Displaying articles tagged with: professional development | Clear Filter

It's more than just a P&C license, it's the beginning of an insurance career

One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard from an independent agent is, “it’s easy to get a P&C agent’s license, but it is incredibly difficult to be a successful agent.” Those words are so true and it is why OIA takes a different approach to our pre-licensing course.

When you invest in hiring new staff, you want more than the state minimum requirements.  An insurance agent’s license doesn't just allow someone to sell, solicit or negotiate insurance. We know you want to get your new staff on the best trajectory to become an insurance professional who is investing in a career.

We do more than just educate around passing the licensing exam. We set your employees up for success to pass the exam and for success in your agency. When they leave our program, they will have a passion and energy for your agency. We put them on a career path of enhancing and building their knowledge, networking with other insurance professionals and resources to answer their questions. They will also learn about the insurance industry, the independent agency system and the passion for why the independent agency system is the right model for insurance consumers.

Our differentiator is our mission, values and passion for your agency and the IA system. No other program possesses these traits.

Our instructors live and breathe the independent agency system every day. We know coverages, laws, regulations, policies and case studies that will further educate your team. With OIA’s instructors you are giving your new staff access to future mentors for their insurance career, professional development plan and a lifetime of resources for their success by developing relationships with our instructors.

We know there are many ways in which you can get an insurance agent's license in the state of Ohio as the process has been commoditized just like auto insurance. However we value your new employee's experience the same way you value your client's experience. We strongly believe the best way you can start your new team member’s risk management career with your agency is to start with this program.

Ready to learn more about pre-licensing at OIA? 

Click Here


OIA sits down with Lexi Miller of Motorists Insurance Group

Meet Lexi Miller, Voice of the Customer Experience for Motorists Insurance Group!

She has a background in marketing and leadership and has obtained many designations, including Chartered Insurance Operations Professional, Master of Change Management and Coaching, and Personal Lines Coverage Specialist. She is currently pursuing her Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designation through The National Alliance.

OIA met with Lexi to discuss why independent agents are a valuable part of the insurance-purchasing process and how earning designations is important to the insurance industry.

OIA: How did you get started in the industry?

Lexi Miller: I come from a family of insurance agents. My grandfather and father are both independent insurance agents, so I grew up familiar with the industry.

The first position I held was actually as a personal lines underwriter and now I am in the customer experience role.

OIA: What do you love most about the insurance industry?

LM: I love how insurance is always changing and evolving and to see how it responds to new technology and industry disrupters.

I also love the relationship piece between an agent and policy holder – and even between the agent and carrier. It’s neat when you can call a major company and they know exactly who they’re talking to and maybe when your birthday was.

It really shows how important the relationship piece is in insurance.

OIA: What do you think is the value of working with independent agents?

LM: I think the value of working with independent agents is that they know you, and you know them. They really care about what’s important to you and they protect that how they can.

Independent agents represent many companies and can place the risk where they feel best fits your needs and will protect you most.

OIA: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the industry?

LM: Explaining insurance coverage to those who may not be familiar with the industry is definitely a challenge. Insurance is not one-size-fits-all, things can be tailored to fit a specific client’s needs, so it’s really important to let the client know what some advantages are to adding additional coverages for now or in the future.

OIA: Why is it important to receive a professional designation and how has it impacted your career?

LM: I have had a lot of great opportunities to obtain many designations throughout my insurance career.

It’s not only neat to network with other professionals that are as passionate about insurance as I am, but I can also use what I learn and apply it to my career. Especially in the customer experience world that we live in now and making sure we’re designing our customer experience to best fit our agents and insureds.

OIA: What do you wish the public knew about you or the industry?

LM: I believe that insurance is a great industry for young professionals looking to start their career.

There are many different paths and opportunities that someone can take in insurance, and it’s an exciting time to be involved with this industry.

Learn more about how a professional designation could accelerate your career!

