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3 Questions That Measure Your Professionalism

Author: Chris Boggs

About the time you become satisfied with your knowledge level, figuring you know all there is to know about insurance coverages, you become a danger to yourself and everyone else. The best comparison is a pilot; the most dangerous time for any pilot is that point when he begins to feel comfortable in himself, his knowledge and his experience.

My college flight instructors made it their mission to drive home a healthy fear of flying (and landing), but they also wanted us to be able to recognize and fear what they knew to be the most dangerous time in our flying lives – the point at which we knew “everything." This is the point when the pilot thinks she has experienced everything, has seen everything, and is as good as she can be. Bad things happen, and people get hurt when learning and improvement ceases.

This same potentially fatal point occurs in the career of many insurance practitioners. He or she reaches that point where they no longer see a need to increase their insurance coverage knowledge because they have “seen it all;" they are no longer worried about what they don't know because they don't recognize that they don't know what they don't know. Not knowing is OK (because you can't know everything about insurance), not doing anything about not knowing is not acceptable. Ignorance can remedied; apathy is fatal.

Are you headed towards that fateful point; that point where you are too confident in your coverage knowledge? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to know for sure whether you are headed down a dangerous path:

  • Do you take a class only if CE credit is offered?
  • Are you satisfied getting 24 hours of CE credit in only 45 minutes (as some online CE programs allow)?
  • Are you satisfied with your current level of insurance coverage knowledge?

If you answer “Yes," to any or most of these questions, you may be headed for a fatal crash (figuratively speaking). Insurance is a very technical business intended to provide financial protection for unintended catastrophic events. If “it" is done incorrectly, a person's life could be destroyed. We must take insurance education very seriously to avoid doing “it" wrong.

Allow me to share a recent example why agents need to carefully pick their educational opportunities (and not focus on the CE aspect). I was teaching a workers' compensation class and an agent came to me afterwards and told me that after 25 years in insurance (taking CE classes), he just recently learned that corporate officers were counted as employees in work comp. He was quite upset during 25 years of CE classes no one ever mentioned or taught that detail.

Regardless how much you know about insurance, there is always MUCH more to learn. Professional maturity is evidenced by the realization that you don't know everything - regardless how many years of experience you have.

Our flight instructors wanted us to be a little afraid of ourselves and the overconfidence they knew would show up after a few years of flying. Dedicated insurance instructors want you to be a little scared of any overconfidence you might have regarding insurance coverage knowledge. Avoid this overconfidence by picking insurance classes for the content not the credit. You will likely learn something you didn't know you didn't know.

Remember, the Virtual University has hundreds of courses available for you. And we have partnered with ABEN for some amazing training as well. Your state association also has great education offerings.

Last Updated: October 12​, 2018

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