"I know I’m doing something to protect people, even when they don’t know it, such as when they view it as a commodity or an expense," says Monica Adwani, independent agent. "I know it makes a difference in the world. It’s more than a policy."
G&N Insurance – A Hilb Group Company
Recently binged TV show: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In your earbuds: Gospel Music
The app you use most: Amazon Shopping
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Like most people, I got into insurance by chance. Before I came to the U.S., I had a job in a laboratory doing data management. Unfortunately, I got let go. With a customer service background as well, I applied for a job with Liberty Mutual and got it. I started working in their Research Institute for Safety, which is where I learned everything I needed to know to start my career and to fall in love with insurance. It was a very different perspective compared to what I do now, but I got to learn about insurance from a different point of view.
WHY AN INDEPENDENT AGENCY?
A friend of mine was starting a new venture and wanted me to join. I interviewed and here I am today, stronger than ever. There hasn’t been a day that’s the same since I started. I came without a job description and was up for the ride.
When I joined, the goal was to move locations, grow the team and to increase our revenue by a certain amount. I signed up with no guarantees and, little by little—tons of effort and sleepless nights—we did it in seven months.
I take pride in the team we have built; this team means everything to me. They’re smart, they’re hardworking and they’re everything you want a team to be. It has been really exciting to build this and to learn the versatility of our industry from another point of view.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT INSURANCE?
I know I’m doing something to protect people, even when they don’t know it, such as when they view it as a commodity or an expense. I know it makes a difference in the world. It’s more than a policy. For me, it’s not just a team selling a policy—it is making sure families and financials are protected.
WHY START AN INSURANCE CAREER?
Insurance is a versatile universe. You don’t know where it can take you. Insurance is involved in politics, the environment and every industry. It’s embedded in everything you see and touch. It doesn’t matter what career path you want to take, anything you want to do you can do it here. You get to be exposed to so much. I think the taboo and fear of change is holding the industry back. In doing that, the new generation has so much to offer. I believe that employers need to give millennials a chance to really apply their ideas, which are not crazy but innovative, and we can all work towards improved productivity.
GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
To build a new world for independent agents where they do not have to fall into what mom and pop did. I want to use technology and be successful. Our industry is so archaic that younger generations have no idea how they can make a difference. It’s time for them to see that they can. We can show them by talking more about it because they have a lot to offer.
The coronavirus pandemic is a great example of the flexibility in an insurance career. Most agencies out there are really struggling with people working from home. But we are a young agency—almost 80% of the people here are under 40 years old. We started working from home a year ago, so there have been very few changes to us and it had benefited us parents to be able to comply with our responsibilities.
MILLENNIALS VS BOOMERS?
The key is understanding that everyone learns at a different capacity. Depending on when you were born, you were exposed to different things. I approach it like my team is my family. Imagine if your mom just bought an iPhone and she doesn’t know how to download an app—which my seven-year-old daughter can do without explanation—but my mom will need several days to understand the why and the how.
There’s just a difference between how we learn, absorb and implement information. It’s up to both millennials and baby boomers to understand that we work differently and by collectively working towards a common goal we can accomplish much more than what we can imagine. Mixing critical thinking with technology is just the right mix to success.
Will Jones is IA managing editor.
This interview is the fourth in a series that profiles 10 millennials in the independent insurance industry, based on Independent Agent magazine’s July cover story.