How to Identify and Develop High-Potential Leaders

Sponsored by Caliper, originally published in Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.

Following its highly publicized usage at GE under CEO Jack Welch in the 1990s, the 9-Box model became a nearly universal standard for identifying high-potential leaders (Hipos).

But the model doesn’t provide guidance on how to define “high potential” in the first place—and many organizations struggle to differentiate genuine Hipos from those who merely have a track record of strong performance.

As noted in the Harvard Business Review, only about 30% of high-performing leaders have significant advancement potential—which means 70% do not. Therefore, a track record of high performance is a necessary, but not sufficient, factor in determining advancement potential.

While Hipos possess many of the same attributes as top performers who are not Hipos, such as communication skills and teamwork, these three factors can help you differentiate between genuine Hipos and top performers with limited advancement potential:


When facing non-routine obstacles, Hipos are able to quickly overcome them and find a way forward—they rarely get “stuck.”

Leader GPS

Hipos are able to navigate a much larger landscape in their approach to work. They have an intense outside-in perspective, such as being aware of external best practices and major trends in their industry, and they think cross-functionally. By contrast, many top performers who are not Hipos are more internally focused and think mostly within their functional silo.


Hipos think beyond their immediate circumstances by anticipating potential issues and opportunities much further into the future than top performers who are not Hipos. To paraphrase the late Stephen Covey, they focus on both the urgent and the important.

Once you’ve identified your organization’s Hipos, what’s the best way to develop them?

Substantial evidence suggests that on-the-job experiences which get leaders outside their comfort zones provide better development than other approaches such as workshops, training programs and executive education programs.

However, these on-the-job experiences need to be planned, and the leader needs to internalize lessons learned by reflecting on their actions and seeking feedback. Effective methods include keeping a personal journal, participating in a 360-degree feedback assessment every year or two and identifying specific on-the-job developmental experiences based on that feedback, and working with an executive coach who understands the principles of individual “action learning.”

Because these methods achieve proven results in an accelerated timeframe, they’re the ideal vehicle for Hipo development.

Stephen Hrop, PhD., is vice president of organizational development services at talent management firm Caliper. He has more than 20 years of experience in corporate and consulting settings, including extensive work with C-level executives and their teams.

Looking for additional hiring & training resources?

Check out these hiring and training resources available through your OIA membership!

Learn more

Education update: Exciting changes coming in 2019

Teacher speaking to crowd of students

You asked, we listened! We have exciting news about OIA’s education offerings in 2019!

William T. Hold Seminars

They’re back! OIA is reintroducing William T. Hold Seminars in 2019 in Cleveland, Columbus and Middletown.

These are the perfect courses for CISR designees who want a new way to update their CISR designation. Keep an eye out for details on these courses!

Register now

New 16 hour format for CIC Institutes

We have great news about changes coming to next year’s CIC institute offerings!

If you’re a CIC designation holder, you’ll only have to attend two days of instruction to obtain an update on your CIC designation in 2019. This saves you time out of the office and the expense of a hotel room for an additional night.

For those pursuing a CIC designation, you’ll no longer have to cram both instruction and test-taking into the third day. In the 2019 institutes, you’ll experience two full days of instruction, with just your exam taking place on the third morning. In order for the institute to count toward your designation, you still must attend the third morning to complete (and pass) the test.

As a result of this change, 2019 CIC institutes will now be offered for 16 credit hours of continuing education per institute instead of 20. This is the same amount currently offered in the James K. Ruble Graduate Seminars.

Please note: These changes take effect in the December 2018 CIC Company Operations institute, as well as all of the 2019 institutes. The rest of the 2018 institutes remain in the traditional three-day format.

Read more

CPIA Bootcamp

Get your designation in just three days! OIA will be hosting a bootcamp of all three CPIA seminars on April 9-11, 2019.

These one-day Insurance Success Seminars are designed to enhance the ability of producers, sales support staff and company personnel to efficiently create and distribute effective insurance programs.

