Becoming an insurance agent can be a life-changing event for some, especially when the opportunity turns into a calling. The following producers may have come into the business for different reasons, but they’re each staying in the industry for the same: to improve the lives of others.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Meet Your Peers: July 2013

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Amy De Lorenzo, personal lines client service assistant
Strategic Insurance Services
Clearwater, Fla.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?
While an InVEST student I heard stories from InVEST volunteer’s about how they got part time jobs at an insurance agency while in school. Once in college I reached out to my InVEST teacher and asked if any of our volunteers needed part-time help in their agency. Strategic Insurance Services was looking for help and hired me because they knew my background, having taken InVEST in high school. The rest is history, and I’m now celebrating my one year anniversary with the agency.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?
Helping people. Day after day, I receive phone calls from clients that need help understanding their insurance policies. I love being able to clarify terms and satisfy their needs.

What’s your favorite client success story?
A few weeks ago we were able to save a client almost $1500 on her flood insurance. She was so ecstatic and thankful we went the extra mile to save her money.

What career advice would you give new agents and/or what’s your mantra for success?
Take everything one step at a time. Some days or tasks will be harder than others, but by helping clients, the end result will put a smile on your face.

What career would you want if you weren’t an insurance agent?
If I wasn’t working at Strategic Insurance Services, I would like to open a sports complex.

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?
I strongly admire Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. He is an amazing hockey player but also a great team player on and off the ice, donating his time and money to local Tampa Bay charities.

What are your hobbies/what do you most enjoy doing outside the office?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved hockey. I try to go to as many Tampa Bay Lightning games in a season as possible. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family at our gorgeous local beaches.

Lori Robinett, senior vice president
Willis Group
Addison, Texas

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?
By accident. I was a student in college with dreams of becoming a lawyer. I also was a mother of two children at this point in my life. Having beaten the odds as a young mother in college, I realized that after the completion of my bachelor’s degree, pursuing a legal profession would be too time consuming and would take more time away from my children. I then decided to enter corporate America as a secretary to the head of the National Project Insurance Practice for Willis. As I had not yet graduated college yet, I began with Willis I decided to push through the remaining years as a part time student, full time mom and a full time employee.

After a total of 11 years I successfully graduated in 2005, and was at Willis for five of those years. During those five years, I absorbed all I could in an industry I knew nothing about. As I had a love for law, I learned that consulting with clients and structuring insurance programs gave me the same thrill. I was hooked from day one. I am currently with the same company, same unit, and now I do what my one-time boss and mentor did.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?
The clients. To be a part of something so important to what they do and create programs that are no two ever alike. To consult, design, build, and complete a successful insurance structure is such rewarding job.

What’s your favorite client success story?
Whenever I do what has not been done before. We are always looking for new and innovative ideas as brokers to be different. But how does it play out when you are put to the test? Transparency, relationships and treating insurance companies fairly have always been our mantra. After all, the insurance companies are who we rely on to provide solutions to our clients.

I was building an insurance program for a multi-billion dollar construction project and had to build an excess tower in addition to the company’s current corporate program. We were advised by their corporate broker that it was impossible as they had two separate excess towers as part of their corporate structure alone and the entire marketplace was taped out. In addition, the company had experienced some significant claims a few years back that had spooked much of the marketplace from even participating.

Not taking no for an answer, we continued with a full-blown marketing campaign that reached out domestically and internationally. As we showcased the risk, many carriers told me and my client that it could not be done. Through past relationship building and using domestic and international access points, we were able to squeeze the additional $300M they needed, officially tapping out the marketplace for excess. It was because of those relationships and their appreciation for how we do business that we got the support we needed from the marketplace.

What career advice would you give new agents and/or what’s your mantra for success?
Learn, be properly educated and never stop being a student. Don’t discount anyone from being a mentor to you. Listen to your clients and provide real solutions and not solutions that will only make you look good. Be mindful of deadlines with your clients and do what you say you are going to do.

Lastly but most importantly – treat anyone you deal with in this industry with dignity and respect. If someone can’t provide you something, you need move on to someone who will, but don’t burn a bridge with the one that could not. You may need them some day.

This business is not rocket science and I think we can be our own worst enemy. As one senior underwriter once told me, it is only egos that get in the way between doing a job and doing a great job. The great job is what will always be remembered.

What career would you want if you weren’t an insurance agent?
To stay home and enjoy life. Hard to do without the lotto, yes I know. So the brokers’ life it will be until then.

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?
He may not have been a public figure, but he is known to many, especially after the movie “A Beautiful Mind”: John Nash, the mathematician whose work in game theory revolutionized economics. As many know he also struggled with schizophrenia. He is an inspiration to me because of his brilliance. He revolutionized economics through game theory, which, I believe, can be successfully applied in business as well. He saw sanity as conformity and viewed mental illness as an escape. What does that mean to the average person?  It means that not everyone can fit in a box. To support individuality means to support the gifts each person has and to use them to the fullest extent. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do when we are taught to be like everyone else. It is through that support of nurturing one’s gifts that gives way to great ideas, desire for change, and ability to blaze new paths.

What are your hobbies/what do you most enjoy doing outside the office?
Nothing more than spending every second I have outside of work with my family and friends.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Meet Your Peers: July 2013

Cabell Vildibill, commercial insurance broker
George H. Odiorne Insurance Agency Inc.
Brandon, Fla.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?
I changed from the construction and engineering field. I had recently sold a manufacturing business and had a job offer in the civil engineering department at MacDill Air Force Base when a longtime friend askedme if I wanted to help them expand their Commercial Lines P&C Business.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?
I enjoy teaching my clients about their exposures and creating the best risk management solutions to hedge against those exposures.

What’s your favorite client success story?
One of my favorites is when I was able to get a large “loss of income” claim paid for a client who was not yet open for a new business.

What career advice would you give new agents and/or what’s your mantra for success?
When you call on a new client, make sure you read their current policy. Educate yourself on forms and coverage. In addition, obtain industry designations such as CIC, CRM, CPIA or AAI to constantly expand your skills and knowledge.

What career would you want if you weren’t an insurance agent?
I would be an inventor.

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?
Benjamin Franklin because he left such an impact in so many areas.

What are your hobbies/what do you most enjoy doing outside the office?
I participate in skeet shooting competition.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Meet Your Peers: July 2013