In 1988 with just a high school diploma for credentials, I answered a newspaper ad for a receptionist at a local insurance agency. My long term goal: To work with children who were victims of child abuse. Short Term Goal; Find a job to pay for it. My focus? I was an Honors Student with a Double Major in Criminology and Child Psychology.
After 2 years of working 40 hours at the agency, taking 4 night classes a week (Honors) as well as working weekends as a cashier at a local grocery store, AND being a newlywed, I was exhausted and realized – I LOVE this insurance thing!! – Why am I killing myself to get educated in another field???
How could I fall in love with insurance of all things?? – It included much of what I have realized I’m passionate about. Not only does it take major organizational skills to manage insurance risks with client changes, questions and claims assistance, it also requires the mental capacity to keep company endorsements, exclusions, coverages and forms straight. Add to these the ability to ‘target market’ for clients you enjoy working with and who value what you do? – I had hit the career jackpot – and totally by accident. I found a career that was incredibly challenging to me and I thrive on challenge!
Most people can tell you when a ‘turning point’ occurred in their lives. For me, it was a claim – a very personal claim; one that made me realize how truly important what we do is. For you see, this career most importantly, involves stepping into the lives of people when they need us the most. I had handled a few serious claims during my first year in the business after moving from receptionist to customer service agent – one even involved a 15 year old’s suicide that resulted in a lawsuit of one parent against the other. My ‘turning point’ however involved a life-changing car accident in which a former classmate of mine and his wife; now pregnant with their 2nd child, slid on icy sleet covered roads and caused a chain reaction accident that ended with the very serious brain injury of a young child. The accident didn’t involve high speed or reckless actions, but it was simply an accident due to the weather conditions that day. Unfortunately, the result for a family in a 3rd vehicle, was life-changing and devastating. This young girl who was in middle school would never graduate, never walk down the aisle, and never raise her own family. She would instead need full time medical care for the rest of her life. In this situation, I became personally involved after my clients called me one night with the wife in tears. I visited with them the very next night in their home. We had already paid their policy limits, as well as the policy limits of the vehicle they were using, and the lawyers were still asking my clients questions. They were scared. Not only were they devastated by what had happened to this other family, they were also concerned about their financial future. Would there be enough insurance? Would they be sued beyond their insurance?
During this time I realized that we do SO much more than just sell a piece of paper with a promise on it to pay. We are there to ease the financial burden of our clients when such events occur, and we are their local face to face person who steps in to explain things to them, to advise them, and to help them ahead of time prepare for such accidents so that they can be secure that when such tragedies do happen, we have them properly covered. Today, 20+ years later, these individuals are still my clients, and so are their children!!