What Insurance Agents Need to Unlearn when Moving to a New Agency
Making a career change can be an exciting time in your life.
As an insurance agent, you’ve grown and flourished in your role at your current agency, but for whatever reason, you’re ready to pull a Lebron and take your talents to South Beach (err, or wherever it may be in your case.)
But, even if you’re confident in your skills as an insurance agent, transitioning to a new agency may not be an easy layup.
Your job title may be the same, but in all likelihood, there will be a lot different about your new agency. A lot of your former knowledge may not apply, and it may feel like you’re back at training camp (OK, the basketball metaphor stops here -- promise!)
That’s why it is always important to go into a new company with flexibility and an open mind -- and be prepared to unlearn. That’s right, in order to excel in a new company you will need to unlearn some of the practices you’ve known your whole career.
At Berry Insurance, we’ve had to help several insurance account managers through this process -- so we can help you too! In the following article, we’ll outline 7 areas that you will need to adjust your mindset and relearn when moving to a new insurance agency.
Policies and procedures:
This is an obvious one. Every company comes with its own set of policies and procedures and you might not know what to expect.
The hiring process; benefits; dress code; vacation time, sick time, and PTO; internet policy; workplace safety; and more -- there is a lot that will likely vary from one place to another.
This is why when you start at a new agency (or any company for that matter) familiarizing yourself with the handbook is one of the first things you should do to make sure you have the basic rules and policies down.
Working for a new company also means working with all new people.
And every person has their own priorities and preferences. That means the business’ leadership and your colleagues may have different expectations of you than your former ones.
Some agencies may look for you to reach very specific numeric targets. Others may just care that you are growing and offering great customer service.
Some businesses prioritize individual efforts, while others focus on team contributions -- or some may want a combination of the two.
Regardless, you should throw out those expectations from your old company and really get to know what your new agency expects from you.
Culture and practices:
In our opinion, this is the more important one.
Every insurance agency has their own personality and their own mission that drives them. And that personality and mission directly dictates how they handle all marketing and branding, processes, and interactions with clients and insurance carriers.
So when it comes to handling business in your new position, your instincts may not always be correct.
For example, some agencies just want to close deals and will write everything and everything. Others may work with more selective or niche carriers, who will only write specific types of policies.
For example, at Berry Insurance, we’re pretty casual. Some insurance agencies may still wear collared shirts and ties. We, on the other hand, wear jeans to work most days! We are real people, and we want our clients to connect with us as real people (OK, that’s only part of it. We also just really like to be comfy.)
Our entire marketing approach is based on education. We try to be straightforward in our marketing efforts, answering questions about insurance while eliminating all of the confusing jargon.
We’re not saying we’re the only agency like this, but we know there are many agencies out there that are different.
And even if you are transferring to an agency with a similar personality and values to your previous one, there’s not a chance they’re exactly the same. There will always be something new to learn.
Role and duties:
You may have the same exact title you did at your previous agency, but that doesn’t mean your role and duties will be identical.
Each agency allocates duties to their account managers differently, so you might find you’re doing something in your new role that you weren’t in your old role. You may find that you no longer have to do a duty you did in your old role.
Disregard your responsibilities from your old role and be prepared to get to know what is expected of you at the new agency.
Taking immediate action:
In your former role, your experience may have given you the confidence to jump right into action whenever something came up.
You may think your experience will give you the ability to jump right into action at your new agency too, but actually, you’ll need to spend a lot of time learning your new agency’s way of doing things, and get acclimated with your teammates before taking charge.
It is likely your new insurance agency won’t work with all the same carriers as your old insurance agency.
That means you’ll need to learn the guidelines for all of the new carriers you’ll work with.
Even if you are familiar with some of your new agency’s carriers, it’s important to realize that your new agency’s relationship with a certain carrier might be different from your former agency’s relationship with that carrier. That means the carriers may work with you differently, or may allow certain things that others don’t.
Systems and technology:
While agencies only have a handful of choices in terms of CRM systems, it's very likely your new agency may use a different one than your old one. While they all essentially do the same thing, they work differently, so navigating the new system will be a learning curve.
Also, some agencies rely heavily on old ways of communication (i.e. letters, fax, snail mail) and others adopt current trends (i.e. email, text, video). So the way you use technology in your new role may be completely different than what you’re used to.
Prepare for your new insurance agent role
We didn’t scare you too much, right?
The truth is, the transition to any new company can be a bit scary, but if you’re moving from one insurance agency to another, chances are you already have some of the most important building blocks for success in place!
The most important thing to remember is to go into your new role with an open mind. You may be conditioned to doing things one way, but by working with a new company, you’re committing to taking on their way of doing things. So you’ll need to be flexible. And hey, you’ll probably even notice you’re a fan of their culture and the way they do things -- there’s a reason you wanted to work with them in the first place, right?
If you’re starting to work at a new insurance agency, you’re probably pretty eager to get off on the right foot and make a great impression.
Well we have some tips for you! To help you prepare to make the switch to a new insurance agency, check out this article: 7 Qualities You Need to be a Successful Insurance Account Manager.
And if you're contemplating making the switch to a new agency, why not Berry Insurance? To learn more about if we have an opportunity for you, head on over to our career page.