Carrera Brothers collage

Carrera Brothers Story

Updated April 4, 2021 . AmFam Team

Moving from Ecuador to the U.S. as a teen, Alex did what it took to provide for his mother and brother, Victor. See how they fearlessly pursued the American Dream.

The American Dream. It’s a concept that resonates with most, and something many strive to achieve. And while we may define it differently, it boils down to two things — opportunity and freedom. For two brothers, one an American Family Insurance agency owner and another an employee, this was the recipe for success.

When Alex Carerra and his younger brother Victor were just boys, their mother moved them from Chicago back to Ecuador after she separated from their father, posing some changes and challenges that weren’t always easy for them to overcome.

“My mom’s family was still in Ecuador, so Victor and I moved back there with her while our father and older brother stayed in Chicago,” says Alex. “Moving to an unfamiliar, third-world country was hard. School was tough, and we were very poor. We lived in a small, two-room apartment with mud walls and unfinished wood floors. We had no hot water, and shared an outdoor bathroom with five other families.”

While times were tough and the situation not ideal, their mother had only one goal — for her children to get a good education and have a successful career. So, she enrolled Alex in military school, which gave him the structure and ambition he needed. Early on in his schooling, Alex decided he wanted to become an Air Force pilot and support his mother financially, but a failed vision test forced him to shift paths.

“When I found out I would never be able to fly a plane, I had no choice but to pursue a different dream,” shares Alex. “I would go work in America to support my mom and Victor.”

And so, in August 1991, when Alex was just 16, his mother bought him a one-way ticket to Chicago and gave him her last $30. He moved in with his father and older brother, attended the local high school and worked two jobs. But when he realized school just wasn’t challenging him, he made the decision to drop out and work for a car rental company. There, he discovered his talent for sales and was quickly on the path to management. As time passed and his ambition grew, he jumped to another sales job and then on to getting his insurance license. And in 1997, he became an American Family agency owner.

In all the steps of his journey, his primary goal remained constant — to make enough money to support himself, his new wife, young child and his mother and Victor back in Ecuador. So he put in the time and dedication to make his business grow, eventually allowing him to take on more staff. This opened up an opportunity for Victor to come to the states.

“I didn’t want to leave my mom by herself,” shares Victor. “Fortunately our oldest brother moved back to Ecuador, and I was able to move to Chicago in 1998, at age 17, to live with and work for Alex while attending school.”

Without Alex taking the leap to move back to the U.S. as a teen, Victor would likely never have had the opportunity to create the life he wanted. And by taking advantage of that opportunity and putting in his own hard work, Victor opened his own American Family agency in 2006.

Today, Alex remains a dedicated agent, primarily serving the Hispanic community of the Chicago suburbs. And Victor has since been promoted to the sales district leader for Illinois. They’ve both found a way to make their dreams a reality.

“I credit our mother for giving us both a can-do mentality,” says Alex. “She always said, ‘if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,’ and I firmly believe that. She supported my dreams over and over, and that inspired me to do the same for my brother, and now my sons.”

Support for Your Dream

Ever dreamed of opening your own business or maybe even your own insurance agency? We can help with that! Learn how to start your agency career today. In fact, we're here to help support any of your dream pursuits! Check out our helpful resources and articles that'll help guide you along your journey.

Related Articles

Related article test
  • D_WomensSmallBiz
    Tips for Women Business Owners — By Women Business Owners

    Are you a woman business owner looking for some inspiration, advice and support from like-minded women? We’ve got you! We interviewed five fierce American Family Insurance agency owners who are dominating their dream.

    Keep in mind, these women didn’t jump into a sea of success right away — it took hard work, determination and a fearless dreamer mindset to get where they are today. And guess what? Just like you, they’re working passionately every day to continue growing, learning and finding ways to stay motivated to reach their bottom line.

    From rationalizing fears and overcoming challenges to staying motivated and having work-life balance, these five women business owners have some advice for you — take a look!

    Never Let Anything Get in Your Way

    If you’ve ever used inexperience as an excuse to not go after a dream, you might have a change of heart after hearing Leticia Guzman’s story, an agency owner who says her career started because of her naivety.

  • IT professional volunteering using keyboard
    IT professional volunteering using keyboard
    How to Volunteer Your IT Skills

    If you’ve got a knack for IT and are seeking to use your personal and professional skills and talents to serve others, consider online IT skills-based volunteering — it’s an opportunity to work with a cause you’re passionate about, while using your best skills.

    Take it from Todd Micholic, an American Family Insurance IT career management advisor and longtime volunteer. Todd shared his experience with skills-based volunteering and how he’s been able to leverage his tech savvy IT skills to help others. Here’s what you need to know about online IT skills-based volunteering and how to get involved.