The insurance industry is desperately seeking new blood.  There is a shortage of workers in just about every area, so why is it so difficult to attract new talent?  I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about the industry that discourages people from pursuing this line of work.

First of all, insurance companies are not filled to the brim with crooks.  In my 20 years of experience in this industry, the vast majority of the people I've been exposed to are good people.  Many of them got into the industry in order to help people.  There are a few bad apples, as there are in every industry, but they are few and far between.  And besides that, there is probably not another industry that is as highly regulated in order to ensure that the public is well served.  I am very proud of our industry; there is no one else out there who will help you put your life back together when catastrophe strikes.  It is very rewarding both to be able to literally do this, but also to know that you are able to do the same for all of the people who are depending on you as well.

Unfortunately, our industry has been its own worst enemy much of the time.  Rather than framing the public conversation as the safety net that it is, we have generated advertising for years that says "Call ABC Insurance today... we'll save you $300 over XYZ Company."  In the eyes of the general public, insurance has become a commodity with no real difference between two insurance offerings other than the price.  And even the way agents have been trained have caused them to buy into this fallacy.  I've often said that for most people there is little difference between one insurance agent and another... until they have a problem.  Unfortunately, most people learn this too-little, too-late.  That $300 savings that they were happy to get can turn out to cost them thousands of dollars more when they find out at the time of a loss that their coverage is inadequate.  And so while the online and direct insurance channels are growing their market share because of this perception, there is a growing need for people who really want and need someone who can sit down with them and give them the peace of mind that if the worst should happen, they'll be ok.

One thing that many people don't understand about the insurance industry is that there is a job for just about every personality and skill type.  If you are a numbers-oriented person, one of the highest paying jobs for college grads today is an insurance actuary.  These are the folks that examine statistics and help to formulate how insurance products are put together and what the premiums need to be in order for the company to be profitable and able to pay their claims.  And of course there are other detail-oriented positions required in the industry such as accountants, IT people, etc.

If you're a people person, the insurance industry is a highly service-intensive business.  There are positions at all levels of the industry that service other people, from the carriers who service the agencies to the agencies who service the public.  And in an industry who's business it is to help people recover from disaster, this can be a very challenging, but rewarding, task.  These jobs tend to pay higher than similar types of jobs in other industries.

Insurance sales can be rather difficult, but also very satisfying.  It requires a good mix of people skills with attention to detail as well.  It also takes an enormous amount of motivation and drive as well as the ability to take complicated subjects and simplify them for the average person.  One needs to be able to effectively communicate the value a person will receive by purchasing an intangible.  But because of the nature of the compensation in insurance sales, most people do not stick with it long enough to experience long-term success.  Those that dedicate themselves to becoming a professional and have the patience to see it through can build for themselves a very rewarding career in terms of both money and freedom.

Of course there are many different types of insurance (property & casualty, life, health, etc.), so there are many different types of companies, agencies, and operations.  Each type of insurance produces its own flavor of culture and approach.  If you are looking for a rewarding career in an industry that is likely to be around for a long, long time, you should give serious consideration to the insurance industry.  Spend some time talking to people who are already in the industry in various capacities.  Get their feedback - both positive and negative.  Ask for suggestions as to how to proceed if you were to pursue this career.  And if you do go after it, seek out people within the industry that can mentor you as you build your career.  You don't have to reinvent the wheel.  Good luck!

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