Mike Bateman, managing director, Sales, for Dallas-based Higginbotham has invested a lot of time and money into making the firm’s “Higg University” a reality. Launched in 2016, the University is the agency’s training ground for new recruits and new hires.
It’s robust, says Bateman. Producers spend nearly half a month in classes for six months. After they graduate, each producer is assigned a mentor in the firm — for three years.
Higginbotham’s own in-house professor teaches the courses in both property/casualty insurance and employee benefits.
Bateman says the time and money it takes to facilitate the Higg University is worth it in today’s competitive insurance world.
“It’s not only taught our producers the insurance business and all the complexities of coverages, but it’s also taught our culture, processes and makes for really well-rounded producers,” he said.
The value far outweighs what the agency would receive from insurance company training programs or third-party education vendors, he said.
And it’s the culture that’s been most beneficial to David Fishel, 31, managing director- Business Insurance, at Higginbotham.
“The culture at Higginbotham is very much a team atmosphere and from the very first few days, they kind of ingrain that in you,” Fishel said. “You work as a team to go out and win business, and then keep business.
After graduating college in 2010, Fishel joined Teach for America and became a high school teacher for two years. “I really enjoyed it, but knew I always wanted to get into business so went back to school for a master’s of business administration degree to bridge the gap.”
During that time Fishel visited with a friend’s father who was a principal at a smaller regional agency. He joined the team but three months later the agency was acquired by Higginbotham.
That was a good thing, Fishel says. “The start of my insurance career really is at Higginbotham,” he said
Fishel says there’s “no secret sauce” to finding success as a young agent. “I think it’s just old-fashioned hard work.” But Higginbotham’s culture has helped.
His advice to other young agents: “Be the first one at the office. Be the last one to leave. And work your butt off the entire day,” Fishel says.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions because everyone is constantly learning and the more ‘at bats’ you get, the more success you’re going to have,” he said. “It’s not an overnight success, but it’s a steady success if you’re willing to be diligent, and put in the time, and work hard. And it’s an incredible career.”
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