3 reasons insurance is a brilliant career choice

Wha? You kidding me; insurance? Tell somebody you are in insurance and that will certainly clear a room; what’s that smell, did somebody just fart? Will you check your shoes please?

Trust me, I’m a doctor; I wouldn’t pull your leg…or your finger.

Just hear me out, and then decide if I’m full of it.

Top 3 reasons why insurance rocks as a career

  • Everybody, let me repeat that, everybody is going to buy insurance. You might not like it, and you aren’t going to be showing it off at the cocktail party, but you will buy it.

Most don’t actively think about the role of insurance in our society unless you are working in it every day. But life as we know it would come to a standstill without it. No money would be lent, no construction projects started, no workers employed, no homes, boats, cars or factories built or purchased. No development of new life saving drugs. Nothing. Zilch. Nil. Nada.

See, there is an economic benefit so you better be nice to it. Did I mention everybody will buy it?

I buy my insurance from the gecko, doesn’t Warren Buffet own that company…or was that Jimmy?

The gecko and it’s ilk is just the very tip of the iceberg, here is a sample list of insurances available that will be purchased by someone: life, health, auto, house, boat, aircraft, property, glass & sign, flood, EDP, accounts receivable, valuable papers, crime, equipment, cyber, workers compensation, excess liability, professional, accident, truckers, dealers, cargo, and garage just to name a few.

Regardless of what the economy is doing, people and businesses will still be buying insurance and that totals up to a lot of policies and a lot of service required. The industry is huge and somebody has to work in it, right?

Somebody is saying cha-ching.

  • Insurance companies and agencies are a business. And guess what, they need people to work in this industry just like Ford, Google and Exxon. And not just any people, but the sharpest and brightest. Between technology and ever changing exposures and appetites for risk, the industry needs the best of the best, the youngest and the brightest.

The industry has done a very poor job of attracting talent; the majority of people getting into insurance do it by happenstance rather than seeking it out. The industry does a very poor job on the agency side too of not only attracting talent, but having the proper platform in-place to train them once they walk through the doors.

But I hate insurance, and I don’t want people to hate me. Yeah, they hate it until they need it, and then they can’t have enough of it. Can you say tough-love?

My point is, the industry is wide-open and it’s huge. And even though everything revolves around the insurance product, there are many, many more career fields that are applicable in this industry as well. Did you know…in addition to sales, the other career fields you will find are HR, management, marketing, IT, service, PR, social media, risk management, claims, claims management, actuarial, legal, and accounting to just name a few.

Well, why didn’t you say so…

Did I mention everybody will buy insurance?

  • It’s so confusing, how could I even think about learning every product? Because the industry is regulated, most in the industry has to have some kind of license or another. And because of this, there is more than ample opportunities to continue your education in addition to the on the job training always available. Most settle into a certain specialty as opposed to being a generalist.

Because the general public is loath to actually read a policy, what a great opportunity for someone to take the time and become proficient in their niche and be able to provide credible, clear and concise advice. The person who can do that is worth their weight in gold.

And did I mention all the other career fields you will find in this industry. Become proficient in that and know insurance… priceless

I hear you, so now convince me

If you are an extrovert and like people, do we have a spot for you. If you are an introvert and prefer being behind the scenes, do we have a spot for you. Bottom line, there is a place and job for everybody and every personality type. If you like numbers, technology, creativity, networking, any and all and some of the above, sign on the dotted line.

What is the next step

Preach it, if you know people who are struggling in the current job market, seek out the insurance companies and agencies with your skill set and see what is available.

Have patience, but it’s an industry the cream will truly rise to the top faster than most industries. And if you can show how your skill set will help their bottom line, the sky is the limit.

Not only do I have a marketing degree, but also a degree in risk management-insurance. Did you know my school of risk management-insurance had a 98% placement rate when I graduated? Well, now you do…

Most young adults probably don’t think it’s a cool profession, but once you get in you will see how much technology is involved and I can personally attest it can be a fun profession too.

Do you believe?

If you don’t, you should, the door is wide open and the water feels just right.

Did I happen to mention, everybody will buy insurance.


36 thoughts on “3 reasons insurance is a brilliant career choice

  1. Hi Bill. I love hearing you sing the praises of insurance. It’s definitely an industry that, in my opinion, gets a bum rap. We have a client that sells niche specialty products and they have FASCINATING stories to tell. Crazy paragliders and pilots and rock stars…they all need coverage for the unexpected. They even sell kidnap insurance! I think you’ve made some compelling points. Perhaps I should consider a career change?

    • It’s never too late…

      I write the insurance for http://www.fantasyofflight.com/ and they have planes, boats, cars, balloons, zip lines, paint ball a restaurant and people, lots of people in the mix. Oh yeah, because of where they are located they also have an orange grove that is harvested we need to include as well. Fascinating as well.

      The people in this industry make it fascinating, and all have a story to tell.

