1. Commit to the industry:
Chances are you didn’t grow up wanting to work in insurance, and you fell into it in the way most of us have, by accident. Our industry does a pretty good job attracting new talent, but we lose a lot of it after just a few years, so companies can understandably be leery about investing in a young employee when they’re likely to leave the industry. The way around this is to commit to make your career in the industry, believe us, it’s an amazing field to work in, and it’s only getting better!
2. Make sure you’re doing a great job:
Every other piece of advice we can give you is useless if it’s not backed by making sure you do your job well. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be performing your day to day responsibilities well to make advancing easier.
3. Get some letters:
Unless you majored in Risk Management and Insurance, chances are your formal education didn’t teach you much about insurance, and regardless of how good your company’s on-boarding and training is, there is still a LOT to learn. Luckily, in our industry, you can get a wide variety of designations that will teach you about different areas of the industry, make you look great to management, help you understand how it all fits together outside of the area you’re working in right now, and are standard throughout the industry, so once you have them you can take them with you even if you go to a different insurance company. Carly and Tony highly recommend CPCU, but CIC, CLU, and many other designations are also worth the efforts. Less than 4% of insurance professionals have their CPCU, and it can open amazing doors if you participate in the CPCU Society after you complete your designation.
4. Join Toastmasters:
Speaking confidently and effectively will be a huge help in your career, and the higher up you get in the company, the more important public speaking will become. Start today by joining your local Toastmasters group. It will help you in many ways including making you better at thinking on your feet the next time you interview for a new role.
5. Network heavily:
While what you know is important, who you know is also crucial, and most importantly, who knows you. Make yourself a reputation for being awesome by following the tips in this article, and make sure you’re getting out there and networking both in your company and in the industry. Attend as many events as you can at your local CPCU Society, Big I, RIMS and any other insurance event you can get to. You never know which random person you meet will become a mentor, let you know about a new job before it posts or open up doors for you. If you’re in sales, we recommend networking outside of the industry, too. Get involved in your local chamber, young professional society, or a charity that you’re passionate about.
6. Help your peers whenever possible:
Make sure you’re not just networking up but also helping your peers and those who are even newer than you are. Get them excited about insurance, help them see what an awesome industry it is, tell them about InsNerds.com, and about CPCU. Become the first person they think of when they think of career growth. Give to your network without keeping count, and your network will always be there for you when you need it!
7. Take charge of your own development:
In today’s day and age, your development as a professional and your career are your responsibility. The company won’t take charge of making sure you’re growing, their part is facilitating your growth by offering tools like training, mentoring programs and tuition reimbursement; but ultimately you need to take responsibility to take advantage of all those tools and develop yourself into the professional you want to be.
About Antonio Canas
Tony started in insurance in 2009 and immediately became a designation addict and shortly thereafter a proud insurance nerd. He has worked in claims, underwriting, finance and sales management, at 4 carriers, 6 cities and 5 states. Tony is passionate about insurance, technology and especially helping the insurance industry figure out how to retain and engage the younger generation of insurance professionals. Tony is a co-founder of InsNerds.com and a passionate speaker.
10 thoughts on “The Young Hitchhiker’s Guide to Growing Your Insurance Career”
Great advice! I’m going to add one thing as an older insurance professional which I learned the hard way, if you’re at a company where everyone has been in the same job for 20+ years and few people have ever been able to move forward with their career, learn as much as you can and then move on. I stayed for many years longer than I should have learning more and more facets of insurance to only then be told that I was too old to invest in career-wise. Learn from my mistake!
Thank you for the comment Terry! And thanks for sharing our content far and wide.
Thank you, Terry! We appreciate advice any time it comes our way!
I read the article regarding CPCU vs. CIC, but when it comes to obtaining other designations, would you recommend The Institutes or the National Alliance for Insurance Education?
Hi Robyn. Thanks for the comment! Both Carly and I have multiple Institute’s designations and don’t have any from the National Alliance so we’re a bit biased… We’d love to get some articles from fans of the National Alliance…
Hello Tony & Carly,
My name is Andres and I am new to the insurance industry. 1 year and counting to be more or less exact! Anyways, for the small amount of time I have been in the industry I have seen tremendous growth in every aspect of my personal and professional life! This article and the ten commandments were extremely informative and you definitely have another subscriber!
Thank you for the comment! I’m so glad it was useful. It’s the article that started it all.
I will be in a learneship in an insurance company i am hoping to be on top and gain more marketable exprience
You are an Angel, thanks a lot for putting up such an extensive information about insurance. I’ve gain a lot of good ideas and it saves so much time and effort. Keep sharing!
Thank you! We’re here to help.