When I wasn’t looking, insurance found me. As time goes on, the future of insurance is going to need many more producers like me.
My summer job was at the local library. I liked books, reading, writing. What endeared me to the head librarian – I could find anything and I knew my way around a computer. If they needed to find a misfiled book or online reference material, I was given the task.
Fresh out of college with that handy English degree, I needed money to do a master’s in library sciences, so I became a girl Friday at the local temp agency. The first job they gave me was, at an excess lines broker., They needed a marketing assistant with minimal file clerk duties. I dove in gladly.
The first couple of weeks, I spent rewriting copy on company forms and brochures in the morning and filing in the afternoon. I was a good worker, so when one of the underwriting assistants went on maternity leave, they gave me some of her duties in place of filing.
As an underwriting assistant, I had to review the paper applications, set up the file, and get the needed additional information before it went to the underwriter to renew, quote and approve. At this, I excelled.
It was like every fiber of me came alive. As my knowledge of the business grew, I found more and more things to expand the application. I would pester underwriters about better pricing on the commercial policies submitted, opportunities for expansion of coverage, and any questionable submissions. I also excelled at filing since I was cleaning up the current files and finding all the lost ones.
That carrier kept me on after my temp papers expired and then made me a full-time underwriting assistant. I stayed for two years until my husband’s job moved us away. I wasn’t deterred, though. My career in library sciences was left behind. As soon as we were settled, I started my search again for an insurance job.
Six months later, I found my permanent place at Prudential at their, now defunct, Property/Casualty department. I started there as a licensed call center representative. My skill set expanded three-fold. Not only was I constantly in search mode, but now I was trained and molded into a representative that could acquire and use information from a conversation with an insured. Almost like a doctor asks a patient about their history so they can determine the best mode of medical treatment.
There are some companies that use the information obtained from the insured to sell the current ‘hot product’ or to deny coverage. What drives me every day is the challenge of finding the missing coverage or discount.
Yes, we’ve sold them the basic home and auto policies, but what are their assets like? Do they have boats, planes, renters? Do they have a medical device that should be scheduled? Are they doing Rideshare for extra money? Do they have pets? If I sold them a life policy, I could bring down the auto policy price? What discounts are we missing?
I don’t know what insurance experiences that person on the phone has had to this point, but I’m here to help. I think Hillary Clinton put it best, “we’ll hold out our hand; they have to unclench their fist.” Once you break the ice, and they feel comfortable, showing the respect to care about coverage, not just the sale, should mean everything.
Since my time at Prudential, I have worked at several other companies in claims, underwriting, and sales. You can imagine it brightens my day to find a new insurance person who has the same ideas and passions as me.
As I look to the future of insurance, with all the Insurtech and IoT innovations, the need for an agent who is willing to have a conversation with the insured will be invaluable.
It's amazing how in insurance we can making a different simply by focusing on being good conversation partners. Here's Katie's story.