Career Story: Personal Lines Insurance Agent

Personal Lines Insurance Agent

Job Title: Personal Lines Insurance Agent

Type of Company: We are a property, casualty and life insurance agency appointed by many companies to insure auto, home, boat and other personal policies.

Education: BA, Social Work, Michigan State University •• accreditation through the Massachusetts State Insurance Licensing Department

Previous Experience: I started training in an office that did not require me to be licensed, but many years of on-the-job training and of taking insurance classes have brought me to my present position managing hundreds of "personal lines" insurance accounts at an agency in a suburb of Boston. This includes selling insurance and doing all the necessary follow-up work that's required to maintain an account: handling claims, making changes to policies, answering inquiries and so on.

Job Tasks: The day-to day operations of an insurance agency are not the stuff of pulp fiction, exactly. Mostly, we take calls from customers who have claims or billing inquiries. We answer faxes, phone calls and emails from customers and companies alike. On the computer, I upload new business to our companies through the networks that connect us.

But we do other things too. I seek competitive quotes for all new business policyholders, issue them their policies and help to maintain the policies too. Customers often have questions regarding their coverage, or need assistance understanding correspondence they've received from their mortgage or leasing companies. I review renewal policies, helping customers make coverage choices that offer them maximum coverage at a competitive price, and assist them with their claims (auto accidents, thefts, fires, vandalism to name a few of the typical occurrences), reply to the companies' requests for information on the insureds, and try to "round out" the accounts so they can be offered the most competitive company and with the best "products" that company offers.

Many people look to me to assist them with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, their mortgage companies, the insurance companies who provide their coverage, and related entities. Many have difficulty speaking English; we do our best to make things clear to them. We have to be cautious because of privacy laws while still answering their questions in a timely fashion. Many of these problems have deadlines to prevent major difficulties.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Worst: I am constantly interrupted, and multi-tasking throughout the day is tiring; handling people's complaints can be draining; and staying up-to-date with the myriads of policy changes that our business requires us to track can be overwhelming.

Best: no day is "routine", and every day offers new challenges. Plus, it's satisfying knowing I help solve customers complaints and problems, and they're often appreciative.

Job Tips:
1. Try to take as many insurance courses as possible and obtain your license as soon as you can.

2. Learn to handle many tasks at once, as you will be have constant interruptions.

3. Know that you will be the "go-to" person for both the company representative and your customers, so you must be able to adopt both perspectives.

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