Darren Hasson, owner of WHINS Insurance Agency
College: California State University Northridge
Organizations: 2011 Maurice Herndon Scholarship Award,
Encino Chamber Member of the Year 2010
How did you determine that insurance was a viable career choice?
I have always been driven to reach out and make a difference in people's lives but now helping people through insurance has given me a way to focus that ambition. I saw a need for better customer service when I was involved in an auto accident prior to becoming an agent. I had many questions that went unanswered and my frustration made me realize that there was a need for a different kind of insurance agency—one that actually cared about their clients before and after selling them a policy.
What do you see Millennials struggle with in a professional environment?
The Millennials' toughest struggle in this particular professional environment is that they are in competition with the Geico and Allstate corporations. So, it becomes necessary to figure out a way to beat the big guys. The advantage that the Millennial generation has is its mastery of this technological age, which goes without saying is fundamental to any professional environment.
What do you see young agents struggle with in their first years in this industry?
Financial burden and patience are the two top struggles young agents are faced with. If you come from a solid financial background, that is one aspect in your favor. However, if not, it is important to prepare for financial vicissitudes. You can do this by making sure that you spend your money wisely, such as on marketing and advertising. It is important to remember that it takes time to become established. Stay focused on your goals and keep a positive attitude.
What's your mantra for success?
Everyone has a right to be heard. Everyone has a right to individualized service. Treat everyone as if what they have to say is the most important request you've heard all day—because it is! Give 150 percent effort. Respect your clients. Stay informed.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in 2010?
My biggest challenge was getting carrier appointments. Through this struggle I learned that not only do you have to work hard, but you have to work harder than any other agency to get those appointments. The challenge is that you have to keep getting referrals, referrals and referrals. Most of all, you have to discover what works best for you as an individual and as a professional. For me, that was learning about useful services such as Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. We all have our strengths and weaknesses; we need to understand how to utilize our strengths and work through our limitations so that we may actualize our business goals.
What skills do you think young agents need today?
In 2011 young agents must be educated beyond the licensing process. This includes a college degree, extra classes, special training and leadership skills. Staying on top of current developments in the insurance industry is imperative as well as listening to what the client needs now.