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“What Do You Do?” Wednesday

Robert (Bob) Filichia, CPIA, Filichia Insurance Agency, Inc.

Current Profession:

Insurance Agent/Broker, Agency Owner

What led you into this career/profession?

After a career in the Navy, I decided to go into Law Enforcement, where I worked for ten years. However, I tired of the hours and intensity of the job so I made the decision to go into the insurance industry. My father and brother were in the industry, so I was familiar. I took a job with State Farm as a claims adjuster; then I moved to the agency side with my father and brother with Nationwide. My father bought out his share and started his own agency, and then I decided to do the same.

What appealed to you?

I’m a people-person, so I liked the aspect of being able to help and educate people about protecting themselves by having insurance; I feel that if I didn’t, it would be a disservice. I like that you can educate clients about their safety and protecting their homes, cars, business and life.

What did it take for you to get into this position?
A lot of tears…. I had to first take a qualifying course and be working in the field for a year. I then had to take a 260-hour course (it is probably higher now) and then take the State certification exam. I obtained the 220 license, which allows you to write policies for home, auto, and life. As I moved into other parts of insurance, I had to take the Life Agent Exam and the exam to become a Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). The process can take several years, dependent on how motivated one is and the product you want to focus on.

What is the best part of your day?

When I am able to sit with clients and educate them regarding their coverage. As I mentioned, I’m a people person so I really enjoy helping my clients but prefer to sit with them 1:1.

What is the worst part of your day?

When I get customers who are resistant or who come in defensive. The often don’t want to listen and can get very angry. I’ve been cursed and yelled at. But my training in Law Enforcement is helpful to diffuse these types of situations, which turn out well, overall.

What is the average salary and perks of the job?

This can depend on the agency you work for. Typically, new agents start at minimum wage, but the more experience and training you have, you can move up. There are opportunities to better your salary through incentives (1%-2%), plus bonuses. The average salary can range from $35 – 40,000; but there are agents who can make in the six figures. Another perk is that training is usually paid for, which is a huge perk. The more motivated one is, the higher their salary can go.

What led you into this career/profession?

After a career in the Navy, I decided to go into Law Enforcement, where I worked for ten years. However, I tired of the hours and intensity of the job so I made the decision to go into the insurance industry. My father and brother were in the industry, so  was I familiar.  I took a job with State Farm as a claims adjuster; then I moved to the agency of the side of the insurance world. As did my father and brother, we became Nationwide insurance agents. My father and brother each had their own Nationwide agencies, and then I decided to do the same.

What appealed to you?

I’m a people-person, so I liked the aspect of being able to help and educate people about protecting themselves by having insurance; I feel that if I didn’t, it would be a disservice. I like that you can educate clients about their safety and protecting their homes, cars, business and life.

What did it take for you to get into this position?
A lot of tears…. I had to first take a qualifying course and be working in the field for a year. I then had to take a 260-hour course (it is probably higher now) and then take the State certification/licensing exam. I obtained the 220 license, which allows you to write Property and and Casualty policies for home, auto, business and life. As I moved into other parts of insurance, I had to take the Life Agent Exam. Later in my career, I completed designation training to become a Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). The licensing process can take several years, dependent on how motivated one is and the product you want to focus on.

What is the best part of your day?

When I am able to sit with clients and educate them regarding their coverage. As I mentioned, I’m a people person so I really enjoy helping my clients but prefer to sit with them 1:1.

What is the worst part of your day?

When I get customers who are resistant or who come in defensive. The often don’t want to listen and can get very angry. I’ve been cursed and yelled at. But my training in Law Enforcement is helpful to diffuse these types of situations, which turn out well, overall.

What is the average salary and perks of the job?

This can depend on the agency you work for. Typically, new agents start at minimum wage, but the more experience and training you have, you can move up. There are opportunities to better your salary through incentives (1%-2%), plus bonuses. The average salary can range from $35 – 40,000; but there are agents who can make in the six figures. Another perk is that training is usually paid for, which is a huge perk. The more motivated one is, the higher their salary can go.

How would someone get started in this profession?

They first need to go to their State’s online website to see what the rules/laws are and licensing requirements. The then need to go through the required trainings and take the licensing examinations. Then, they need to find a broker to work for and learn from them.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

I would suggest that someone who wants to be an insurance agent to go work for someone else for five years to see if this is the industry for them, as it changes all the time. I would recommend starting as a Customer Service Representative (CSR), then working up. One also would need to like meeting and networking with people and have some sales skills, or be comfortable with being on the phone; these are taught in the CSR course but having an aptitude for these will make it easier to move into this role. I would recommend that once in the field, it’s about nurturing your leads and making the phone your friend.

 

How would someone get started in this profession?

They first need to go to their State’s online website to see what the rules/laws are and licensing requirements. The then need to go through the required trainings and take the licensing examinations. Then, they need to find a broker to work for and learn from them.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

I would suggest that someone who wants to be an insurance agent to go work for someone else for five years to see if this is the industry for them, as it changes all the time. I would recommend starting as a Customer Service Representative (CSR), then working up. One also would need to like meeting and networking with people and have some sales skills, or be comfortable with being on the phone; these are taught in the CSR course but having an aptitude for these will make it easier to move into this role. I would recommend that once in the field, it’s about nurturing your leads and making the phone your friend.

 

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