How I fell into insurance

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.


Where I fit in_16x9_bargerInsurance nerds like me love to play the game “How Did You End Up in Insurance,” the implication being that no one actually intends on an insurance career. Really, how many kids in your neighborhood ever spoke longingly of a future that included the principles of indemnification? No, most of us tripped and fell into a rabbit hole that turned into an insurance wonderland.  

Before I fell into the rabbit hole, I was going to teach high school English. Yes, in my daydreams, I transformed the barely literate youth of my world into Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists!

Of course things don’t always work out according to plans. Exactly 20 years ago, I was an unemployed high school English teacher who had spent the previous three years substitute teaching on a part-time basis and working construction on a full-time basis.

It was a fraternity brother who suggested that I pursue the career path that he had stumbled into several years earlier – insurance. Really? Insurance? Could there be a more painful existence?

Yet I took a leap of faith and somehow convinced somebody that an unemployed high school English teacher working construction would make an excellent underwriter. The company trained me to work with commercial accounts, and I learned about an entire world of different businesses, some that I never even knew existed. There were small manufacturers that made little parts that ended up in bigger parts. There were churches, small neighborhood stores and shops, general contractors, subcontractors, hotels, golf courses, social service agencies, breweries – an endless list of businesses that needed insurance. I wasn’t working in one industry… I was working in all industries!

I made other discoveries in this fascinating new wonderland. One was that our economy can’t function without insurance. Most business operations, home mortgages and car loans depend on the promise and security that insurance provides. I learned that we keep that promise on a daily basis. We’re there for people in their darkest hours. What an honor!

I also learned that an insurance career has something for everyone. Insurance professionals stay because we work in a place where we can develop our skills and pursue our interests. If sales is your thing, there’s a place for you. If customer service is your thing, there’s a place for you. If research is your thing, there’s a place for you. If technology is your thing, guess what. Yes! There is a place for you!! If math or science or reading or writing or teaching or studying are your thing? You get the point.

Absolutely, I fell into a career that I never intended – this wonderland of new discoveries and interesting personalities. It has allowed me to pursue many opportunities and grow and learn and, yes, even teach. What a blessing it has been.

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.


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5 Responses to “How I fell into insurance”

  1. Marianne McCormick

    Fantastic commentary.

  2. Jim Chavanne

    Awesome post, Kick…most of us seasoned veterans have similar convoluted paths to what really can become an excellent career in an underappreciated industry. I, for one, am proud to be in commercial insurance, and to work for a fantastic company.

  3. John Shedd

    Kick, Well said! For me it was 45 years ago when it got too cold to work outside as a landscaper. While not every day is perfect, I don’t have any regrets about the decision I made back then. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. John

  4. Jack DuBois

    This basically says it all, Chris. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the business world. I, like you, was a floundering college grad in the late 60’s. I actually backed into the Insurance Industry. I was subsequently an underwriter before I jumped to a company I didn’t know existed because of its very low profile, The Cincinnati Insurance Company. 37 years later, I retired from the exact company and industry you describe. Very well written.

  5. Rich Deming

    Kick, you are a bit of a sap but also right on. I stumbled into this business 35 years ago and I am so glad I did. As you, I also found my wife via insurance!

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