    • Of course like any job, marriage, etc, it takes work and there are definitely some days much better than others. But when you look at the whole body of work, I couldn’t have found a job better suited to my personality.

  2. You had me at “technology.” Wow, you should definitely be the spokesperson for the industry. If you had to advise your industry organization about how to improve the reputation of the industry what would you do? First, they should re-publish this brilliant article. Second, they should hire you as a consultant. But third?

    • Make it understandable; don’t make every encounter a mystery. It seems when you have a claim or go to the doctor there is always some caveat that the experience didn’t quite meet your expectations; it feels like there is always going to be a ‘catch.’

      Because most of the lines of coverage have been litigated ad nauseum, it creates many twists and turns in the process. You have coverage here, they take it away there, but then give a little bit of it back later….

      If you set the expectations up front so there are no surprises, it will make for a much better experience when and if that claim occurs.

      • Those darn lawyers make everything so complicated!

        Insurance is fascinating because of all the different types of insurance. With health insurance in this country, people have grown to expect insurance to pay for all of our health care. We don’t expect our automobile insurers to pay for new tires or an oil change, yet we grouse when we have a co-pay or a deductible for a routine check up.

        I think I’ve told you before, I am a big fan of my insurance agent, even though I’ve never met him. He came through for me when we were moving to England and our big insurance company told us at the last minute that they wouldn’t cover our home with us living overseas, potentially causing us to default on our mortgage. I fortunately found a new agent who got me insurance at a very reasonable price.

        When I moved back from England, my father encouraged me to shop around insurance agents because I didn’t have any constraints any more. I refused, I am sticking with my agent and added coverage for our cars as well. He took good care of us when we really needed it and that’s exactly whom I want to do business with.

        • Yay, somebody that gets it. Unfortunately on the personal level of insurance it is way too easy to just shop for price. Our business model, even on personal insurance, is to seek out the higher end homes and the people who want to make sure they are covered properly and have someone to speak for them when the fit hits the shan. That’s not when you want to be calling a 1-800 number.

          The crazy thing about health insurance, everybody wants it but nobody wants to pay for it. Do you really think an office visit only costs a $20 co-pay? There are many things in the system broken that can be fixed and I think everyone should have access to health care, but Obamacare is compounding the problem, not curing it. Oh well. all this uncertainty just creates opportunities for us to stay on the front end and educate our clients and prospects.

          Yep, those damn Philadelphia lawyers have boogered up the policy language so bad it takes a judge and jury to interpret it. Most times, common sense should apply but because it has been litigated so much, that is not always the case.


  3. I started out in insurance before moving into pensions and you’re right when you say people often fall into insurance as a career because that’s what happened to me.

    I was always in the back office though sorting things out when the sales guys had gone out and done their stuff.

    I moved into pensions because I love numbers, not that there aren’t any in insurance but there are tonnes more in UK final salary pension schemes!

    Great to hear you still love your job after many years.

    • Fortunately I had some success early and it help build on other victories. I have seen many a person who I thought was much more talented and much more capable than me not make it. Because of the ups and downs on the sales side, sometimes you just have to be a survivor and be able to stick it out. Also fortunately for me, my current customers pay me every year. That makes 100% commission much more palatable…

      I have made much more money doing this than I could have anything else. And if I didn’t mention it above, I have total freedom to come and go as I please which works well for me. At the end of the day, you still have to sell and the numbers will eventually expose you one or another but it’s not a bad gig at all.

      It’s not for everybody, but I wish more young talented people would at least look into it; there really are some pretty cool things going on in here…:).

  4. Yup, that’s what I used to like about it (remember I was in agency service for 16+ years in Chicago and then down in South Florida). I can probably still cite chapter and verse about just about any line of coverage, and definitely can recite the GL coverages and exclusions by rote AND by form. The best part is getting to know all of the clients, with their diverse needs, and making friends. My favorite was always working as the equivalent to their outsourced risk management department. Insurance IS actually fun, at least in some respects. Not to mention the entertaining salespeople, of which you are clearly one 🙂

    • The sales people are always the likable guys, right? Way back in the day when every company had sales trips that was pretty cool; I’ve been to St Andrews, London, Geneva, Nice, Cannes, Whistler, Calgary, Colorado, Banff, TPC Sawgrass, Firestone, etc all on the insurance company’s dime.

      It can be a frustrating business at times, but because most of the forms are standardized it’s usually pretty much the same coverage for everybody. I try to make sure my customers know what is not covered and what it will cost to plug that hole. Our agency is much more involved on the risk management side and performance based insurance programs than just selling a policy. If we align with the right customers, who ‘get it,’ it makes for a much deeper relationship on a peer to peer basis than just a vendor.

      Maybe that is what I should write a book on, all the ‘characters’ I have met along the way, and there certainly have been many.

      Good to see you Julie.

