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Searching for a New Career Opportunity?

Have you ever noticed that when a series of events collide, the result is often both a crisis and the emergence of new opportunities? That appears to be what’s happening today.  The tough economy we’ve experienced over the past several years has led to record-high levels of unemployment across most of the nation, and the situation is improving at a painfully slow rate.

Recent college graduates are the hardest hit by unemployment and underemployment. This includes those with post-graduate degrees and military veterans returning to civilian life after one or more tours of duty.  The age range of this combined millennial demographic is 20 to34.  Other hard-hit groups include a large contingent of baby boomers and gen Xers who have faced major layoffs in mid-life by employers seeking to reduce costs and “do more with less.”  As these individuals know, landing a new job when you’re just starting out, or when you are over 40 years of age can be a real challenge.

Difficult Challenges Can Also Bring Opportunity 

One opportunity I see on the horizon offers a chance for unemployed and underemployed individuals to find meaningful work.  Sales careers have historically provided almost unlimited opportunities for success, and the insurance business seems to be heating up right now.  According to Department of Labor statistics, employment of insurance sales agents and managers is projected to grow 22 percent over the next several years—faster than the average for all occupations.

Insurance sales can be an excellent choice for detail-oriented individuals who are outgoing, self-motivated and willing to work hard.  Why?  Because a career in sales makes the most of skills many people already possess.  Plus, it can offer good income potential, and there are typically no age or geographic barriers for employment. In addition, worker diversity in the insurance industry is often encouraged because it reflects the growing diversity in our nation’s general population around age, ethnicity and language.    

The company I am employed with, which provides supplemental insurance policies to individuals and businesses, is living proof that commission-based insurance sales jobs can provide highly rewarding career opportunities for entrepreneurial college grads and millennials, returning military veterans, mid-career workers who have been laid off, and long-time workers looking for a new challenge. In short, the field is open to virtually anyone who has the discipline and determination to do what it takes to succeed. 

One of the rewards of building a successful career as a sales agent or manager in the supplemental insurance business is that it can provide career advancement and financial stability. At the same time, individuals working in the field can take satisfaction in knowing they are helping customers gain protection against financial pressures and losses due to unexpected healthcare costs.

Why Supplemental Insurance Is So Important Today 

For large segments of the population, the passing and implementation of the Affordable Care Act  has created yet another crisis. Many consumers are seeing their health insurance coverage change dramatically as policy costs continue to rise, benefits fall, and copays and deductibles creep higher and higher.  Sadly, many individuals and their families are beginning to realize that even a single serious accident or medical emergency could potentially drive them into bankruptcy.

Supplemental insurance policies are designed to help bridge the gap between an individual’s major medical plan (whether from an employer, the Affordable Care program or privately sourced) and additional expenses.  Since major medical does not cover all expenses incurred due to injury or illness. The policyholder is typically responsible for deductibles and co-payments, which can add up quickly.  In addition, medical insurance does not cover other expenses associated with emergencies such as transportation to and from medical facilities, lost income from time off work, or hiring outside help for child care and household chores.  Supplemental insurance can help by paying claims promptly and directly to the policyholder, who can use the cash to pay out-of-pocket medical and other expenses.

Some typical supplemental insurance plans offered in the marketplace today include disability, accident and sickness, critical care, cancer care, and whole life.  

Looking for the Right Sales Position

Because many sales jobs are commission-based, people interested in launching a career in insurance sales or sales management should actively search for companies that offer a period of guaranteed income and a comprehensive paid sales training program, as well as employee status and benefits. These can help balance the financial risk.

It’s also important to seek out established, respected businesses offering high-quality products and services that they stand behind–companies driven by a set of stated values and dedication to a mission.  Also, it can pay dividends over the long term if you make a point to look for providers offering entry level sales positions and flexible opportunities for career advancement down the road.  Some things to look for, for example, include:

  • Competitive compensation with the possibility of performance bonuses
  • A comprehensive benefits package
  • Comprehensive sales training at the start with ongoing follow-up training thereafter
  • Challenging work in a friendly, diverse, collaborative and collegial environment
  • Knowledgeable, intelligent and approachable leadership and support

These kinds of benefits help to ease the financial risk of entering a new field and can provide a level of security right from the start that straight commission sales jobs often do not. Additional benefits that can help sweeten a job offer significantly include retirement savings plans and health insurance.

I sincerely hope the information provided here will be both enlightening and valuable to you  as you strive to transform an employment crisis into a new and exciting opportunity.  Wishing you the best of luck!

About Peter Leighton

Peter Leighton
Mr. Leighton joined Combined Insurance in 1976 as a sales representative in Maine and quickly moved into management. In his time with the company, he has held numerous leadership positions in sales and training. In 2012, Mr. Leighton was promoted to Senior Vice President of Recruiting. In this role, he directs all sales-related recruiting efforts including the company’s military veteran hiring program.

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