Association involvement has been a key to professional development for Hal Soden Jr., recipient of the 2020 InsurPac Young Agent of the Year Award at the 2021 Big "I" Virtual Legislative Conference.
Declaration of Independents: Hal Soden Jr.
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Starting out, Hal Soden Jr. had difficulty gaining new business in the small town of Jamesburg but soon found his footing when he branched out into new and niche lines of business. Within three years, “I really started getting a lot of momentum and quickly became a successful producer," he says. Association involvement has also been key to Soden's development. During the 2021 Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference, he received the 2020 InsurPac Young Agent of the Year Award.
I started going to industry events within a few months of joining the agency. I went to a local Big I New Jersey meeting and that's how I got more involved and was introduced to the Big I New Jersey Young Agents Council. While I was in the Young Agents, I helped with InsurPac fundraising—that's where I started to get some ideas on how we should raise money. Now, I am chairman of Big I New Jersey.
Why Join the Big 'I'?
I wanted to learn, and what better way to learn than to see what other agents were doing and how they were doing it? My decision to become active in the Big “I" has contributed to my success more than any other decision I've made.
In the past few years, agents have got a lot better at adapting with the times. When I started, I was struck by how we operated technology-wise—like dinosaurs—and not just agents but also the insurance carriers. While we still have a way to go, I think the word is out and people realize that you can't do things the same way you've always done them.
Advice to another agent?
Get involved with your insurance association and become friends with other agents. Some of my best friends are insurance agents—I don't understand agents that feel like everybody's the competition and don't want to meet and discuss our commonalities and our challenges.
In general, the people that are successful in our business tend to be very personable people—the type of person you want be friends with.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.