"We need to use social media platforms to debunk the myths about insurance and show how great the industry is," says young agent Leah Robinson. "We really are a service industry at heart, and I think we need to show that more to people."
Commercial Lines Agent
Currently streaming: “How I Met Your Father"
In your earbuds: The “Dark History" podcast or The Pandora Now Channel
Preferred social media: Facebook
How did you get started in insurance?
During my senior year of high school, I was looking into taking more business classes and my yearbook advisor recommended that I take a new class on insurance and risk management. I ended up taking the year-long course and decided I wanted to study insurance in college.
What are some of the biggest challenges the industry is facing?
Staffing and perpetuation. That's a huge challenge, especially with the new content creator and influencer generation. It's hard to attract talent away from those flashy career choices. Also, fighting back against generations-long stereotypes in our industry is a challenge—that it's boring, that we're too hard to understand, that insurance companies just grab money.
What's the solution?
I think we just need to get in front of younger people sooner. I'm on the Big I Michigan Young Agents Committee, and we're working on getting in front of high school and college students to open their eyes to at least a financial industry career with the hope of getting them to the independent insurance agent side of the business. We need to use social media platforms to debunk the myths about insurance and show how great the industry is. We really are a service industry at heart, and I think we need to show that more to people.
What's the best thing about being an independent insurance agent?
I work in the commercial lines, so I get to help business owners every day. I love hearing about the businesses they've built. It's an amazing feeling to be able to work with them to protect their businesses. Each day is different from the one before it because each client is so different. I haven't had a boring day yet.
How is the work-life balance in your role?
As an agent, sometimes it's a double-edged sword being in sales. It does offer a lot more flexibility than a typical salaried position, I don't feel the need to be tied to a desk. But I also find myself caring about my clients so much that I feel like I should be available to them more than just during business hours.
What are the pros and cons of multiple generations in the workplace?
People entering the industry today have the amazing benefit of learning from those who are at or above retirement age. A huge chunk of our industry is at that age, and they are a wealth of knowledge. Those older generations have been through cycles of hard and soft markets. They're a great sounding board for anyone who may be entering the first hard market in our career.
Resistance to change can be a huge hurdle, whether we're talking about workplace culture or technology. The younger workforce is looking for a different work environment than what the older generations are used to, and that can cause a lot of disagreement on how things should be done on a day-to-day basis. I've also seen how pride in the older generations has set up a resistance to perpetuation. There are a lot of possessive feelings over their relationships, which is understandable—they've worked hard to create those relationships—but those relationships ultimately need to be transferred to the next generation of the workforce.
AnneMarie McPherson Spears is IA news editor.