What have I done for myself lately? Am I on the right path? Prepared for the future?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? They’re easy to ignore. And during my 30-year career at American Family, I know I haven’t always given them top priority.
But some years back, a mentor of mine recommended I start taking insurance courses. (Great … more school!) I was always a good student, but after college I thought I was done. I’d started my insurance career in Kansas City, Mo., then moved to Colorado and figured I could learn all I needed on the job.
But, thankfully, I did take a course, and getting back into studying reminded me I love learning. The subject matter applied to my work, and even though I flunked some exams, I didn’t give up, and ultimately achieved the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
Pretty cool, I thought.
I ordered new business cards, and I was done again. Or so I thought. When I later relocated to Madison, a colleague suggested I get involved in the local CPCU chapter.
That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my professional career. It has given me things I never dreamed of when I first got my designation, including:
• An industry contact network.
• Insight into other companies’ operations.
• Technical and leadership training.
• Confidence in public speaking.
• Experience organizing and leading teams and events.
Today, I’m privileged to have been selected by the CPCU Society as a regional chapter governor. I’m proud to represent American Family in one of the industry’s most respected professional organizations. The CPCU Society boasts upward of 25,000 members worldwide. In 2011, the society welcomed 1,853 new designees, including 12 from American Family.
CPCU is challenging. It takes commitment and dedication. But in the past few months, I’ve visited several chapters attending new designee conferment ceremonies. It’s really something to see the pride and enthusiasm on display.
Our company supports insurance industry education, including CPCU. American Family realizes the importance of the return on its investment in you, on your development, on your technical expertise and on your willingness to be a lifelong learner. It’s a win-win.
You might be thinking: OK, OK, this all sounds good, but I don’t have the time or inclination. I’ve got too many things going on – family, relationships, the job. CPCU’s or other courses in my field are not for me.
Well, maybe not. But, you still need to think about you. Insurance education is just one option. Get a thinking partner and consider where you’d like your career to take you. Set some challenges for yourself.
Don’t forget about you. Look to improve yourself. You might be surprised by all the doors it opens.
**Dwight is the commercial / farm-ranch claim manager for American Family, and is based in Madison. He started his career as a property adjuster, and has had the opportunity to relocate and work in different departments, such as claims and underwriting. He enjoys traveling across the company’s operating area, working both in an office and field environment. In spite of living in a variety of locations, he has remained a loyal Kansas Jayhawk supporter.