By Brian Pilarski, Commercial Insurance Advisor
With the latest holiday season comes another set of awkward responses when people ask what I do for a living. I often joke that the best way to stop a casual conversation is to let people know you are in the insurance business. People learn this and really don’t know how to follow up or inquire about it. The standard response is typically “Oh… umm… [insert awkward transition statement].”
I understand and I don’t blame them. For many, the word “insurance” invokes negative connotations. Confusing, expensive, frustrating, and annoying are the most common adjectives associated with insurance. Homeowner issues, car insurance issues, “Obamacare” news cycles- the overall insurance purview is negative.
Some of my friends and family, whom are used to the fact that I am in the insurance industry, will often inquire as to why I am in the business. As a professional who dedicates a significant amount of time to the “practice” of insurance, the question is asked frequently.
One word describing why I choose to work as an insurance advisor: People.
As an agent (intermediary), I help my clients understand the exposures of a business or individual and pursue their financial protection. Insurance, really, is money. The policy is a legal contract between two parties. And it’s as simple as buying other goods and services- the client will have certain needs that they want met. As agents, we help negotiate the contracts and push for the best pricing options to help our clients protect their risks/assets/livelihoods/people.
As an agent, I am able to interact with all kinds of clients and other professionals. Over time, strong relationships are built and a lot of life’s moments are shared within the business relationship. Each week I interact with 50-100 people. Some weeks, I may talk to 500 people.
Some of these people are strangers, others are long time clients I have served for years. Collectively, all of these experiences cultivate the “why” I do what I do, why we do what we do. The experiences each week are with friends, colleagues, partners, managers, enemies, thorns-in-our-side, good lawyers, bad lawyers, and everything in between.
Over time, I have seen clients lose life partners, lose business partners, lose their business. I have also seen people build an idea from a parent’s home into a $30M business, employing 40 people. I have seen companies grow, acquire new business, branch into new products and service, expand out of the country. We have helped clients sell their businesses, insure new buildings, insure new equipment, and purchase new properties.
Through the years, we have seen many clients hire and mentor young professionals, enabling them to gain experience in managing important aspects of a business. We have seen people build succession plans and successfully pass down the business to the next set of leaders, all with growth in the forecast.
Our company has a few sayings that ring true and are a big part of “why” I do what I do: Change is the only constant. Almost nothing is forever. Assiduous attention to detail. No big mistakes. These culture statements are really true for all of business and life, for that matter. That is what makes this so worth it.
Yes- at times, insurance is terrible. Disappointing. Expensive. Insurance is the conduit for us to work with great people. However, great experiences far outweigh the bad and the community is really here to help everyone.
To the people we work with and will soon- we thank you. We wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018.