This blog was written by Lisa Miller and describes her experiences in becoming a young insurance agent.
Overwhelming is the best word I can think of to describe my first several months in the insurance industry. It was a tornado of new terms, abbreviations, and acronyms that I had never heard and had no idea what they meant. Similar to realizing you have walked into the wrong college lecture once it is too late to get up and leave, you pretend to know what everyone is talking about and hope someone reveals the answers along the way.
I started in insurance working for an independent agency about 9 months after graduating from college. I was 22, the baby of the office. This job was the first time that I was working with and interacting with people in a professional capacity that were 20, 30, and 40 years my senior. One of the most challenging things to adjust to in my new job was building the confidence to take real ownership of the tasks I was doing. Taking the mental leap from feeling like I was still "sitting at the kids table" to being confident in my abilities, analysis, and actions was difficult. This came from not only day to day experience of working, but also from the infinite amounts of educational resources that were at my fingertips. The learning potential within the insurance industry is in my opinion one of its greatest assets and benefits to people working in the industry. There will never be a point in time that there is nothing left to learn. The constant changes and new developments of both policy and regulations provide a constant need to never stop learning. This is the best way to keep your mind flexible and able to “go with the flow” as things are rapidly changing.
The majority of young people entering the workforce, like myself, have just recently finished school, whether that is college, trade school, or high school. The capacity to learn and absorb new information easily is still high. This ability to switch gears quickly and learn on the go is so beneficial when entering a fast paced workplace, somewhere that you really do learn something new every day. I believe that this really gives an advantage to young people entering the industry. Insurance needs more fast paced, forward thinkers that can change and shape the industry to match the pace of how our world is changing. So many other career fields are packed with innovators and thinkers that are “bright eyed and bushy tailed” about the future of our world and the rapid changes to our daily lives. The insurance industry is notoriously one step behind these changes. Even things that are so seamlessly part of our everyday lives like ride sharing services and smart homes that can be controlled from your cell phone are not so easy to properly protect. Insurance products and regulation need to be developed at the same pace of these new inventions.
One of the top three agency management systems is paper. As in a file cabinet filled with folders on each customer. I truly cannot imagine how working this way could be efficient. Today we all expect instant gratification, whether that’s a YouTube video that loads in .4 seconds, meals prepared and out the window in our car in 3 minutes, or getting an insurance policy issued and paid for and proof of insurance in 15 minutes. There is a huge opportunity here for offices to be completely revolutionized just by going digital. Tech savvy individuals will be able to quickly progress into important roles that can lead companies into the future, and incidentally provide better service to consumers just by being more accessible. Aside from just staying ahead of the game as far as creating new insurance products such as the increasingly popular and necessary cyber liability, there is room for technological advances as well.
There is a huge need for more and more young professionals to enter the insurance industry, and big opportunities in every single facet of the industry for those who have a thirst for knowledge and a desire to be one step ahead. One of the biggest eye openers for me is how diverse the insurance industry is as far as the scope of career options. Of course there are the customer service and sales roles of actually delivering the product to consumers, but it seems like every day I learn of more and more career paths in the industry. People that love numbers can find a home in an actuarial setting, analyzing past data and predicting future trends. Marketers can present insurance to the masses in a way that is easy to understand and help people make informed decisions about their protection. People with legal interest can join claims teams as claim investigators and legal consultants for insurance companies. Graphic designers and web developers can create easy to use websites and systems to be used by both companies and consumers. The number of career paths you can take is endless. The best way to attract new young professionals into the insurance industry is to really showcase and open up all the different options as far as careers within the industry.