Insurance Academy

Good enough isn’t good enough

By | August 7, 2019

“I got my license and I keep up on my CE, so I’m good to go.”

“I finished college, so I don’t need to read anymore books.”

“You have enough insurance designations. You don’t need any more.”

Wrong. Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

One of the biggest mistakes that we can ever make in our personal and professional lives is to think that we’ve arrived. There’s nothing more to learn. There’s no more need to grow. I can simply coast on the successes of my past.

That’s so wrong.

If I may, let me handle those three statements at the top and remind us why we can’t ever say those statements.

“I got my license and I keep up on my CE, so I’m good to go.”

No. You’re not good to go.

I’m glad you got your license. That’s a good thing. Without it, you could not be in insurance, or you would be transacting insurance illegally, both of which are bad. That’s not enough though. Your license tells us that at a specific place in time, you were able to pass a test about insurance. I’m glad you did. Again, that whole transacting insurance illegally thing.

The licensing exam in your state was probably comprehensive. It went over all of the lines of business that you’re likely to work in. It made sure that you knew what the laws in your state were when you started in insurance.

As a requirement of holding and maintaining your license, you probably need 24 hours of continuing education credit every two years. Your options for continuing education credit include some great live webinars and classroom events. They also include some really basic online classes where you’re supposed to read a block of text, click the next button, and take a simple quiz at the end.

There are a few boundaries in the CE space where some states require evidence that your class really did take an hour if it says it’s an hour class. Some states only allow you to take a particular class every few years or so. That way you can’t repeat the same classes year after year.

The problem isn’t that you get your CE credits. The problem is in the attitude that they are good enough. My guess is that when you’re focused on CE, you’re not necessarily focused on the content, but the result. You’re not looking for great learning, but what gives you the most credit for the effort that you’re putting in. My concern is that you’re sitting at your desk, half paying attention to the content, and half paying attention to your work.

No. Getting your license and keeping up with CE is not good enough.

“I finished college, so I don’t have to read any more books.”

You’re not even in the neighborhood of right. You’re so wrong that you can’t see right from there.

I went to college with people like this. If they were honest with you, they didn’t ever read the books there, either. I used to get so frustrated in college. I watched some people who didn’t have to put in the work that I did. I heard more than one person, even friends, remind me that “C’s get degrees.”

They were right. You can totally get by doing the minimum amount of work. You can pass through life, doing the minimum, but you’ll always get the minimum. The same philosophy that says that I don’t need to keep reading, also says that I don’t need to keep learning. I’ve graduated. I know enough.

In truth, you probably do know enough, for now. But you don’t know what’s coming and you don’t know that you’ll know how to handle what’s coming. I graduated college almost 15 years ago and I try to read a new book every month. I had a professor who read a book a week. I just can’t seem to do that. On the other hand, I’m digesting podcast content, reading blogs, reading books, and studying for my next CPCU exam.

No. You cannot just rely on the books you read 5, 10, or 30 years ago. The world has changed since then and you need to keep up.

“You have enough insurance designations. You have enough.”

That’s just so wrong that I don’t know where to start. That’s not true. I know where to start. It’s not enough. It’s never enough.

  1. That just sounds like I’ve taken this designation thing to an unhealthy place. But that’s not true. I’m fine. We’re all fine… here… now. How are you? OK, maybe it is a little obsessive, but I’m OK with it.

In truth, I really don’t get designations for the sake of the designations. I get them because they are a byproduct of my quest to keep learning.

Why do you think I sign my emails that way?

I like goals and I like badges. I have a couple of apps that I use for learning and some days I get into them simply because there’s another badge coming. The result is that I’m using them to learn every day.

I could stop getting designations anytime I want. I don’t want to, but I could.

I can’t stop learning though. There’s too much to know. There are too many changes. I’m not the expert that I want to be.

No. I don’t have enough designations. I don’t know enough.

Keep learning.

About Patrick Wraight

Patrick Wraight, CIC, CRM, AU, is director of Insurance Journal's Academy of Insurance. He can be reached at pwraight@ijacademy.com.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.