Let’s face it-most of us started our careers in insurance because we had gotten a degree that we really couldn’t do much with and we needed a job to pay the bills. That was my story. Sound familiar? I basically “fell” into insurance. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I did have a degree so I was at least “trainable.”
Honestly, my plan was not to stay in insurance. I was always somewhat embarrassed to tell people that I worked in insurance because once I mentioned it-it always seemed like the person I was talking to had some horror story about a claim that they just had to tell me about…
So, I got another design degree – about as useless as the first one. (I guess I’m a slow learner!) This was about seven years after my BA degree. What I finally realized is that I would have to start at the “bottom” again in this new field and I decided that I really couldn’t stomach “starving” again. I was making a pretty good living at that time in insurance. My pay would have been cut in half if I tried to make the move.
That’s when I finally realized that Insurance could be how I make a living and Design could be my hobby. I also realized what I really enjoyed about working in insurance. My job allowed me to work with people, constantly face new challenges and be creative solving problems. I’m very proud to say that it’s a great industry and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.
I received my Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation about ten years after that second “useless” degree. I basically thought of those five years as accomplishing something rather than watching television. It was the best thing that I ever did for myself! It gave me credibility. It means that you’re serious about your career. I was given respect and it opened doors to better positions. It also gave me the confidence to participate in leadership positions in insurance organizations outside of work and speak to groups on various insurance topics.
Frankly, I believe everyone should have a CPCU designation. Everyone should have a basic knowledge of Law, Accounting, Economics and Insurance to successfully understand how business and the economy works.
I recently opened an independent insurance agency with a respected co-worker. I can’t help thinking that my CPCU designation prompted my willingness to take on this new challenge. I just hope your journey is as fulfilling and interesting as mine has been so far. I recommend that you don’t wait so long to get your career really started.