By Michael Crowell
Georgetown Insurance Service, Inc.
Silver Spring, MD
When I first decided to embark upon a new career in insurance, I was all in. I plunged head first into a new career, confident that I would succeed. Expecting an adjustment period and some initial growing pains, I’m going to be honest with you…I really had no clue what the daily grind of an independent agent is like.
In this blog, I’m going to break down what I thought insurance was, what it actually is, and what I’ve learned over the past year since this path was started. You may even find yourself with a new appreciation for “your insurance guy/girl” at the end of this blog.
What I thought It Was and What It Actually Is
Insurance was supposed to be easy. At least that is what I had convinced myself when deciding to change careers. Don’t get me wrong, I anticipated the need to devote myself to building relationships and my book of business. The cold calling, networking, and relationship building doesn’t faze me…in fact, I mostly enjoy it!
However, I never anticipated how long the sales process truly is. Honestly, getting the go ahead to start sourcing quotes is the painless part. What is not quite so painless is the back work involved in sourcing quotes for prospects and clients. This is far more time consuming than originally expected.
Since it is our job to find our clients the best product at the best value, we often find ourselves negotiating with multiple carriers at any given time. Believe me, getting quotes for our clients requires much more than just sending out an email request. It requires hours of coordination, inspections, consideration, and cooperation. However, it is all worth it when I can present my client with a solution that I truly stand behind.
What I’ve Learned
Although I am still a newcomer to the world of insurance, I definitely feel like this is the right fit for me. Here are just a few lessons learned since embarking on this new journey.
Stay Flexible – You will never succeed in insurance if you aren’t willing to jump unexpected hoops. Having a flexible mindset is key for both success…and maintaining your sanity. Since every client is different, you need to understand that the sales process will never be the same. It is important to consistently alter your approach and focus on finding needs of your client. You also need to be prepared to negotiate with underwriters and insurers on a regular basis to meet these needs.
Understanding Your Client is Critical – Many people mistakenly assume that business insurance (or even personal) will be similar for every client. They couldn’t be more wrong. I strive to minimize my clients’ risk as much as possible. This means that I need to understand how they work, who they are, what they do, and what inherent risk is present in their industry. In addition, when I approach carriers to solicit quotes, having all of this information helps eliminate unnecessary back and forth between the client and carrier.
Clients Are People, Too – In sales, it can be easy to get caught up in quotas or commissions. However, working at an independent insurance agency, like Georgetown Insurance Service, has given me the best of both worlds. I still get to be in the world of sales, but I also serve as an advocate for my clients on a regular basis. Instead of being tied to one carrier, I often find myself lobbying with multiple carriers to get my clients the best value and best coverage. I’ve also found that clients are far more open to listening than I initially assumed. Transparency and taking the time to explain can be a game-changer in the world of insurance.
Culture is Critical – While it is important to enjoy your work, it is far more important to love where you work. Since my very first day at Georgetown Insurance Service, I’ve been so impressed with everyone’s willingness to go out of their way to help their customers. Georgetown Insurance Service is a culture of collaboration.
While the insurance industry certainly isn’t what I thought it was, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to switch. I hope this blog has given you a bit of insight into what life is like as an agent!