his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago, Joel was teaching hockey to make ends meet. This is where met his wife, Amy, where she was teaching figure skating. After subsequently dabbling in real estate, Joel continued his search for a new career path. His brother had decided to move to Florida, while encouraging Joel to interview for the exact same position he was giving up at State Farm. This was the beginning of what would turn into a long, successful career in the insurance business.
After quite some time, Joel accepted a more fruitful opportunity with TrueNorth Companies, one of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the United States. With a dozen locations throughout the country, 450 employees and approximately 100 million dollars in annual revenue across all departments, Joel helped implement TrueNorth’s personal lines Private Client platform. While at the company, he finished each year as the top personal lines producer, measured by new business revenue, regularly outperforming many of his commercial lines counterparts. After years of new business growth and several new hires, Joel decided to forgo an otherwise secure position to pursue his dream of agency ownership. Armed with experience, knowledge and complete control over the day-to-day operations, North Shore Risk Management was born into existence.
With nearly 20 years of personal lines insurance experience, Joel Harris specializes in protecting successful individuals and families throughout the United States. His expertise, professionalism and access to industry-leading carriers offer Joel the ability to insure multi-million-dollar dwellings from planning and construction to moving day.
Beyond homes, Joel is experienced in offering protection for private passenger, classic and antique cars, excess liability and coverage for cherished art, jewelry, wine and other unique collections. From yachts to multi-unit investment properties, and household staff to international markets and not-for-profit leadership roles, Joel brings a consultative approach to his clients, evaluating risk and offering solutions and alternatives.
Joel was raised in Glencoe, Illinois and currently resides with his family in Wilmette, Illinois. In his spare time, Joel serves as the board vice president for Andrea’s Hope Foundation and enjoys watching his son play hockey for New Trier’s Hockey Club – where he also serves on the Board of Directors.
Throughout my career and dating back to childhood, I have always been comfortable meeting new people and creating lasting relationships. This has led to a loyal client base centering around trust – which is why 98.5% of my clients continue to work with me year in and year out. In return, my mission is simple: to provide a healthy balance between premium, coverage and claim handling, resulting in VALUE.