From the December-03, 2006 issue of National Underwriter Property & Casualty • Subscribe!

The Best Advice For Today's Graduate: Consider A Career Selling Insurance

Well, the holiday season is here, and you've got to get a gift for that soon-to-be college graduate. How does this sound as a suggestion? Give them something that will cost you nothing to give, but will be of greater value than anything this person gets this year, or in the years to come.

It's something of great value, but they most likely don't know that to be true, and will miss it if you don't tell them. It is something that will bring years of personal satisfaction and financial reward. What is it that I'm talking about?

For those of you old enough to remember the movie "The Graduate," Dustin Hoffman was given the career advice, "Plastics...The future is plastics!" What we should be telling the graduate today is that there's a great future for them in "insurance--the sale of insurance."

Why? Because it's true! Those of us in the insurance agency/brokerage business are in a great field and a great industry. It has its challenges, but when you consider all of its positives, and when you consider its future, it is a great business indeed. Here are a few reasons why:

o Young people who are reasonably intelligent and willing to work hard can make a great living.

o If you have the ability to sell and you have technical insurance knowledge, you can get a job anywhere in the country.

o The work can be extremely rewarding.

o If you find the right situation, you can own something and you can create a great deal of equity.

o In the process of making a great living, you can also provide a valuable service to businesses and individuals.

In addition to all of this, the long-term future of the industry looks bright.

Our industry isn't going away. A lot of changes are taking place within the agency/brokerage business and--as viable as it is today--there is still lots of room for improvement.

Our industry needs many talented young people with sales, technical, management and leadership skills that can help perpetuate our firms and take them to the next level.

If it's such a great opportunity, why do we have to be passing this message along?

We have to because most young people don't have a positive view of our industry.

If they have talent and ability, many of them are conditioned to feel they need to consider something more meaningful--such as medicine, law or finance.

We have done a poor job of reaching out and proactively selling the benefits of our industry to talented young people.

In addition, very few agents and brokers have been in a position to provide a training and development platform that will allow them to hire untrained, talented young people and develop them to maturity.

With the average age of agency owners increasing every year, long-term success will require that agents and brokers develop their training, management, mentoring and people-development capabilities in order to put themselves in a position to bring the next generation of producers, managers and owners into their organizations.

To get the best, they are also going to have to be more proactive in identifying, selling and recruiting these candidates into the agency/brokerage business.

Once they get these talented young people, they will have to invest in them to give them the skills and knowledge they need to flourish.

These are not things that should be done. For most agents and brokers, they must be done.

Well, it's your choice: You can get your graduate something like a Rolex watch or a new automobile, or you can get something for them with a lot more value. You can convince them to get into the insurance agency/brokerage business!

If you succeed, you'll do them and perhaps yourself a big favor.

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