    • My crossroad was initially accounting, until I got into the upper level classes and then it became marketing. One of the pre-requisites was an intro to insurance class. It really opened my eyes to the career fields available. It also happened that the girl I was dating at the time had a brother-in-law who was a St Farm agent who was doing pretty well and I thought “I can do that,” and the rest is history, huh?

      • I have an uncle who was a very high exec at a big 3 auto maker. When I was in high school, he took me to the office one day (we were visiting Detroit). I sat next to him at a conference table about as long as Bobby Bowden Field. One of the World’s Biggest Ad Agencies presented him with radio and TV commercials, which frankly, any random dude off the street could have outdone. I asked my uncle if they were paid well and he said, oh yeah. That’s when I knew I’d never be wanting for a job.

        • Follow the money, right? I saw how well my girlfriend’s BIL was doing with St Farm and I knew that was the job for me. Unfortunately at that time, unless you were a known athlete, most of the agency appointments were going to minorities. Is still worked out however, I got w/ an established independent agency and have many more arrows in my quiver than a St Farm agent can bring to the table.

  5. After I met you Bill, I have thought a lot about insurance, and I have been thinking that it’s a brilliant career to be in – even before this post. Like you said, everybody needs insurance. And, at least in Norway, the insurance companies are companies not a lot of people have a good relationship with. It’s a business that should have everything to gain by turning their marketing upside down 🙂

    Btw. I’d love to be in insurance, but not as a regular sales person, it seems to be a bit pushy. But, like a marketing strategiest or something. That would have been awesome.

    • I have never been accused of being pushy, that’s the advantage of selling a product people have to buy. Sometimes people need to be pushed to get them to pull the trigger and give the business to you, but that’s not really my style. I have probably missed some deals because of it, but probably picked some up too. Every deal/customer is different; that’s the beauty of it.

      Our carriers have marketing reps who visit the agents and talk about the products they are having success with and want to know if there is anything they can do to help the agents with their marketing efforts. These people are usually the ‘fun’ people too and the agents are always happy to see them because in this business, you can never have too many bullets in the gun…:).

      It’s never too late Jens…

  6. Commission only sales are the highest paid jobs in the world… especially in the financial industry!

    Did you see this post by Neil Patel? I must admit I thought I had seen every legal company structure there was; but this was a new one on me and one I found fascinating: http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/04/08/how-the-rich-are-getting-richer/

    You have certainly made some great points as to why insurance is a brilliant career choice… I can’t believe you didn’t mention the additional benefits, such as finding yourself on the golf course quite often maintaining and winning new accounts 😮

    Insurance is a fascinating industry, with those who own them usually being among the wealthiest individuals on the planet.

    That’s no accident.

    • Easy now, we don’t want to paint too pretty of a picture, or everybody will be trying to get in….just like social…:).

      Commission is good; lets just say fat boy hasn’t gone hungry.

      I’ll check out Neil’s post; sounds interesting.

      Good to see you sir.

  7. I always thought the saying about the only certainty was “death and taxes.” Are you trying to tell me its “death and insurance” now? Or taxes and insurance? No, wait. I guess after we all pay for our insurance we don’t have anything left for taxes so it has to be death and insurance. What was that sound? It might just be ole Ben Franklin rolling over in his grave.

  8. Enjoyed hearing the recruiting pitch for the industry! I’m a small business owner… so I have a love/hate relationship with insurance. We’ve discussed this; I have so many different policies that I want to cry. That being said, I actually would cry if I didn’t have the insurance.

    Like the free flow of capital, insurance plays a huge part in enabling economic growth. One thing people don’t tend to give insurance credit for is its importance in enabling entrepreneurship. Without insurance, only those who could self insure risks would take them. Small business would be crippled.

    I’d say more, but I have to go an renew a policy now.

  9. I think you said most people don’t pick insurance as a career but the other way around (insurance picks them) and fall into it. Yea I agree I looked at sales jobs.com and came across this NAA(national agents alliance) company. They are an insurance marketing company but they are starting their own insurance company too. The companies they market for are helping fund their new company. They said they have “partnered” with 14 or 15 of the top rated insurance companies and their videos actually taught me a lot about insurance. You can “hire” people under you and thats the part that turns me off until I comfortable with selling product myself. You are probably already thinking mlm but I like the fact they have relationships with 15 insurance companies and their lead generation is in house.They actually send out direct mail,etc to get “qualified” leads.When you sell a policy they start you off with like 55% of AP and as you sell more it moves up to 110%. Well if you are like at 80% and you have someone under you doing 55% of AP you get that 25% spread between the two(overrides?). Just imagine 3 people under you selling lets say 3 policies a week. cha ching.This has got me interested in insurance but I am wary about joining NAA. Hopefully I have not drank the kool aid with NAA. I am trying to get other opinions on it besides just NAA members. I can just sell policies but I am sure they encourage “hiring”(recruiting).If you check out NAA let me know and if not tell me where to find out about the insurance business. A risk management degree really I bet insurance companies are beating down your door

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