My name is Eli and this is my story:
You may wonder why anyone would want to work in the insurance industry. Long hours, sales goals, and stress all come standard in insurance sales. But before I started my first day as an insurance agent, I want to share with you what lead me to that moment. Trust me….its not the most traditional or ordinary route most will take but its the truth.
I had just got out of high school and my parents gave me the ultimatum. You can either go to college or pay rent. At the time, I absolutely had no interest in college and wanted to travel. I decided I was going to get a job and save up some money to get out of my hometown. Funny how things never go to plan.
The insurance industry has an extremely difficult and tricky test that I studied for a month to attain for my life and health insurance license. You have to have a 70% or better which may not sound difficult but to give you an idea, only 25% pass on their first attempt. The first time I took it, I was extremely nervous and may have gotten to me because I failed with a 68%… I felt like quiting and was really beat up about it. I spoke to a mentor of mine who pushed me to study and try one more time. After another month of a considerable amount of time studying, I did it! I passed with a 78%.
I applied at an insurance office and got my first job in insurance assisting seniors with health insurance, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities. It honestly was an amazing job and had some of the best experiences assisting seniors with their retirement and health insurance.
After doing this for a year or so, I realized I really enjoyed helping people and wanted to broaden my portfolio and move into more markets in the insurance industry. As it turns out, there is a ton to learn with multiple products and licenses needed to assist more people. So, I kicked up my gears to learn as much as I could.
Auto, Home, and Life Insurance:
I knew that most people owned a car and had to have coverage and I knew absolutely nothing about the coverages and/or products. So, I knew the first step was that you had to have your personal lines insurance license but had heard from a friend that current agency owners were looking for sales reps and would even sponsor them to get their license.
Nationwide had an ad out that they would pay you to go thru the classes and you would have an immediate job once licensed. Again, I put back on my thinking cap and got back to studying again for months. This time, I passed on my first attempt!
I worked with Nationwide for while selling Auto, Home, and Life Insurance. I was approached by a regional manager in the company to get more into the investment side of the business and was excited to start learning more until my girlfriend dropped a bomb on me that would change my life forever…
She was graduating from college with a bachelors degree in biology soon and her dream was to become a veterinarian which required an additional 4 years in school to get her doctorate. Her next step was to apply at different Veterinarian Doctorate Programs across the country. Turns out, there are very few schools that have programs for this and are extremely competitive. A small detail in her dream was also to travel so she applied to an accredited school in Grenada which is a small independent island above Venezuela. She applied and was accepted. She begged me to move with her for the 4 years in Caribbean.
I was faced with a very difficult decision. Do I stay or do I go???
Moving to the Caribbean:
In the end, I decided I could not pass up an opportunity to travel to a small island in the Caribbean. I even applied at some insurance agencies there and to my surprise, I heard back from most of them and one offered me a job once I moved down there.
It’s funny how things never go as planned. I landed on the island with the intention of starting my new job in a few weeks. I knew the first thing I had to do was go to the labor office to get a work visa to work in their country. But when I went in to apply, they gave me some terrible news. They were not giving out work visa’s since the unemployment rate in the country was over 25%.
So, after I traveled 2000 miles to an island, I found out I cannot work there. So what now I thought… Well, the obvious answer was to enjoy life! I surfed, snorkeled, and made friends with many of the locals near our house. But after a little while, I started to feel pretty bad. My girlfriend was going to school for 10+ hours a day and coming home to study every night to get good grades while I was partying and having fun. Her drive pushed me to further myself. So…..I applied to college online and was accepted into a 4 year Bachelors Degree of Business program. This was great as I could continue to enjoy the island and furthering my career.
While on the island, we had taken a day trip to a smaller island to enjoy on a day off we both had. While on the island, I came to a realization I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my girlfriend. I did not have a ring but the moment struck that I wanted to ask her to marry me. So, I looked around and found a small pebble on the beach and said this will do! I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. To my surprise, she said yes. 1 year later, we were happily married.
As I was still in college, my wife had to do a clinical year at a college stateside. She was accepted at NC State University to start her career. I was still in college but had to get a job to make ends meet. I started a job as an Auto, Home, and Life insurance agent for a large agency in North Carolina and continued to go to school.
I have never worked so hard in my life. Working 40+ hours at my job to come home and take classes was harder than I expected but thinking back, my wife always motivated me to continue on and to never quit. Finally, after a long 4 years, I graduated from college.
The agency I worked for saw the hard work I was putting in and got great feedback from my client base. They knew I was excelling at work while going full time to school as well. Once I graduated, I let them know I was looking to further my career. Months went by and I had not heard from them on any opportunities in agency to move up the ladder. So, I applied at other locations and was accepted as a manager at a large bank. When I went to my boss to let them know that I would be making the change, they were reluctant to just let me go. My manager told me to give them a month to find something for me so I did at the possibility I would lose my new job offer at the bank. About 2 days prior to me starting my new role at the bank, I was offered a job to manage 150 independent insurance agencies across North and South Carolina. Literally my dream job in assisting agencies grow.
Managing 150 Independent Insurance Agencies:
I absolutely loved this job and furthered my knowledge in the insurance space more than most can in a lifetime. But, with that said, sometimes life has a funny way of changing things just as you were getting comfortable. I heard a rumor that the agency was getting purchased which at first I thought could not be true since our numbers were increasing and very profitable across the agency. After a couple of years, the rumor rang true. A much larger agency was purchasing and they were making big changes. Most department leaders were let go and to my surprise I was not. They did give me forewarning that I would not be let go, but my department was still being consolidated. So, they wanted me to move to a different department outside of insurance. At that point, I knew what I had to do to continue my career in insurance and have to job security. I needed to be the owner and start my own insurance agency.
Starting my own insurance agency:
By starting my own agency, Oak City Insurance. I knew that I could take my love for helping people and my knowledge for running an agency to start a successful business. I get to help people with Auto, Home, Life, Health, Pet, business, and so many other insurances and continue learning more and more so I am able to share with you all!
Starting my own Blog:
One thing I hear constantly in the insurance industry from my clients is that the internet is a very difficult place to research insurance. So many companies and products are out there but who can you trust? Many companies spend millions and millions of your premium dollars to hire people like Peyton Manning and Patrick Mahomes in hopes you will choose them as your insurance carrier. But there’s a very big problem with this, Peyton nor Patrick no absolutely nothing about insurance. So why are we listening to them?
I created this blog so you I can share my experiences with you all from someone that actually knows about insurance. Doing a quick search on Google for Auto Insurance shows me that there is way to much fluff out there and it is making it difficult for you to make a decision. This is a safe place for you to come and learn about insurance and make educated decisions for your unique situations. Welcome to EliAlcorn.com!