Like many people, Juliana Agriesti used to think an insurance career meant working as a broker or a sales representative. But she soon found out that the industry had much more to offer.
As a self-proclaimed extrovert, Juliana worked as a broker for several years. Her entry-level role offered her a window into the variety of careers available to young professionals, and gave her a strong starting point for entering the business.
Today, Juliana works as a Marketing Representative. She loves her job and the unique benefits the insurance industry affords her as a professional. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in this egg-citing field, read on to learn about Juliana’s experiences!
Hatching a career
During her time as a business student, Juliana was determined to find a career that would offer her job security after graduation. She stumbled upon insurance during her studies at Mohawk College, and ended up narrowing her focus on the industry.
“The economy was changing and a lot of my friends were worried about finding jobs,” says Juliana. “The insurance industry was very attractive – there was a lot of variety and it was recession-proof… I knew that I would be able to graduate and find something quickly.”
After graduating, Juliana got her license and started working as a broker in personal lines insurance. She moved back and forth between commercial and personal lines, which gave her the opportunity to learn about the industry from several different angles.
Eventually, Juliana moved into her current Marketing Representative role, where she has been for the past 3 years. She says one of the biggest perks of working in the insurance industry is the lateral movement and the ability to try out different career roles.
“The fact that I’ve stayed with the same company for 11 years and had so many different roles speaks to the industry as a whole,” says Juliana. “It’s not like going to law school to become a lawyer – there’s all sorts of things you can do in the industry. If I don’t want to do my marketing role anymore, I can move into a broker or underwriting role instead of starting from scratch.”
A day in the life
As a Marketing Representative, Juliana is responsible for promoting her insurance company’s products and services to brokers. Her communication skills and outgoing personality make her a perfect fit for the job.
“It’s a very relationship-driven role,” says Juliana. “You end up developing a great rapport with your clients.”
When she’s not doing broker visits, Juliana often attends seminars or works at trade shows representing her company and their niche insurance products. It’s an egg-citing role that involves a lot of travel – in fact, Juliana has travelled across all 4 western provinces, as well as Southern Ontario.
But Juliana says her favourite part of her job is the flexibility. She doesn’t have a typical 9-to-5 work day. Instead, she has the ability to work from almost anywhere during the hours that she chooses.
“As long as you’re doing work and generating results, you have that privilege,” says Juliana. “I know there are days where I don’t put in a full 8 or 9 hours, but there are others where I do put in a lot of time and it all evens out.”
Tips for new grads
Juliana advises new graduates to keep an open mind about the insurance industry, and to be patient while learning about the business. Many insurance companies offer learning opportunities for young aspiring professionals. It’s a great way to earn designations and complete courses.
“Continuing education is huge in this industry,” says Juliana. “Be prepared to put in extra time and effort in the beginning, and you’ll be recognized for it down the road.”
Also, Juliana advises new graduates to get their foot in the door of the industry by trying out common entry-level customer service or broker roles. Not only is it a great way to experience the field, it’s also an effective starting point for upward or lateral career movement.
“You might not fall into the role you want right away,” says Juliana. “Being a broker helped me in my marketing role because I understand my clients’ mindframe and the challenges that come with their jobs.”
In the end, Juliana says that there’s a lot to gain from working in insurance. For those who are willing to put in the time and effort to hone their skills, the opportunities are virtually limitless.
“There’s so much you can learn in a classroom, but there’s so much more you’ll learn on the job,” she says. “Invest your time well… there’s so much opportunity in this industry if you’re willing to work at it.”