Becoming an insurance agent

From Teacher to Insurance Agent: What's Next for You?

There isn’t only one professional path that leads to becoming a successful insurance agent. From teachers and coaches to agriculture professionals, our Farm Bureau Financial Services insurance agents come from all walks of life and use their unique background, knowledge and skills to serve their communities and build a growing insurance business.

People often seek out the insurance industry for the opportunity to build relationships with members of their communities, the strong industry outlook and flexibility it provides, just like teacher-turned-Farm Bureau insurance agent, April Kelsey!

Meet Farm Bureau Insurance Agent April Kelsey

We sat down with April, an insurance agent in Topeka, Kansas, to learn more about her path from teaching to becoming an insurance agent. Learn more about how she utilizes her teaching skills as an insurance agent and the advice she has for those thinking about following in her footsteps.

How long were you a teacher before becoming an insurance agent?

Prior to becoming an insurance agent, I taught elementary school for a total of 16 years. I taught for four years in Wichita when starting my teaching career and 12 years in Topeka at Pauline South Intermediate school.

What drew you to the teaching profession?

What drew me to the teaching profession was the time I’d spend with students. I always loved babysitting and being around children. As I grew in my profession, I started to enjoy developing lasting relationships with the students and their families along with my colleagues. I loved parent/teacher conferences the most because I could sit and chat with the families that came in for the meetings.

What made you decide to make the switch to becoming an insurance agent?

A close friend of mine mentioned the opportunity of becoming an insurance agent years ago, but at the time I wasn’t feeling the call to change professions. When it was brought up again in 2013 things felt different, and I was ready for a change. While I was ready for a new opportunity, I was frightened to jump into something completely foreign to me. However, I knew I wouldn’t know what I was missing unless I gave becoming an insurance agent a try.

How to become an insurance agent

How do you feel being a teacher prepared you to be a successful insurance agent?

Building relationships is the most important thing to me as I work with my clients. I believe teaching helped prepare me for developing relationships with the people I serve. Another skill set that helped me prepare as a new agent is organization. There are quite a few “balls in the air” being juggled all at one time, so staying organized helps me prepare effectively for client meetings.

Changing careers

What similarities have you experienced being a teacher and an insurance agent?

There are similarities during Superchecks, which are the annual reviews with clients to reassess their insurance coverage needs. During Superchecks, the meetings are like a subject I am teaching. I prepare for each Supercheck the same way I prepared for a math lesson by looking everything over first. Before my client meeting, I make sure the coverage is where it should be and they’re receiving all the discounts they’re eligible for.

They were also similar in the way that it was like I was teaching about different parts of a client’s insurance policy to help them understand it. Whether it be recommending higher coverage limits or an umbrella policy, I felt as though I was still teaching and would provide examples and tell stories to highlight the importance of the coverage.

What’s your favorite part about being a Farm Bureau insurance agent?

My favorite part about being an insurance agent is the flexibility it provides. My first year as an agent I was able to go to my kids’ school parties and attend a cross country meet for my son in the middle of the day. As a teacher, the position didn’t offer the flexibility to steal away a few minutes during the day. If I do take time off during the day, I make up for it with evening or weekend work to make sure everything gets completed. Keeping everything in balance is critical to finding success as an insurance agent.

Successful insurance agent

What advice do you have for someone considering switching paths and becoming an insurance agent?

I would encourage a prospective agent to make sure they have a strong support system who will encourage and support them through evening preparations, late appointments and weekend work. Also, it’s helpful to have some background in business or connect with someone that has a good handle on marketing and business essentials, as these are two very important factors in running a successful business. And last, but not least, surround yourself with positive mentors and colleagues that will push you to be better and not bring you down when times get tough. This can be a very rewarding opportunity for those who work hard.

Why Agents Choose Farm Bureau

For 80 years, Farm Bureau Financial Services has been an insurance industry leader because we focus on people - our agents and our clients. Our insurance agents care about making sure clients have a bright future, and we provide the same support for them.

We’re committed to helping you, which is why we offer ongoing support, training and educational opportunities for our agents to expand their knowledge, help protect livelihoods and futures and build thriving businesses.

Make the Switch from Teacher to Insurance Agent

Does April’s story sound familiar? Teachers have a unique set of skills that give them a solid foundation on which to kick-start their insurance businesses. When you decide to become an insurance agent, you don’t have to go it alone. Our Developing Agent Program gives prospective agents a chance to learn how to become an insurance agent before leaving their day jobs. Click Get Started to learn more today!

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