Not all superheroes wear capes.

And here I was again. Standing in front of a house with a family who just lost everything. It was a humbling experience two years ago when I experienced my first total loss on a home, and just as humbling this morning.

Some potential clients ask ‘what sets your agency apart from other agencies? What makes you different?’ What sets us apart is the fact that when we get a phone call on a Sunday morning at 8:30am that a client’s house has burnt down, we don’t immediately think ‘this is going to hurt our loss ratio’. I put my bowl of cereal down and I went to their house. I hugged them. I stood there in silence and took it all in with them. Because that’s exactly what I would want someone to do for me. To be there for me. Even if it’s standing next to me in complete silence.

I honestly believe that compassion is a necessary quality in order to be a successful insurance agent. We sell an intangible product – and we hope, for our sake and our client’s sake, that it never has to be used. But – crazy things happen. Tragedy hits – and our agency’s reaction to tragedy is what sets us apart from other agencies.

Sometimes I feel crazy. Going above and beyond. Making phone calls, getting windows boarded up, bothering adjusters on a Sunday morning, running to the Dollar General to buy a sippy cup because the little boy was crying his was in the house. I’m sure there are some agents that say ‘here’s the claim phone number, call it in’.

But that’s where compassion comes in.

I have been so fortunate in the last few months to meet other agents that are just as passionate about what they do as I am. And I’m one hundred and ten percent positive that they would do the exact same things for their clients. It’s people like them that make me love what I do more and more each day. That encourage and enable me to be the best agent I can possibly be and for that I am so grateful.

So honestly – it’s almost hard to answer the question of what sets us apart from other agencies. Sure we’re kind, we care about your coverage, we want to educate you. But what truly sets our agency apart is how we respond to tragedy. And that’s something that I hope our clients never have to experience.

Not all superheroes wear capes – some wear fanny packs, some wear high heels, some even wear dragon print leggings… Rest assured, capes or no capes, we’re always going to be there for you.

Back in the day I walked to work. In the snow. And it was uphill both ways.

Snowstorm.jpg“Millennials just don’t want to work. And if you do find a good one, they want to start out at $80,000 a year. They just want to sit in their parent’s basement until that magically happens.”

I was at a company meeting last week where the average age in the room – and this is a total guess – was probably mid to late fifties. I engaged in conversations with many independent agency owners (because that’s what I do, I talk too much) and there was a common theme in every conversation: the struggle is real when it comes to finding good employees. I, like many of the other agents I spoke to at this meeting, come from a relatively small area. People aren’t lining up at our doors waving resumes and chanting ‘we love insurance’. But what stood out in all of these conversations was the comment I mentioned earlier.

“Millennials just don’t want to work. And if you do find a good one, they want to start out at $80,000 a year. They just want to sit in their parent’s basement until that magically happens.”

Either this guy thought I was the exception or he thought I was a lot older than I actually am. I’m hoping it was the first thought…

Older generations will be the first to tell you they walked to work, uphill both ways and in the snow. They were the first in the office and the last to leave. While this is all truly admirable, the times have changed and will continue to change. Millennials work hard, but in different ways.

We aren’t lazy. Work-life balance is a big deal. And lucky for us, growing up in a tech-savvy generation allows for us to work more efficiently. Where it used to take hours to hand write applications, a few minutes and clicks and BAM – policy is issued. We have direct access to more information and people than ever before. Social media takes word of mouth to the next level. That’s obviously only the tip of the iceberg, but the point is – we have the capability of being incredibly productive in less time. You can’t hold that against us. You should use that to your advantage. Millennials can be one of your greatest assets.Which brings me to my next point:

If we are going a good job, tell us. And be genuine about it. Feeling valued is just as important as compensation. Constructive criticism is necessary, but don’t give us the “you’re doing a great job but…” unless you have to. Sometimes “you’re doing a great job” is all we need. I know with me, personally, hearing positive feedback gets me motivated. It makes me want to strive for more and work harder. We all need wisdom and guidance. I thrive on talking with older generations and learning what they didn’t different. What made them successful. But there’s a difference in telling us stories that will benefit and uplift us versus telling us how hard you had it. Value us. We will get pumped. We will work harder. Your business will grow. Everyone wins.

Millennials are the future. They’re your retirement plan. Work together with us. Teach us. Trust us. And remember, if you work against us, it’ll probably end up on social media somewhere…

Time to Get Uncomfortable

Whether socially or professionally – we’ve all been there. 

Nervous about that first date. Nervous to walk into a room alone. Nervous to talk to our leaders or bosses. Afraid you’re going to say the wrong thing and sound unintelligent. (Like the time I said scrotum when I meant sternum. TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. This is why I’m an agent, not a Doctor.) So instead we take comfort in blending into the background. Keeping quiet and not making waves.

While I’ve been in the insurance industry for seven years now, I’ve experienced the most growth professionally in the last year.
This is all because of one connection. One uncomfortable hello that turned into a friendship and mentorship. 

This one connection turned into getting involved in an organization that is essentially the Robin to our Batman as independent agents. 

This one connection gave me the confidence to speak out. To get involved. To make my voice heard – whether or not people want to hear it is a different story. 

From there it snowballed to meeting members of congress on the hill, speaking in front of CEO’s in Vail on the importance of millennials in the insurance industry and even helping to create an inaugural young agents conference. 

That’s all it takes. One connection. 

Speaking from personal experience: if you have an idea. Say it. If you have a question. Ask it. Even if you don’t quite feel one hundred percent confident on the inside, don’t let it show on the outside. Own it. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets. Will it be easy? No. Will it feel awkward and be slightly terrifying at times to walk up to a table of strangers, sit down and join in on the conversation? Absolutely. But like everything else, practice makes perfect. 

As the saying goes – life begins at the end of your comfort zone. #gogetem

Let’s talk about sex. And by sex, I mean insurance.

I bet you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Think back to when you were a teenager. You started started having crushes. You started focusing more on your hair and your outfits. At some point you probably sprayed on entirely too much Axe or layered on midnight black eyeliner.

And you probably had a lot of questions. Questions that you would never dare to ask your parents. Too embarrassing, you say. They’ll get mad, you say.

After six years in the insurance industry, I’ve realized that for some people, ‘the insurance talk’ is just as awkward and uncomfortable.

How is it that a client of ten years can just mail you a generic cancellation request without as much as a phone call or explanation? Why didn’t they call you first if they had a problem or concern?

I’ll tell you why. The same reasons you didn’t want to have ‘the talk’ with your parents. They’re embarrassed. They’re afraid we’re going to get mad. They don’t want to have the awkward conversation.

It’s easier for some people to go to a new agency, give them personal information, get new quotes, sign a new application and start all over. Easier than calling their current agent and asking why their rates went up or if there’s anything they can do to save money.

I try to address and encourage ‘the talk’ before it’s even brought up by the client. In any conversation I have, not only with a new client, but a veteran client as well, I always emphasize open lines of communication. I encourage clients never to hesitate contacting our office with any questions at all – even if they feel it’s silly. I’d rather answer 20 ‘silly’ questions than lose an account.

It takes practice to get comfortable having ‘the talk’ but hey – practice makes perfect.