"It is important to stay with the times and change as the industry evolves," says independent agent Craig Bender. "While I can’t predict the future and I certainly don’t control any of the changes, I can control my actions."
Lake Grove, New York
Currently streaming: I don't watch too much TV, but if I had to pick, it would be either “Shark Tank" or “Mad Men"
In your earbuds: Hip hop or classic rock
Preferred social media: Instagram
What do you love about insurance?
It's recession-proof. The average person's two biggest purchases are a home and a car. You can't close the deal or leave the dealership without insurance. I also love building long-lasting relationships with my clients. Especially on the commercial side, I get to learn what business owners have to go through to properly protect themselves from a claim. I love building rapport with individuals and businesses.
What's the best thing about being an independent insurance agent?
I can offer many different solutions to one problem. I like to think my line of work is creative insurance solutions. I can dissect the policy and have all these resources on hand to provide the best solution with the best coverage for the possible rate.
What advice would you give to other young professionals?
They need to step it up and not think that you can make money the fast way or without effort. And when you see successes on social media, it isn't a result just from today—it's years and years of challenging work and hustling.
What are your goals for the future?
My short-term goal is to be better today than I was yesterday. If I service five clients today, I want to be able to service six clients tomorrow. My long-term goal is to be able to provide an amazing life for my future family, just like my parents gave me. I want to be able to provide my future kids with the same endless opportunities.
What do you see happening in the future of the insurance industry?
It is important to stay with the times and change as the industry evolves. While I can't predict the future and I certainly don't control any of the changes, I can control my actions. It's all about keeping up with the technology and staying in the know. I think being a part of the Big “I" is a big help with that.
What are the pros and cons of multiple generations in the workplace?
My generation came up with social media, so I think the ability to use it is a big strength for millennials and Generation Z. I think older generations' strength is that they don't look for the easiest way out. For example, when I started, if I had a question or a problem I could give my mom a call even though she wasn't in the office. But she didn't have that lifeline—she had to do her own research. I think that's what makes the older generation really good at what they do.
At the end of the day, my mom knows more than me. All I have to do is present the facts for an idea accurately and professionally. Transparency is key in any family industry.
AnneMarie McPherson Spears is IA news editor.