In 2009, Angela Trimble and her best friend purchased a branch of the local independent insurance agency they were working for. Together, they have grown the business from five employees at one location to 20 employees at three locations.
TrustPoint Insurance & Real Estate
Moving away from her hometown of Burlington, Kansas, was never supposed to be a permanent move, so when her best friend, Janet Payne, told her about an open position at a local independent insurance agency, Trimble went for it. “I wanted to raise my son in the same place I was raised," Trimble says. “It was a huge transition to jump from the medical side to the property-casualty side of insurance, but it worked out."
In 2009, Trimble and Payne purchased a branch of the local independent insurance agency they were working for and formed TrustPoint Insurance & Real Estate. Since then, the agency has grown from five employees at one location to 20 employees at three locations. It took “a lot of work and a lot of prayer," Trimble says. “The industry's ever changing. It always keeps you on your toes, and no two days are ever the same."
What do you enjoy most about working in insurance?
Dealing with clients and educating them ahead of time. Nobody wants a claim, but it's important to let clients know that there are the scenarios that could happen and let them make the decision. There's a lot of moving parts to insurance, so when you can educate a client or a prospect ahead of time, you know they're prepared.
Biggest insustry changes you've witnessed?
Cyber insurance education is so important. I've talked with cyber claim experts and realized how important education is. In some instances, people are trying to hack into systems on a full-time basis. We need to help our customers understand the realities that are out there.
Cyber education for employees?
We've had insurance companies come in and do training on cyber security for our agents, educating us on how to combat these risks. You truly need to know what you are selling to a client because not everything is covered on every policy.
Biggest challenges your staff face?
It's challenging to keep up with all the new changes in the industry as well as all the new changes that each individual company brings to the table.
What was true and accurate five years ago may not be that way today. Policy terms may have been tweaked or changed a little bit. While I find that extremely challenging, I don't find it a deterrent.
Your approach to service?
My business partner used to do rating out of a book but with technology—today we can get something not just faster, but also more accurate. Today, you have to make it easier for your clients to do business with you and you have to make it easier to deal with insurance companies that want to automate things, such as your system accepting downloads or being able to automatically prepare renewals.
On the other hand, we also have those clients that come in and bring their checkbooks and want us to mail the policy to them. We have the mix of a more technologically advanced clientele and those that want to come in and have a cup of coffee and pay their bill.
Advice for an inexperienced insurance professional?
I firmly believe knowledge is power. Any new insurance professional needs to have the knowledge to be able to deal with a claim, to sell the correct policy or to work with an underwriter. They have to constantly educate themselves as the industry is always changing. Working with a mentor also helps keep them guided on the right path—our industry is a really hard industry. I would say to never give up and just stay the course.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.