College senior interested in insurance career

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Re: College senior interested in insurance career

Post by mccluney »

Hey Sr. I have been pondering what to tell you. I would stay away from State Farm and Farmers at this point there contracts for new hires are not friendly. Small independent agencies do not have the resources to hire and train you. At this point you lack insurance knowledge. I would suggest that you look for an insurance company or larger independent insurance agency for employment. With a marketing degree I would think that Property-Casualty would be a rewarding career choice for you. The quicker you can become knowledgeable in insurance will enhance your future employability. I would also recommend that you look into the CPCU designation as you will learn quickly about insurance and that designation will be a big asset to you.
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Re: College senior interested in insurance career

Post by JimatJKD »

I agree with mccluney. Starting at an insurance company serving the independent agency market will serve you well. They are hungry for young talented people and will give you the professional training you will need. My father owned a small independent insurance agency and when I graduated from college he suggested I get a job in an insurance company marketing department where I could interact with agencies. He said to pay attention to those agencies that were successful and learn what they were doing vs those that struggled. Learn what they did different. Get to know the people in those successful agencies and how they operated. After a few years I had learned and I went to him and said I was ready to be an agent and sell. He told me to go to those agencies I had learned from and get a job as a producer and start learning from those successful producers in those agencies the detailed, day to day, things they did to find and win business. After 7 years of learning the skills of a producer, I then bought myself out of my firm and bought my father’s agency too. If you want to be a player in the insurance business, in sales, and in charge of your own destiny and your income potential, I would suggest taking this path.
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Re: College senior interested in insurance career

Post by ediddy »

I got my insurance license when I was 21 years old. I am now 67 and still running my own agency. Like the Farmers commercial says, I have seen a few things in my life. My son now works with me. I don't like to be negative but I am concerned for my son. I don't see a bright future for the independent agent. It's getting harder to make a living. Every company has reduced commissions to the point that every time I issue a policy and see the commission I realize I just lost money. In my younger days I represented some good companies and built a relationship with them but that doesn't happen today. Companies don't care how long you have represented them or how good your business practices are, they will cut your throat in a second. In the past the agent was the front line underwriter and if I saw a client that was having an excessive amount of claims I would notify the underwriter to get off the risk as soon as they could. The last time I did that was with a client with Encompass Insurance Co. It was a $600,000 home with scheduled jewelry and three autos with higher limits. This client always found a way to have one or two claims per year. A set of diamond earrings disappeared, the son hit another car in the rear, a $20,000 claim and the bathtub was leaking, a $10,000 claim. I called the underwriter and asked them to non renew as soon as they could. They did but the client went to another agent and gave them an agent of record letter for the policy I asked to be non renewed and Encompass kept the risk. Agents are being bombarded from every direction by companies that will right your business directly. I wouldn't recommend the insurance business to anyone today.
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Re: College senior interested in insurance career

Post by d's insurance store »

As the above post indicates, the business of P&C retailing has changed.

I'm chuckling as this post falls into the category that I describe as '...I have a case...', meaning that as retail vendors of personal lines P&C, all of us have specific policies or clients who have had 'interesting' histories and we're all inclined to bring them up as examples of how things are going to hell in a handbasket, or how we as agents are disrespected by clients and carriers, when in fact, in the broad scheme of things, these individual instances mean little to the agency.

But that aside, my opinion is that the business model of a 'main street, personal and small business expert' is probably dead if not dying. The concept of a storefront where the kindly insurance agent and his trusty spouse or assistant enthusiastically guided local clients through their insurance lives is kaput. Decades ago, before the internet, we were all keepers of information that was hidden from view and we alone decided who was worthy of the cheapest rates with the 'best' companies. Insurance declaration pages and policies read like foreign language newspapers and only we held the translations.

I'm just about at the end of my agency ownership journey, willing to sell out my small agency to the highest bidder. My thought is there is still value in selling insurance, but I wouldn't hitch my horse to the personal lines+small biz model mimicking direct writers like State Farm or Farmers or Allstate.

If I were starting out today, I'd recommend specializing in commercial segments that need advice and help in risk management. By narrowing down the market, it becomes easier to market oneself as a niche expert and not a generalist. Focused marketing means better results in online marketing which helps one stand out. Also, commercial premiums are larger than the small market personal lines offerings...who really wants to spend time and resources on a $200 annual premium renters policy?

But I wouldn't just plunge into the agency ownership role...I'd bide my time and take a job at an agency with commercial accounts to learn what interests me and where the market provides the best opportunity.

Yeah, that's what I'd do, if I wasn't ending my long career. Good luck.
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Re: College senior interested in insurance career

Post by Kazy2255 »


I was an independent agent for over 35 yrs and 11 of that also ran an insurance recruiting business. I am confident in recommending you first seek a position on the insurance carrier side - they love to hire college graduates and they are great training ground and pay is pretty good for starting out!
I’m not sure what state you are in and if you are open to relocation. Feel free to contact me and we can chat further.
I’m partial to CPCU but I agree with another post you can’t go wrong by starting your CPCU.

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Re: College senior interested in insurance career

Post by Swymmer »

Hey, college SR! Congrats, and smooth sailing! Here's the first thing... Many carriers have easy to obtain paid and unpaid intern programs. I would suggest you consider that route, at first. Maybe for only 6 months.
I got into this business as a life insurance agent right out of college, too. 1979. In 1981 opened my own agency and built it from scratch. I didn't catch where you are from, or where you want to live after university, but I am in a small town of 2000 souls, where "rush hour" means you are the third car back at the stop sign. (No traffic lights here!) In 1997 I bought a retiring independent agency that had been here for over 40 years. My wife and I hired a commercial producer / CSR, I did the personal lines stuff and the "rainmaker role". Steady growth, adding markets as we go along, adding crew... we are now a team of 5 with great markets & strong revenue. I pay my people well above "market" in wages as well as benefits. And, unlike the earlier comment about small agencies not paying for education... I strongly encourage, pay for and then give raises when my crew attain designations. This is a great business to be in. And, I would treasure having a new person with formal, up to date marketing skills! Being an independent insurance agency is a wonderful career!
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