In my last post we talked about the distinct roles that team members play in a typical insurance agency. Sales vs Service.
Today I am taking the conversation in different direction to talk about something that is rarely considered, but very important for anyone looking to get started in the insurance industry after having obtained the General Lines Property and Casualty Agent license, or the General Lines Life and Health Agent license. As we have mentioned before, the licensing exams that you must pass to get your insurance license are no joke. You must study and prepare either with a classroom exam prep course, or a video course, but there’s no way to do it by yourself without professional test prep services such as those provided here at Test Crushers.
I recently had a student take my Property and Casualty classroom course. She is a native speaker of Farsi, but her English is very good. She worked hard, but the specialized vocabulary of the course was really a problem. She was encountering words and phrases that just never came up in ESL classes. She took the exam and made a 60 on her first try. She stuck with it and went back a second time. Made a 65. Then we had her call Pearson Vue and request an accommodation for extra time on the test, as a non-native speaker. The staff over at Pearson Vue took care of her and with the extra time, she was able to pass on the third try. Sometimes that’s what it takes. And it a prime example of why Test Crushers is not obsessed with passing the first time. We say, “Pass the last time”. Just keep at it, and you will achieve your goal.
Anyway, she went to work for a local agent for one of the major insurance companies. She had a job offer right away. And so will you. When you have a Property and Casualty license and or a Life and Health license, you will be very much in demand and will have no problem getting interviews. The great thing about getting your insurance license is that you do not need any other experience in order to get started. The license is such an important credential that your lack of prior experience is of no concern. Your license is your ticket.
And now we come to the important part of the story. My student took her brand new license and went to work for a brand new agent. Her new employer was an agent who had just been appointed and was starting to build an agency from scratch. Turned out to be a huge mistake and made me think to write this blog post for you.
My student is someone who is not a hard-charging sales person. So, we might say, she is more on the service side of the spectrum that on the sales side – like we talk about in Blog 3.
A new agent who has just opened the doors to a new office has only one thing in mind and that is SALES SALES SALES. If you take a job with a new agent who is just starting out, there is no service work to focus on, it’s all SELL SELL SELL. And that is the environment that my student went into.
You need to go to work in an agency that will be suited to your skills and temperament. Going to work for a brand new agent can be very exciting. It’s a chance to be in on the ground floor of a new business and to make a huge contribution. You become a key player right away and the loyalty between you and your agent will develop very quickly as you work together to meet sales goals.
New agents can have production quotas that they must meet, or bad things happen. It can be a high-pressure environment. And very lucrative. But you have to be up for it. If you are someone who is more of a low-key contributor, closer to the service side, then a brand new office may not be the place for you.
My student should have gone to work for a larger more established agent, that’s what she should have done. But, she took the first job that was offered. If she had gone to work for an established agent, the environment might have been very different. In a large office with an established book of business, there is a role for someone to focus on service work, billing, reminders, follow-ups, customer service. But there is very little need for any of that in a newly opened office.
So, after you have taken your exam prep course at Test Crushers and have your insurance licenses in hand, think about where you want to be in the insurance industry: sales or service. And then make sure you go to work in an office for an agent where you are going to be a good fit. We need “aces in their places”. Sales people and service people are both very much in demand, but they are not interchangeable. Decide which one you are, and then make a plan to settle into a good situation with a reputable agent who will value your talents and contributions.