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Declaration of Independents: Erin Dop

Five years ago, Dop's grandfather passed away, helping her realize that “family is one of the most important things," she says. The thought drew her into the family agency where she's valuing being a small family agency that offers all lines of business.
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Erin Dop DoI_Resized.jpgErin Dop

Fullenkamp Insurance

West Point, Iowa

Dop did not join the family agency immediately after graduating from the University of Iowa. Instead, she was encouraged to build a foundation elsewhere, which she did by working as a commercial underwriter for a carrier.

However, five years ago, Dop's grandfather passed away, helping her realize that “family is one of the most important things," she says. The thought drew her into the family agency at a time in her life when she was about to get married and start a family of her own.

“A lot has changed, but I've learned a lot," Dop says. “Not only from an insurance perspective, but also about valuing the importance of a small family agency that offers all lines of business—from property & casualty to life and health, and everything in between."

Best thing about being a generalist?

Finding the pieces of the puzzle to make the big picture is one of the things I enjoy most. I get to see the full spectrum. The disadvantage is trying to remember everything and trying not to miss any pieces. But that's why we have a team. I'm not here alone. There are six other staff members here and we are all working together.

Holding a CPCU and other designations?

This industry is based on relationships, but being a young individual, it's hard to gain that trust right away. Having something of value behind my name builds that trust faster. It also helps me think differently and more analytically about a situation.

Plan for the next five years?

I am the perpetuation plan here at the agency, but that's not an overnight process. I've got to find a way to be a better agent for my clients and future employees to sustain this agency and continue the legacy that was started 60 years ago.

Most important soft skills?

Being able to be intentional. I think we can be genuine individuals, but having the intentionality behind it is sometimes more difficult. I also think building connections is huge. This summer I was challenged to do a lot more golf outings in the area, build relationships, get to know other people and have conversations outside of the office and the insurance industry.

How does being a part of your state's Young Agent Committee (YAC) support your goals?

In the hard market, no one knows what to do. No one knows how to find the best solutions. We're all trying to find a way to swim but the most important thing about YAC is realizing that we're all in the same boat.

Favorite moments from the Young Agents Leadership Institute?

The state idea exchange session probably was the most impactful for me. Yes, the keynote speakers were awesome. Yes, the panelists were fantastic, as well. But at the state exchange, everyone's giving out all these good ideas. Now I'm coming back to the Iowa Young Agents Committee and trying to figure out which ideas we need to run with. And it's not just me—we're all trying to decide what's the best option and how we can build ourselves to support the other young agents.

Being an independent agent and a working parent?

Raising a family is tough in general. But being at a family-owned agency makes it so much easier because there is so much more conversation for flexibility. In some corporate environments, it's not as welcoming of that. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a work-life balance. It's just life. And it's how you want to manage and prioritize your day.

Advice for another young agent?

Don't forget to ask for help from people before you. There are people that I met at my first Young Agents conference and Big I Iowa convention as an underwriter that I still seek advice from. They may not be a young agent anymore, per se, but they have a wealth of knowledge. It's important to realize that we are not all-knowing people and it's okay to ask for help.

Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.

Listen to this artilce in full on Agency Nation Radio.

Monday, January 1, 2024
Sales & Marketing
Digital Edition