Breaking into the Insurance Industry

By Conor Moran, Assistant Vice President – Commercial Lines

A Millennials Point of View

When I graduated from the College of Charleston I had plans to take on the world. Funny thing was, I wasn’t sure of the career path. However, there were two things I knew I wanted: a career in sales and a career that was portable.

What I mean by portable, is a career that would prep me with the skills to land a new job wherever it may be; whether it be California, Ireland or as far east as China. The most obvious choice for me was to consult with my best friend and hero, my father. He suggested I check out the world of Property & Casualty Insurance.

I had a few preconceptions about insurance, mainly that it was a necessary evil for all businesses and individuals to have, and therefore selling insurance to everyone would be a piece of cake. I have since come to realize this preconception was very far from reality!

I started simple and created a foundation of beliefs that centered around insurance products that people and/or companies needed that I could provide. These products are more required than desired, so that is the position I took and the direction I was heading. I became confident that as long as I could understand a business and its related risk, I could customize an insurance program to best fit the needs of that client. Sales would be more like a real estate transaction – price is king – and I was certain I could find the best one.

As I get deeper into the world of insurance, I’m realizing that I have much more to learn. I now understand that insurance is much more than a policy to cover insured losses; it is about risk management “best practices” to protect the assets of companies.

I am lucky to have gained some hands-on experience by shadowing senior producers, risk control consultants and underwriters. Did you ever wonder how everyday products like ricotta cheese or windows become a finished product? I never would have thought that being in the insurance industry would mean that I would be touring facilities to learn about how products are manufactured, how family businesses get started, and how these finished products eventually get to retail shelves or end users. I’ve come to learn that by touring these operations we must assess business exposures in their workforce, distribution via their own fleet of vehicles, potential liabilities arising out of their products and sustainability/contingency after a catastrophic property loss.

During one facility visit in particular, we identified potential risks that could result from employee negligence. Management had assumed that training their employees when they came onboard was enough. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. More often than not, small incidents can lead to big claims. Attention to detail is how accidents can be avoided and getting the management team to buy into a culture of safety is a crucial step. If management is behind the idea, it then sets a precedent within the company that steps up efforts to promote safety awareness. Not only is this important for their employees, but it will keep their insurance costs down as well. Exposure analysis is just one of the many proactive services that are offered. With every renewal comes a service timeline for the policy period, providing visual evidence of what is expected from their insurance broker throughout the period.

I’ve since learned a critical piece of information: that businesses must have a solid partnership with their insurance brokers to develop a proactive risk management program. For example, most people will see a doctor when they have health issues. They get their prescription, get fixed and go on their way. Whereas when people visit a dentist, they get their routine teeth cleanings, then the dentist develops a six month plan for another routine visit so that you don’t have to worry about gum disease or cavities. I am learning that
at JGS, we are similar to a dentist – we help clients stay out of trouble with our proactive service approach.

If a buyer can’t completely understand what they are buying, it then creates a lack of control that the buyer has over the situation. What you don’t understand, you cannot control, which is a huge reason why people hate insurance.

My knowledge is ever expanding as I soak up all that I can day by day. I will be attending a two-week course at the Hartford Insurance School to gain the fundamentals of insurance coverage. I know that this is the start to the beginning of a great career, no matter where in the world it takes me.

 

Back to Blog