Been a while since I last penned a blog and a lot has happened. Most will know that I was elected to NAIFA’s Board of Trustees in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. That campaign took some time and effort but I feel my being on the board will benefit our Association. Many would consider that a boastful statement on my part and might even consider that I am being too egotistical. I would counter that when you have certain talents and you use them to their potential; that is not being egotistical but rather, being true to your nature.
With that said, are you proud of who you are and the talents that you have been given. Over the last few weeks, I have spoken numerous times and have mentioned the fact that insurance agents need to be proud of who they are and what they do. It really bothers me when I hear someone say that they don’t want their children to go into the insurance business. You see, I am extremely proud of my career choice and think that young people need to be encouraged to become insurance professionals. Let me explain why it is the most noble of professions and then let me touch upon why I think there are those who don’t take the pride in what they do. Over the years, the insurance profession has given me so much to be thankful for. My family has been able to live comfortably. I have had the freedom to be a good father and husband with the ability to attend to my family on a daily basis. I have grown in my knowledge and even been able to give back to the industry. But the most amazing part of the profession for me has been the difference it has made in people’s lives. Two of the most memorable come from two completely different products and situations. The first was a gentleman who lived in Fort Calhoun on a beautiful acreage. I met with he and his wife to discuss health insurance at her direction. He was a difficult individual who “didn’t need or want health insurance”. He reluctantly purchased a plan with a high deductable ($2,500) and 100% co-insurance. The year was 1993. It was early in my career and I was still a little green in the profession. Within a year, I got a call from his wife that he had cut himself with a chainsaw while trimming a tree. It was nothing major but would the accident rider pay. I assured her that it would and thought nothing of it. She called me later that week to tell me that while at the doctor’s, they had noticed something and wanted to run more tests. It was determined that he had developed cancer and it had already spread. He was able to fight the disease for two and a half years and right before he died, he asked if I would come out to his home and help him decipher the bills he had accumulated over that period. I agreed to go through everything with him and when I arrived, it was just he and I. All of his bills were neatly packed in shoe boxes and it was quite apparent to me that he already knew that the bills had been covered by insurance. After reviewing everything, I told him that it looked like the insurance had covered just like we had originally discussed and he mentioned that he thought so but just wanted some reassurance. He then stopped and looked directly at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Chuck, you will never understand the respect I have for you and insurance agents in general. Over the years, I met with quite a few and always told them that I didn’t need insurance. Most would walk away and I would never hear from them again. When we met with you, I wasn’t going to buy anything but you were willing to tell me why we should purchase a policy. Now mind you, I think you sold my wife rather than me. The doctors have told me I only have a couple of weeks left and as I look at these bills, I realize that had you not convinced us to get the insurance, my wife would not be able to continue to live here and my family would be left with insurmountable bills. I added up the costs of my care and in order for me to have enough money to pay for this one medical event, I would have had to put away over $750 each and every month from the time I was 21 to today. Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that you are an insurance agent, to me, you are difference maker.”
Wow, does that ever change how you look at things. He did pass away within those two weeks. I attended the wake and as I entered the chapel, there was a long line of people giving their condolences to the widow. As I took my place in line, she looked towards me and immediately left her spot and walked around everyone to come back and give me a hug. She explained that in those last days, her husband had told her that of all the people he had met during his lifetime, I was the one who made the biggest impact on what he was leaving. Wow, and to think I only sold health insurance. It is time for insurance professionals to take pride in what they do, to take pride in our industry, and to take pride in belonging to our professional association. Tell your story.