"We need to communicate with younger people and let them know that insurance is a really good career option," says Katie Brewer, independent agent. "It's so much broader than how it's portrayed."
Risk Management Analyst
Interwest Insurance Services
Recently binged TV show: Sopranos
In your earbuds: The solo careers of former One Direction members
Most used app: Google
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I got a degree in business administration and finance. One of the elective classes I chose was risk and insurance because it sounded interesting. Every once in a while, my professor would have speakers from different agencies or companies come in and talk to us about what their companies do and to familiarize us with the insurance world. A couple of people from InterWest came and presented in my class one evening: they were talking about an internship program that they were offering, so I applied and I got the internship. That put my foot in the door at InterWest.
I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I chose finance because numbers make sense to me. I really wanted to do something that made an impact on people's lives, but I didn't know what that would be. I hadn't really considered insurance until I took that risk and insurance class, but it wasn't until about halfway through the semester when it just kind of clicked for me.
I grew up in an insurance family—my mom works in employee benefits, my granddad was a Farmer's agent for his career, and then there's insurance on my dad's side too. I'd kind of put insurance out of my mind as an option, but something in that class just made sense to me and it was like everything aligned.
My parents have been huge sources of encouragement and advice in terms of my career and what to do next. But honestly, every single person that I currently work with serves as a role model in one way or another.
In terms of attracting new or young people, I think nobody really considers insurance. We need to communicate with younger people and let them know that insurance is a really good career option. It's so much more than what we see on TV and there's a spot for everybody—it's so much broader than how it's portrayed.
With large global or local disasters, it's a challenge to figure out the best way to respond and how to handle the impact. That's going to be different for each agency andtheir clients as well. Every time that we learned something new or there was a new development, we provided our clients with information. We try to put information in our client's hands so that they can be more informed. On top of that, our CEO put out a video message to our clients to reiterate that everybody's still working hard to make sure that everything's going to be OK. Everything had been so negative, so we tried to put out a positive message.
We do video meetings all the time. For me personally, my day-to-day tasks involve a lot of technology and a lot of remote meetings. Coronavirus didn't really have a huge impact on my job in that sense. But in terms of having face-to-face meetings within my department, that's gone a more virtual route. It's been an interesting transition, but it hasn't been bad. Everybody's rolled with it.
Will Jones is IA managing editor.
This interview is the 10th in a series that profiles 10 millennials in the independent insurance industry, based on Independent Agent magazine's July cover story.