With the next generation and insurance, "it's better if millennials do get involved because, for example, when you first start driving, you don't understand the risk or how much insurance costs," says Heather Becke, independent agent, "so having younger people involved provides that comfort level to the client."
Personal Lines Account Manager
Joseph W. McCartin Insurance, Inc.
Recently binged TV show: Lost
In your earbuds: Tom Petty; Rolling Stones; Elton John
Most used app: Workout Woman
I always wanted to be in something where I helped people. I used to work at an attorney's office, which is on the same floor as Joseph W. McCartin Insurance, Inc. I started talking with them and they asked me to come on board, take the training classes and get licensed. My dad's uncle actually had his own book of business and sold it to the company I now work for. I had no clue until I started working there—I felt like it was meant to be.
WHAT'S TO LOVE?
Being able to help my clients. They call in, I listen to what they need and we see what we can offer. I like to help them and let them know that we're going to protect them, we're going to give them what they need and more. Depending on their situation we're like personal assistants to some of these clients. They have huge policies with us.
Scott Latham, who's still working at the same agency, took me under his wing and taught me a lot. He's one of the top-selling agents in our agency and training under him was an honor. He was able to show me the ropes. He's quick at it, but I think that helped me because now I'm quick and I can do certain things because of what he's taught me. He was already doing things before the client even asked him, almost like seeing the future. When a client calls in, he's already pulling up information on the screen to advise them before they even ask.
MILLENIALS AND INSURANCE?
Insurance can be a young person's business. Plus, it's better if millennials do get involved because, for example, when you first start driving, you don't understand the risk or how much insurance costs, so having younger people involved provides that comfort level to the client. It's important to have an agent that can relate to the client.
When I'm done for the day, I cut all ties and just have family time. When I started in the business, I brought this stuff home because I was learning, making mistakes and growing. But as the years have gone on, I told myself to leave it at the door.
It's an opportunity. You can sell a policy and have it signed within 10 minutes.
You do want to meet the people, but I also think that you can sell a lot without meeting in person. I have a lot of clients who prefer to do email. But for a new policy, especially if we don't already insure them, I prefer to speak with them over the phone to get an idea of what they want. Current clients know they're comfortable with me, so I'll advise them what they should or shouldn't get.
Rates are the biggest challenge for us. But even when rates go up, a lot of clients we work with like us, they want to stay with us and they're not going to move to save $100. We try to sell our service but sometimes we do lose out. A big challenge for me is having to explain why rates went up. I've been with the agency for 12 years and from when I started until now I have seen an increase across the board.
Will Jones is IA managing editor.
This interview is the seventh in a series that profiles 10 millennials in the independent insurance industry, based on Independent Agent magazine's July cover story.