Tag Archives: Jeff Harrold

Rebuilding Lives


One aspect of the insurance industry that I believe is undersold in the recruiting process is the opportunity to rebuild broken lives.  On several occasions in recent months, I have written in this forum about the opportunities for a good and stable career in the insurance industry.  But it’s more than just a stable industry with appealing compensation and growing opportunities.  Much more.

When you boil it all down to the basic mission of the insurance industry, it’s all about rebuilding lives that have been disrupted if not turned upside down by an unfortunate event.  It could be as minor as a fender-bender auto accident or as major as the destruction of a home by fire or storm.  Everything we do in the insurance industry comes down to the moment that we help the customer to recover from the fender-bender or rebuild the family home.  We sell the policies with an eye toward covering these loss exposures, we underwrite to offer the coverage that is proper and fair and responsibly priced, we loss control risks to prevent as many losses as possible, we analyze the data to develop proper coverages and rates, and we settle the loss to put the customer’s life back together.  What an awesome mission and privilege.

I have to credit Auto-Owners Insurance Company Chairman and CEO Jeff Harrold who did express this appealing mission to the attendees of his company’s recent career day event which I wrote about here.  Much has been written (here and elsewhere) about the “graying” of the insurance industry with reports that perhaps 25% of the current insurance workforce will retire in the next 4-6 years.  That fact adds some urgency to industry appeals for young talented people to consider an insurance career.  But Millenials want more than a good job.  They want a meaningful job, and so part of the industry’s appeal for young talent must emphasize the noble mission of rebuilding broken lives.  What an incredible opportunity… make a good living, working in a stable industry with significant advancement opportunities, while helping your customers through perhaps the toughest days of their lives.  Sign me up.

Auto-Owners Insurance Company Career Day


Michigan is home to many excellent insurance firms, including carriers, agents, brokers, and service providers.  Last Friday, I took the time to journey to Lansing, Michigan to attend the annual Career Day event hosted by Auto-Owners Insurance Company at their headquarters.  A number of Ferris State University students also made the trip, and I think that they were duly impressed with what they saw and heard.

This post isn’t intended to be an endorsement of Auto-Owners Insurance Company, and by no means do I intend to convey that Auto-Owners is superior to other insurance entities.  I simply want to take this opportunity to describe the day and reinforce some sentiments that have been previously expressed in this forum.

The event began with remarks from Auto-Owners’ Chairman and CEO, Jeff Harrold.  Mr. Harrold also happens to be a Ferris State graduate, so okay, maybe I do have a little bias in favor of his company.  Mr. Harrold spoke to the students about the long history (98 years) and continued growth of Auto-Owners Insurance Company.  He also described the culture of opportunity and personal development for employees at Auto-Owners, and he mentioned the simple demographic truth that there are many aging insurance professionals approaching retirement and that young talented individuals will find significant opportunities to make a career in the insurance industry.  Naturally, Mr. Harrold is hoping that many of the students will seek to begin that career journey with Auto-Owners.

The group heard from people in the actuarial, information technology, and underwriting areas of the company.  Everyone had the chance to take a brief tour of the corporate headquarters and have lunch with the senior officers of the firm, followed by a wrap-up panel session of questions and answers.

It was a well-organized experience that I believe made an impression on the students in attendance.  One thing is clear… excellent companies such as Auto-Owners recognize the need to attract excellent young talent if they are to continue their growth and success.  The insurance industry is rife with stable and challenging career opportunities for today’s young professional in a variety of areas that include actuarial science, information technology, underwriting, business analysts, quality analysts, and more.  It’s anything but boring.