By Tiffany Stock, Director of Marketing & Client Relations | Employee Benefits Consultant | Partner
I know it may be hard to believe, but there isn’t a never-ending flow of resumes and applications coming in for people looking to get their foot in the door to start a career in insurance. In my almost 14 years in this industry, I can say I have only met one person who said they knew they wanted to work in insurance when they were growing up – I know, again, hard to believe [insert sarcastic face here]. I mean, I went through a few phases and thought I wanted to be a doctor, a graphic artist, or work in advertising – but never once did I think I’d work for an insurance brokerage and consulting firm.
Back in 2008, I had just had my second daughter and was working for an advertising and consulting firm. It was a small agency owned by a husband and wife, which was perfect for that time in my life. Being a small agency, I had my hands in a little bit of everything and got to meet a lot of people. But once I had two young children at home, I started to feel like if I was going to be away from them for forty+ hours per week, then I needed a job with more of a career path, room for growth, and new opportunities to learn. I hate to say it, but I was BORED. So, I updated my resume and started surfing the internet looking for open positions (I know that statement just dated me😊).
I came across an ad on Craigslist for an administrative position, no company name shown, and it was posted by a staffing agency saying something like, “Are you looking for a new career? Do you like creating presentations and working with a team? Opportunities for growth…” you get the picture. So, I submitted by resume and got through a few rounds of interviews, one of them ended up being a lunch interview at Pizza Plaza! Well, I got the job! I remember many times in the first few years, the then President of the company would check in with me to make sure I wasn’t “bored.” And I can say, there is not one time since I started in this industry where boredom has set in!
There are many different types of insurance, so I’m going to narrow down the focus to where my experience and opinions lie, in the Employee Benefits realm. Think of all the types of benefits you might look to an employer to provide you with (or at least provide access to). All types of insurance are highly regulated, and employee benefits is no exception. Both from the state and federal level, Health & Human Services, Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, State Divisions of Insurance, etc. all have a part in the rules and regulations surrounding the benefits you can get from your employer. There is so much to learn and just when you think you may have “mastered” something, a new piece of legislation gets passed, or a new product is introduced – there are never-ending learning opportunities in this field. And if you find a particular type of product or program that interests you, there is plenty of room to become a “specialist” in that topic.
You get to meet A LOT of different people, from local family-owned business owners, to boards of directors, people representing all sectors of our economy, from Presidents and CEOs, down to entry-level staff. At the end of the day, my job is to help employers know what their options are and help them evaluate those options to ensure those benefits align with their goals and objectives. Then, I facilitate making sure that their employees know what is available to them and be there as a resource to help them make the most of it.
One of the best things about my job is when I know I have helped someone. Insurance is a tool to help with financial protection. In the case of health or life insurance, you hope people never have to use it, but if they do or think they may, I hope I’ve made sure all my clients and their employees know we are here to help them navigate those difficult times.
It’s not all great, but I’m not sure of any job that doesn’t have its fair share of ups and downs. Let’s get real, it can be tough working in an industry that is so highly regulated, especially in a state that has some of the highest healthcare costs in the country. Things don’t always go the way we want or the way we hope, so during those times it’s so important to make sure you have a great work-family. Having an awesome team that supports you and an employer that has your back is crucial when those tough times come along. When I think of my team and the traits that make us successful, like being intellectually curious, self-motivated, a team player, and always looking for ways to make things better, the sky is the limit.
So, if you know of someone looking for a new career path, send them our way. Retirement is still in the distant future for me, but there is no better time than now to start looking for the person who can fill my shoes when that time comes. It may not be the career most kids dream of, but it certainly enables me to live the life most adults dream of!