“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country." This phrase has stayed with me for a long time. Back in the day this was a familiar quote associated with learning to type on a typewriter. It turns out that this sentence is exactly 70 characters long, which was the entire length of one complete line on a typewriter. Yes, when I was in school, learning to type on a typewriter with accuracy and speed was a goal for anyone wanting to work in an office setting. Fast forward to today where typing or keyboarding is second nature to almost everyone.
In March of 2020, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" came to my mind again as we all struggled to come to terms with a global pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic introduced us to new words and phrases like COVID-19, social distancing, shelter at home, quarantine, and mask mandate. We quickly had to change the way we did many things in order to keep ourselves and others safe. Many companies asked their employees to work from home, while other businesses had to shut down.
We have learned to pivot, be agile, flexible, and think outside of the box. We learned that with technology we can stay in touch with our customers and continue to provide the services needed. People keep asking, “When will things get back to normal?" I doubt that everything will go back to the way it was before 2020; innovation and change are often born out of necessity. Many of the innovative ways that came about in the last year will be here to stay.
What I am certain of, is that individuals and businesses alike will continue to need to purchase insurance to protect their financial assets. I also believe that to best protect their assets, they will need the assistance of professionals like us in the insurance industry. The definition of a professional refers to anyone who earns their living from performing an activity that requires a certain level of education, skill, or training. We in the insurance industry should all be professionals.
What are some qualities of a professional?
Here are a few that immediately come to mind:
Know your stuff.
Please notice I did not say “know everything." Having been in the insurance industry for 40+ years I can say this profession requires a lifetime of learning to stay on top of your game. Make sure to take advantage of all the learning opportunities that your membership with Big I Arkansas offers. We have expanded our pre-licensing courses with both online and classroom versions. Big I Arkansas also invested in additional technology for the ability to provide the CISR and CIC programs in classroom as well as a live-streaming experience. You can find information regarding our education calendar anytime on our website. Additionally, we will be adding several Big I Arkansas CE days with Big I Virtual University live webinars. Our first CE day will be March 29th, and you can register now! And a new feature launching soon is a New Hire Training Plan to assist with onboarding new employees.
In addition to education courses, you can find a wealth of information under the Business Resources & Tools tab on our website including access to Virtual University. You must be signed in to access all of the information available.
Be sure to check out our monthly e-newsletter Education News You Can Use. It is important to remember that learning is a lifelong process. I love this quote from Henry Ford, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."
Stand for something.
This is about ethics and having a moral compass. A portion of the Code of Ethics of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc. states, “I believe that serving the public as an Independent Insurance Agent is an honorable occupation, affording me a special opportunity to serve society and offer valuable insurance products and services to the public." Believe it, embrace it, and stand behind that thought!
Keep your word.
This is a big one. Your word is your bond and can certainly set you apart. Be honest - say what you mean and mean what you say.
For those of us who have been in the insurance business for some time this may mean taking on mentoring roles and sharing your knowledge with others coming on board. All of us need to remember to be humble. If you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited.
I am very proud to be a part of the insurance industry and the wonderful professionals that make up the Independent Insurance Agent Association - Big I Arkansas. I would like to revise the original quote as I believe that “Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country and their industry."