Register now

Online training

OIA will begin offering 3-hour live webinars for CE credit beginning winter 2018.

These webinars are 3-hour programs taught by nationally recognized faculty and offered in morning and afternoon time slots. More information to come!

Pre-licensing online training

Looking to get someone licensed in Property & Casualty or Life & Health?

We will be offering an online pre-licensing training option in Q4 of 2018. This online training is a combination of videos, online text, practice exams and online flashcards to learn and reinforce the content needed for the state licensing exam. More information coming soon!

New CIC education consultants

In 2019, we will welcome two new CIC Education Consultants to Ohio!

Dan Lawyer, CIC, CPCU, is originally from western Pennsylvania so he is almost an Ohio native.

Tom Humphreys, CIC, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, is from Michigan and currently works with Olivet College.

Both of these consultants have extensive teaching expertise as well as time working in and running agencies.

Want to get started on your professional development before the end of the year?

Check out our full events and trainings listing or give us a call at (800) 555-1742!

View events & trainings

How to find the elusive "work/life balance"

Work/life balance feet

Have you ever thought, “How can I find the right ‘work/life balance’?”

Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? 

Have you seriously considered the idea of a clone?  Are you human? Do you have a job? 

I’m going to assume you answered “yes” to all those questions. 

If you are like most working adults, you’ve wondered – more than once – how to do it all.  A quick Amazon search shows over 50,000 books on time management.  Now, I’m not saying I have it figured out, but I’ve read a few of those time management books and I wanted to share the top 3 things that I’ve learned to help me feel more balanced.

Be honest with how you are spending your time

I read a book last year titled “168 Hours: You have more time than you think” by Laura Vanderkam.

The basic premise of the book was that we are not truly aware of how we are spending our time, and that when we realize how we spend our time, we’ll find openings to complete more of our goals.

The author challenged people to keep a time study for one whole week (168 hours). I did this and tracked my time in 15-minute increments for one entire week of time. Here are my results:

Work/life balance chart

Now I would say this wasn’t a “typical week” because we had more social activities than normal, but one-point Vanderkam makes in her book is that there is no “typical week!”

I realized I spend too much time on Social Media and watching TV (I didn’t really need the time study for that), and that I could reallocate that time to something that I value more.

Before the time study, I would have guessed that I work 45-50 hours per week. I was brutally honest during this time study and only booked the time toward work if they were productive working minutes, and I was surprised that it was closer to 37-40 hours!

Have you completed a time study? Do you think you’d be surprised by the results?

Change your mindset.

It’s not about each DAY it’s about the accumulation of time.

Another huge point from Vanderkam’s book, was not to focus so much on each 24-hour increment. It’s overwhelming some days thinking through all of your priorities!

Instead, think of the accumulation of time spent doing certain activities. You might feel like you don’t spend enough time with your spouse or kids throughout the week, but during the weekend, you might spend 10 straight hours with them (and then want a break!).

Don’t focus on the short-term time as much as the mid- to long-term.

Set priorities and stick to them!

I remember when I was pregnant with my son and talked to my mom about life after baby. (Side note: I knew EVERYTHING about children at that point!)

She was trying to prepare me for the competing priorities I would face and said, “you just have to decide what you want.” To which I replied, “I want it all!” I want the killer career, perfect child, the giant clean house, the fun and romantic marriage, leadership roles in my church, strong friendships, marathon PR times, and the volunteer resume that Bono would be jealous of. 

But I quickly learned that I cannot do it all –- and still be happy. Instead, I set priorities. My faith, my family, and my job take the top three slots. From there, I must choose what will take up the rest of my time.

Set your priorities, stick to them, and don’t feel guilty saying no!

Life hack: If you value friendships more than a clean house, then go out to dinner instead of having friends over to your messy house!

How about you?

What do you think of these tips? What have you discovered to help better balance competing priorities?

Let us know

  < 1 2 3  >