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  • Writer's pictureFerguson Insurance Services

Shaking the Stigma

For nearly 15 years now, I have been in the insurance industry.

There has always been a reputation preceding me.

In 2009, I landed my first insurance position. I was so proud of this job and even more so when I passed my exams and became licensed. I attended a family reunion shortly after where I explained my job to a cousin. I immediately became her "enemy" as if I was the one who personally denied her claim. I know now that her response was out of misplaced anger and misunderstanding. However, this had an impact on me.

Insurance agents carry a stigma.

  • We are aggressive salesman

  • We are commission hungry

  • We oversell you.

  • We undersell you

  • We are disingenuous

How do we shake this stereotype?

I won't deny that there are agents out there that have created this image. I believe that stereotypes are based on truths. We have all pursued by the aggressive salesman, we have been told numbers that sound "too good to be true" to close a sale. But I'd also say that there are people like this in every industry.

Why is insurance so different? Well, maybe because it is a product that we don't "see" and we hope that we don't ever have to use. It feels like we are putting money towards an invisible product. There isn't anything tangible and in some cases, we are required to have it.

How much do we really know about our insurance? Have we become apathetic and just assume that we have adequate coverage? It's kind of like going into the mechanic. We know our vehicle needs servicing, we don't know exactly what it needs, but we fear being sold something we don't need. Therefor, we avoid it (I know I do).

I was young in 2009. Over the years, I have learned to embrace that insurance can be a sensitive subject. I have learned to embrace this. Insurance can be an intimate conversation. It involves your physical health and your financial health. You will likely share more information with your insurance agent than you have with your own children.

The process to become an insurance agent isn't exactly difficult. There is mandatory classes and studying, an extensive exam, and a background check.

In order to represent a carrier (the insurance company), you have to pass their certifications and prove to them that you carry your own liability insurance! Yes, the insurance agent is insured to sell insurance. Why? Because we have a responsibility to make sure that you are appropriately covered and that we give you only accurate and honest information.

We are held liable by every company that we represent. For every bit of advice we offer. For every policy we write.

Let's think back to the "Stigma".

It is not in our (or yours) best interest to misdirect or misplace you into a policy. (I mean, we also have a conscience). You share private information with your agent. We are subject to HIPAA law. That jump to conclusion when you hear "Insurance agent" is far from truth. We have an overwhelming responsibility to protect you and your assets. Misrepresentation could land everyone in quite a pickle!

Every time a client comes to me and trusts me with their information, I'm honored. They are putting faith in my expertise and guidance. In return, I am going to give them exactly what they need. I will make sure that they are educated and understand the basics of their insurance policy.

I hope the next time you are shopping for insurance, whether it be for a new home or car, trying to lower costs, etc... That you feel comfortable to reach out to a local, independent broker/agent.

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