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

June 15, 2020

There isn’t just 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 backgrounds, experiences, knowledge and skills to serve their communities and grow their business.

People seek out the insurance industry for many reasons, including the opportunity to build relationships with members of their communities, the strong industry outlook and the flexibility it provides. These are just some of the traits that appealed to 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 the path she took from teaching to becoming an insurance agent. Here we discuss how she uses 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?

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?

The time I’d get to spend with students. I always loved babysitting and being around children. As I grew in my profession, I developed 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 — and get to know — the families that came in for the meetings.

What made you decide to make the switch to insurance?

A close friend of mine mentioned the opportunity 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. But 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 did being a teacher prepare you to become 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 is organization. In this new field, there are quite a few “balls in the air” being juggled at once, so staying organized helps me prepare effectively for client meetings.

Changing careers

Have you experienced any similarities in these two fields?

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

They’re also similar because I teach client/members about the different parts of their insurance policy to help them fully understand it. Whether it is recommending higher coverage limits or an umbrella policy, I feel like I am still teaching and providing examples and telling stories to highlight the importance of the coverage.

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

I love 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 track meet for my son in the middle of the day. As a teacher, I didn’t have the flexibility to steal away during the day. If I do take time off, 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 that will encourage and be there for 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 certainly 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 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. Our Developing Agent Program gives prospective agents a chance to learn how to become an insurance agent before leaving their day jobs. Contact us to learn more.

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