What an absolutely ideal week to be wrapping up my mini-series of blog posts on the Ferris State RMI program’s tagline: Practical Education, Flexible Career, Rewarding Life
We have enjoyed unseasonably spring-like weather for a Michigan February, with abundant sunshine (most days) and temperatures rising into the sixties. As if that weren’t enough, this was also the week of the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents annual convention, which I attended along with several of my current RMI students. As we talked with many of the hundreds of insurance professionals at the convention, a common theme was how rewarding their careers have been in the insurance industry. We talked with a few who said that they’ve only been in the industry since their 30’s and expressed regret that they didn’t discover the RMI career path in their 20’s. That speaks volumes.
Rewarding Life… I looked up the definition of “rewarding” and found “providing satisfaction; gratifying.” There are a number of ways that we humans can be satisfied. Money, security, prestige, service to others, fulfilling experiences, and the list goes on. Each individual defines their level of satisfaction and gratification according to their own personal values, and most people seem to derive satisfaction from a combination of things in balance with their values.
Over the course of the MAIA convention, my students heard a variety of personal stories from seasoned industry professionals that all boiled down to the same principle: They’ve had (and have) a very rewarding life in an industry that has been very good to them. What does that mean? As I wrote in the previous paragraph, it means different things to each person, but I can tell you (based on my own experience) what it means for many who work in the RMI industry.
It is a lucrative career, if you want it to be. I personally know many RMI professionals who are well into six-figure incomes. I can’t complain in the least about my fiscal rewards over the last 30 years. It is a very stable industry that has provided job security and stability. The industry is diverse and always evolving, so RMI professionals are constantly learning, growing, and doing different things each day. For example, you’re constantly learning about different insureds’ operations – it’s like a neverending episode of the Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” television show.
You meet the most interesting and smart people from all walks of life, and you have the opportunity to attend fantastic events and visit wonderful places. My own RMI career has given me the chance to spend time in Hawaii, India, and Australia, just to name a few. In terms of fulfilling experiences, while working on a project in Australia, I spent a Sunday afternoon sailing on Sydney Harbour, passing under the iconic Harbour Bridge and past the Sydney Opera House. I had no idea that my insurance career would provide such an incredible opportunity when I began as an underwriting intern so many years before.
Last but not least, there is great satisfaction that comes from helping other people. The insurance industry is entirely about helping people to live securely, and to pick them up when they are down. Let’s be honest here, the news media loves to cherry-pick the instances when an insurance company denies a claim or there appears to be some sort of injustice. The reality is that the insurance industry helps millions of people proactively by recommending and providing insurance protections that provide stability and peace of mind, and then gets them back on their feet at the worst moments in their lives. You ask any insurance agent or claims professional about the most rewarding aspect of their work and inevitably they will share a story about a claimant to whom they delivered a check and provided comfort during the darkest time of that claimant’s life.
Now imagine all of the aforementioned sources of satisfaction aggregated over the course of a 40 year career. That makes for a truly rewarding life.