The insurance industry is growing and has a high need for talented professionals with a variety of training and skills. Recruiters are asking job seekers “where do you fit in?” In this series, Cincinnati Insurance associates describe their own career journeys.
Most college graduates look for positions in the field that they studied. As a criminal justice major, I spent two years working at a gym while searching for jobs in my field. I didn’t want to be a police officer, and that appeared to be the only hiring position. My parents didn’t hide their displeasure with my career choices thus far and made it very clear that they wanted me to get a “real” job. It hadn’t occurred to me to venture outside of my concentration. A family friend who worked at an insurance agency told me about an open position. I applied, hoping it would get my parents off my back. I didn’t know the first thing about insurance. I imagined I would just push paper during normal business hours, and it would just be a temporary stop on the path to my illustrious criminal justice career.
When I received the call that I was to be hired, I wasn’t ecstatic. What would the next few months of my life be like? I did not grow up saying, “I want to be an insurance agent!”
Being completely overwhelmed on my first day would be an understatement. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it; however, I discovered fairly quickly that I could make enough money to support myself in insurance. Everybody at the office seemed to make a good living.
Education and training quickly followed. I took a licensing class within the first month and passed the test on the first try, which was unheard of in my office. Passing the licensing test increased my confidence and encouraged me to continue learning for as long as I was at the agency. As time progressed, I pursued other learning opportunities and designations.
I found that I truly enjoyed my job. I loved being able to develop relationships with my insureds and know that I was helping them protect themselves at the same time. The deeper into insurance I got, the more I realized how lucky I was to be on this career path – and all by chance!
During the time I worked at the agency, I witnessed how difficult it was to hire qualified, reliable people. Most people who applied for open positions were either asking for too much money or were grossly underqualified. In my office, those who did not have college degrees had years of experience under their belts; however, new hires were expected to have some kind of degree.
After five years, the agency ownership changed, and I decided it was time to start the next chapter of my life. I had developed a rapport with the underwriter at Cincinnati Insurance, and I mentioned to him that I was seeking a new position. He joked that if I wanted to move to Cincinnati, he knew Cincinnati Insurance was looking for an individual with agency experience. I’m sure I surprised him when I responded with my resume! I interviewed, was offered the position and quickly packed up my life and moved to Cincinnati all in a matter of weeks. A new job, a new city, and I didn’t know a soul – this was going to be an adventure!
The experience here so far has been wonderful. I work with an amazing group of people, and it’s so exciting to be a part of developing a customer care center for small businesses from the ground floor. I look forward to helping our area grow, while also growing as an insurance professional. I want to pursue continuing education opportunities and I hope to obtain the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation, as well as other designations in the next few years.
It’s really a shame that it seems to be a challenge to recruit college graduates into insurance careers. The opportunities that the insurance industry can provide are endless, and I would consider this field one of the job market’s best kept secrets. Everybody needs insurance, right?
For more information about a variety of insurance careers, please visit the Insurancecareers.org website or Facebook page sponsored by Ohio’s insurance industry. Cincinnati Insurance posts open positions on our website.