Declaration of Independents: Taylie Carlson

DOITaylie Carlson

Licensed agent
Insurance Solutions by Laramie Investment Company, Inc.
Laramie, Wyoming

Taylie Carlson built a whole other career in hospitality before she joined the family business in 2016—a rare history for a fourth-generation independent agent.

But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Carlson’s dad, Brad Jackson, worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years before joining his own father, Gregg, at Insurance Solutions by Laramie Investment Company, Inc.

“We moved back to Laramie to take a slow-down,” says Carlson, 27, who lived with her husband in Chicago for three years before becoming the first woman in her family to join the agency. “The small-town life is definitely where we belong.”

WHY INSURANCE?

The reason I’m in insurance is not because it’s a family business. It’s because it’s a form of service to my community. When you work in an industry like hospitality, people come and go—relationships are very temporary. In insurance, clients come to you because they trust you.

SMALL-TOWN VALUES?

My dad always says, “What’s right is right and what’s fair is fair.” Growing up, it was in one ear and out the other, but now I listen. I’m not going to sell someone a package to make an extra 5% on commission if it doesn’t benefit them.This is 100% a sales-driven career, but integrity shows through sales. Integrity is what will build you a career—not commission. Our clients know we are upfront and honest, first and foremost. People come to us for what we have to give as community members, not as salespeople.

WORKING WITH FAMILY?

It’s definitely different working with my dad versus having an outsider as a boss, but I honestly wouldn’t change it. Growing up, I would hear about it if my dad and my grandfather had a bad day at work, if they were getting on each other’s nerves. And then at 5 o’clock, my mom would still call the office and say, “Hey, Grandpa—want to come over for dinner tonight?” My grandfather would show up with some flowers for my mom and some brownies for dessert and say, “Hey kids, what’s going on?”

I took away so much from that early on—that you leave work at work at 5 o’clock. My husband and I still go to family dinner twice a week with my parents.

BOYS’ CLUB?

I don’t necessarily think insurance is a boys’ club in Wyoming. We’re the equality state. We were the first state where women could vote, run for public office, sit on a jury, and I think ever since those changes were made back in the 1800s, that’s been a big part of our consciousness.

BIGGEST ROLE MODEL?

Definitely my dad. He knows so much—he’s so damn smart. I can ask him any question about any company, any optional coverage, anything, and he will know the answer off the top of his head.

So I admire him for his knowledge, but I also admire him for his heart. He has a really big heart with our clients, and I think that’s another reason I feel so equal in my workplace. If my dad wasn’t so compassionate, I don’t think he would have asked me to come into the business with him in the first place, because we would have definitely clashed. I get my big heart from him.

BIGGEST CAREER MISTAKE?

Taking advice from the wrong people. Sometimes it’s easier to ask for help from those you know will give a more favorable answer—the answer you want to hear, instead of the honest one. I think we’re all guilty of wanting to feel a little bit better about making the wrong choices, or the easy choices.

Don’t be scared of the honest advice. That’s a really big one for me. If you have to ask for advice, make sure you’re digging for an honest answer from an honest person.

ADVICE FOR FELLOW YOUNG AGENTS?

Pay attention to the details. Listen to your clients’ needs first, before you start mapping out what you think they need. And really engage with the conversation they’re having with you, because there’s a foundation to be made with every single client, whether they just need an auto liability policy or they need an entire building of businesses insured. There’s a foundation to be made, and it’s up to you how it’s built. Is it built honestly? Is it built with integrity? Is it built with them in mind 110%? That foundation builds your reputation.

Photo by Ludwig Photography