I started my career as an elementary school teacher at the wonderful age of 22, ready to make my mark on 30 sixth graders. Yes that is correct, 30 12-year-old kids with raging hormones in a classroom the size of a two-car garage. Not to mention a tough former marine as the school principal.
Although, I would love to share my experiences during this time period, I think you can figure it out, especially if you’ve ever had a pre-teen in your home. Let’s just say I “matured” quickly!
After two years of teaching those wonderful kids and thinking that I was going to be an educator for the rest of my life, I received a beautifully typed letter from the school district indicating the budget was not passed, resulting in some layoffs. Well, being the rookie of the district with the least amount of tenure, I was let go at the same time I was getting married. Welcome to the real world at the ripe old age of 24.
As luck would have it, one of my closest friends told me about an entry-level job with a national carrier. The first thing I told her was, “Who wants to work in insurance? No one likes insurance and I am not applying!” Well, it’s 30 years later and this industry and the decision I made to become part of it is one that I truly learned to embrace as a rewarding career. Over the years, I’ve established many values that have helped me achieve success in the insurance business.
- Hard work
- Being the best at what you do and showing your excellence!
- Exceeding expectations
- Helping others to be successful
- Being charitable with your time
- Having a sense of humor
- Being a problem solver
- Accepting feedback as a blessing
I believe these values apply in any career that you take seriously. I try to use these attributes every day when working with my peers, whether it’s a manager, representative of an insurance association, or an independent agency partner. Each person you interact with in your career has a different approach to and style of the way they do business. I have always felt it’s one of my main responsibilities to figure out the best way to work with colleagues to achieve our mutual objectives. I use my “top 10” daily as a compass to guide me, whether I’m helping handle a tough claim, building a relationship with a new independent agent, or simply listening to a peer’s concerns about a particular situation.
It’s my belief that you, as an insurance consumer, should look for these same attributes in your independent agent as well as your insurance carrier. In today’s competitive business world, it can be difficult to know which of the many options you’re presented with is the best fit for you. These ten values are a great place to start!