Why I Love Insurance: Intellectual Curiosity or Professional Stagnation – My Choices

I’m not an insurance nerd, possibly the furthest thing from it. As a matter of fact, I used to loathe insurance. I’m one of those folks who took the licensing test twice, which made me think, back then “Hmm, maybe I am a nerd, a really dumb nerd.” I left the insurance industry and thought I would never, ever go back. I often thought that I wasn’t good at it, or maybe I didn’t want to relearn it all over again. I thought I knew as much about it as I ever would want to know. And four years later, I was back and learning more than I ever had!

I was flattered when I was asked to work at my friend’s agency. Someone saw something in me that I didn’t even realize I had. I felt worthy and smart. After twelve years of being an insurance agent, I’d come to a place where I felt very burnt out and very complacent, so I decided to shift gears. I was tired of doing the same thing over and over with absolutely no incentive. I did not know, until way later, how important the residuals are, and my contract did not include that. I went from feeling worthy and smart to feeling like just another employee. I had no interest, I was bitter. I stopped striving to be better. I stopped challenging myself. I forgot how important experience and knowledge is. I had come to my breaking point, so it was time to move on. When the time came to switch gears again, I thought, “I’m going to get my real estate license.” I paid the four hundred and fifty dollars for the online classes, hit the submit button, and literally moments later thought, “I don’t want to be a realtor.” I didn’t want to start the learning process of something foreign to me all over again. It was clear to me that I was going to stick with what I already knew; Insurance! This time was going to be different; this time was going to be better. 

When I first started out in this industry, I was an agent/CSR. I had no clue what liability and bodily injury even meant. I would shy away from asking clients more questions because I was afraid of stumbling through trying to answer any questions that they may have for me, I was sure I looked and sounded like a Train wreck. I would keep myself in this sort of comfort zone to know just enough to get by. I didn’t know how difficult it would be to learn all I needed to know about insurance, the carriers, and keeping up with the ever-constant changes. Sometimes I would even shy away from trying to learn more because I just didn’t get it. I didn’t know how overwhelming this industry would be, yet I stuck it out and learned a little more every day. I went from tears of fear and feeling like I was failing, to slowly but surely feeling much more confident and comfortable. I started having conversations about coverages and endorsements and I would speak with such pride because it was all finally starting to make sense. I began to learn how important it is to ask more questions, to understand the risk in its totality and take care of the client’s needs more holistically. I was starting to learn that I had to be patient and yet aggressive enough to choose to learn daily. This time was better, and the hard work was paying off.

What I would like to be clear about is how important it is to never give up and never sell yourself short. If I could have Old Trenny talk to Young Trenny, I would tell her that sweating all the small stuff is really a waste of time because, with time, things will come. To give herself a break and a pat on the back, because she kept trying, kept learning, even when she thought it was impossible. To realize that this is an exceptional industry with so much opportunity and job security. I would remind her that she is not going to know everything she needs to know in a day, a week, even a year, or ever. If she works hard and stays focused then the reward will pay off in the form of knowledge, which translates to money. Fast forward to today, twenty years later, I would remind Old Trenny that she still has plenty to learn and not to get comfortable and stagnant. I would remind her how all those challenges that Young Trenny had to overcome made her a much better employee, agent, and now a trainer (Young Trenny would never have believed Old Trenny would be training agents, experienced and new, how to Survive and Thrive).

There is so much that comes with experience, and at times it is easy to get complacent, especially when you have done the same thing for so long. What is important to remember is that complacency versus Intellectual Curiosity is the difference between being good and being exceptionally great. I want to be exceptionally great, and I am sure you do too! Don’t fear the unknown, embrace it, and look it dead in the eye.  Always strive to surprise yourself and your capabilities. Challenge yourself with education and knowledge benchmarks to empower your progress and career. You cannot afford to be comfortably numb in this industry.

So no, I am not an insurance nerd, but I am an experienced dork, and I do know a thing or two about the business. I went from “Trenny the Train Wreck” to “Trenny the Trainer.” Keep at it, never give up or feel like things are impossible, stay away from being in a comfort zone, always be Intellectually curious and you will love this industry!

About Trenny Dillon

Trenny started out as a CSR twenty years ago working for a wonderful family owned and operated company. She transitioned quickly into an agent role and learned a lot about the independent insurance business and all its moving parts. She became one of the agencies top producers earning her many carrier rewards and recognition. After 12 years Trenny felt she needed a change and became a caregiver to a good friend who suffered unfortunate circumstances. For Trenny, this is by far the most rewarding and gratifying role she has ever played. When Trenny reentered the insurance world again 4 years later, it led her to PGI, where she is now a personal lines trainer for insurance agents all over the US. With her experience, compassion, and loyalty she gives 110% to support and help agents succeed and grow.

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