Arrgghh - an insurance salesperson!!! If I am at a party and don't feel like talking to someone, I tell them I sell insurance. It is funny how often that is all I have to say to get rid of them.
Having received payments from four different kinds of insurance (life, trauma, income protection and health insurance), I don't understand the reluctance to talk to someone about what they do as an insurance expert.
Having seen the benefit of the work that I have done with clients - when they suffer an injury or illness, or for their families, with their life insurance, again, I am confused about the aversion to talking to someone about insurance.
All I can think of is that historically insurance specialists were seen as 'pushy' and 'desperate to make a sale'.
Sure, there probably are some people out there like that, but the majority of insurance advisers that I know are genuine, nice, professional caring people - who work in this area because they genuinely like people and care about them.
Sometimes we care too much, and it breaks our hearts when we get news of an insurance claim from one of our clients.
For anyone who is relatively mature (I would suggest in early 30's at the youngest), who likes people, cares for people, has some analytical skills I would strongly recommend that they consider pursuing a career in working with people to arrange and manage their life, trauma, income protection and health insurances.
You get to know people. Insurance advisers have to ask some difficult questions that only a doctor will usually know. To do your job well, you have to understand a lot of medical terminology, but you also have to be empathetic enough to be able to discuss people's medical history with them without judging.
Being an insurance adviser can be a lifelong relationship with your client. If you are fortunate enough to work in full service financial advisory business, those clients can also work with you (if you want to become an AFA), or others in the business to arrange their KiwiSaver and their investments.
You get to help people out when things aren't going well. You get to arrange for financial payments from insurance policies to help them get on with their lives without having that financial stress.
You need to keep up with the developments and changes in the insurance industry. You learn a lot about how insurance offerors work. You need to work hard to get most insurance in place for clients, liaising with the client and the insurance company, but that too is fulfilling.
Yes, you get to work on commission. This could also be another reason for the bad reputation of insurance advisers. See the article about how commissions work.
But if you can set yourself up with an established organisation, who can assist you through the start up period, by paying you a liveable salary, the pressure of 'having to sell' rapidly diminishes and you can focus on helping and looking after people. You end up working with like minded nice caring people, if you join the right organisations.
I am very proud to be an insurance expert.
I am very proud to help my clients and their family and friends to protect themselves, and know that the insurance works when it is needed, because we have done a good job.
I am proud to have won awards for the work that I have done (see above, a Diamond Award at a conference in Vietnam)
Next time someone tells you that they sell insurance - think again - they are probably a really nice, caring interesting person (but I can't guarantee it every time!)
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By Carey Church