(May 15, 2015) Whether they fell into the insurance industry by accident or simply joined the family business, young agents understand the importance of keeping small business concerns top of mind with their legislative representatives. Two weeks ago, two young agents from every state earned a $500 scholarship from the national Young Agents Committee to attend the 2015 Big “I” Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. for the first time.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Trisha Ours, scholarship winner and client manager at The Horton Group in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “I really had the most amazing experience. It was awesome to feel like I was making a difference.”
“I was a little nervous,” said Stephen Monaco, scholarship winner and young agent at Granite Insurance Agency, Inc. in Braintree, Massachusetts. “But it was wonderful. Whether it’s a national issue or local, it’s just good to know all those topics and what’s coming down the pike.”
Like most professionals in the industry, these young agents weren’t always interested in insurance. For Ours, it all began at 21 years old when a temp agency hired her to serve as a receptionist while a staff member was out on long-term disability.
“I didn’t really have any aspirations of being in insurance,” she said. “But after two weeks of being a receptionist here, they offered me a position as a CSR in our small business unit.”
Over the next 11 years, Ours would continue to become increasingly involved with the business.
"I always am looking for other opportunities and better ways to do things within the agency,” she said. “I’ve been lucky within my career that even though I was a CSR, I could be involved in operations, I could be involved in IT, I could be involved in sales—I just tried to put myself out there and tried to look outside the box.”
Juggling a variety of responsibilities is Ours’ favorite part about working in the insurance industry.
“I feel more fulfilled when I have lots of different things on my plate,” she said. “It helps me stay on task and be motivated. If I only had to do just my job, I probably wouldn’t be as productive because I would get bored.”
Monaco had a very different introduction to the industry: Both his parents were insurance agents, as well has his uncle and aunt.
“It really is a family business,” he said, remembering he knew he would go into insurance when studying management in college. After working at a local company for five years, Monaco eventually joined the family firm—and it’s been a perfect fit.
“There are so many different things to do in the insurance industry and there’s so much opportunity to move up,” he said.
During the annual Big “I” Day on Capitol Hill, Monaco joined about 20 other delegates from his state, seven of whom were young agents, in meeting with Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) to discuss issues like flood insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac” tax.
As the only conference attendee from her agency, Ours joined about 15 other agents from Wisconsin to speak with congressional staffers about small business concerns.
“It’s nice to be with people who have been in the industry for a long time and have gone to Capitol Hill year after year,” Ours said. “You can follow in their footsteps. I had really experienced people in my group, so it was great seeing the way they talk to the representatives. They were very informative—I learned a lot.”
Both Ours and Monaco hope to attend the Big “I” Legislative Conference again in years to come.
“It’s extremely important for young agents to show their face at these events because honestly, we are the future,” Monaco said. “When Congress sees more and more young agents down there, they’ve got to take us seriously.”
“It’s important for young agents to go because we need to be involved as baby boomers continue to leave the industry,” Ours said. “We’re the ones who have to take over and keep Congress up to date on our issues. If young agents aren’t going, who’s going to do it when all these people retire? It’s very important to get young people out there so they can see firsthand what kind of impact we make.”
Original article retrieved here.