With technology, "there's no sitting still," says Cameron Annas, independent agent. "You've got to adapt. If you don't, then it'll be great for your competition because you probably won't be here in 5-10 years."
Vice President of Business Development
Granite Falls, NC
Recently binged TV show: Ozark
In your earbuds: The Connected Insurance Podcast
Most used app: EveryDollar Budgeting App
Talent recruitment, the age gap and perpetuation issues. However, that’s also the biggest opportunity and we’re fully taking advantage of that through our internship program and hiring young talent. The day before I joined the agency the youngest employee was 45 years old. Today, over 50% of our staff is under 40 years old.
WHAT’S TO LOVE?
It lets you add value to companies and individuals’ lives. I love it because I’m directly involved in my clients’ lives. I’m not the underwriter where I just see an application and a submission. We’re actually talking with them. The work/life balance is great but it’s also difficult. It requires structure to not be working from home all the time. That’s one thing I’ve struggled with, finding the self-discipline to cut it off.
We just stumbled upon one opportunity in North Carolina. It was someone that built challenge courses and zip lines all around the United States. We realized it was an underserved market and decided to develop it and make a run at it. There was only one other person who wrote this type of insurance and now we control about 65% of the marketplace.
CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR DURING THE CHALLENGE?
Leadership is important but even bigger than that is being a team player. We don’t want someone that’s in a four-person group but just leaves the entire team. Also, we like to see encouragement. People who encourage people in their group but also encourage their competitors to be better and cheer them on. If they’re doing that in a competitive environment, then they’re more likely to do it in the workplace with their coworkers and help them be better even if it doesn’t benefit them individually. Physical strength is helpful, but if you don’t have it, that’s fine. It’s more about how you interact with your group and how far you get based on your own comfort zone.
It’s such an open platform. That’s our philosophy at the agency as well. If we hire someone for a certain position, we don’t want them to stay in that position for 20 years. We want them to tell us what their career goals are and we’ll develop their own unique career path to get them there. If they want to be a producer, we’ll develop that path, if they want to be in operations, we’ll develop it. it’s just an open platform for different personalities. Whether you’re great at math and being an actuary, whether you’re a social person and being a producer or whether you’re a nurturer and being an account manager, it’s all those things.
I’m more of an old soul. I enjoy getting up early in the morning. I enjoy working and working long hours. Millennials typically get a bad rap with a lot of things.
TECHNOLOGY AND THE WORKFORCE?
Technology is huge. We’re in the middle of adding virtual meeting locations, allowing people to work from home and provide flexible work options. Technology, such as phone and computer systems, have become a huge issue. We’re running a Zoom room right now so we can have meetings across locations. But it’s the way of the future, if you’re not adapting to that then you’re going backwards. There’s no sitting still. You’ve got to adapt. If you don’t, then it’ll be great for your competition because you probably won’t be here in 5-10 years."
Will Jones is IA managing editor.
This interview is the first in a series that profiles 10 millennials in the independent insurance industry, based on Independent Agent magazine’s July cover story.