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September 23
10:18 2022


Colleagues may say goodbye via retirement, but we can capture their wisdom and insight

Personally, I enjoy that my interactions with others,

and not just producers, allows me to add to my insurance acumen.

By Michael Wayne

“Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?” —Voltaire

You may subscribe to the notion that the state of the world is our “new normal.” You may be inclined to feel this is simply our “current reality.” At this point, I am squarely on the side of the fence that is glad to be back in the office and able to enjoy working and learning from everyone I have the opportunity to interact with on a daily or more flexible basis. Some of my colleagues have become strictly remote workers, some come in on specific days of the week, others only when absolutely necessary.

I like being in the office. I live close enough that the drive is not exhausting, and I get the feeling that I am not alone in this thought. In this day and age, when we can be anywhere in the world with a simple click of a button, I believe the less ability we have to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world the better. You may not share this opinion; I get that. My younger colleagues would probably roll their eyes at that notion. Personally, I enjoy that my interactions with others, and not just producers, allows me to add to my insurance acumen.

Just last week, I was having a conversation with one of our agency’s data analysts. Within two minutes, she was able to clear up something for me and my team that had been a thorn in our side for three days. This was not a “data” obstacle, per se, and not something that any of us would have ever sought her advice about. She had encountered something with a previous team outside of the insurance industry two years prior, however, and was able to see things from an angle we had not conceived of, much less considered.

As more and more of our colleagues say goodbye via retirement and we hustle to replace them in the ranks, here are five tips from seasoned insurance professionals that I have picked up along the way.

Homes are built one brick at a time
We often lead hectic lives as producers. There are highs and lows, and it’s easy to get emotionally entangled in whichever we are experiencing in the moment. Remember that you are building a career though. Just like a house, you can’t put the roof on until the framing is up for the walls. You have to focus on the daily grind that is going to get you where you ultimately want to be many years, decades actually, from when you start. Keep the long-term in mind and do so with the understanding that today, tomorrow, this week, next week, this month, next month, and so on are the vehicles for getting you there.

Relationships are the key to your success … or failure
Our business is cutthroat. That does not mean you should treat people without regard or just use them to get what you want before discarding them. What you should be doing is figuring out how you have a mutual benefit to everyone you encounter at the office and out in the world. You never know what your goodwill will yield. You can be certain, however, that treating people like they are worthless because they can’t benefit you in the moment will ultimately hinder you in some way.

Your agency’s horrible leader does not work everywhere
Before you end up staying at an agency for too long and become miserable because of the leadership …  make a move. If you have what it takes to succeed, someone else will recognize that, and this applies to everyone in our industry in any role. If your boss or bosses are not responsive to your reasonable needs, it’s time to find someone who will be. If you don’t feel like you are being supported, it’s likely you are going to feel like your clients are not getting everything they could be from a resources standpoint, as well. Don’t let a competitor prove that to them.

Believe in what you are doing
Whether you are a producer, an accountant, in loss control, in claims—regardless of what your agency role is—you need to believe in what you are doing and for whom you are doing it. If what you are selling to a client or prospect doesn’t make sense to you, it’s unlikely they will see the sense in it either. If you can convince them, despite your misgivings, how will you ever really feel fulfilled in your job? While the public does tend to look at insurance as a bottom-line cost decision, you have likely seen what happens when people or organizations are underinsured and how disruptive that can be, especially when piled on top of a life-altering event.

Stay proactive, particularly in the good times
At some point in your career, you’re going to feel like you can do no wrong. Prospects are going to sign with you like a row of falling dominoes, referrals are going to drive business your way, and client organizations will be printing money. There is sometimes no telling when that can all suddenly stop. An unexpected virus and draconian government safeguards may run your clients out of business. High interest rates may cause your clients to shelve expansion plans. Supply chain issues may disrupt others’ abilities to produce their products. A war could break out and—you get the idea. While you are reveling in the good times, take advantage of them, as well. Work smarter and harder. Have fun, but not outside of your means. Neither the good times nor the bad times last forever.

The author

Michael Wayne is an insurance freelance writer.

About Author

Rough Notes Editor

Rough Notes Editor

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