Transitioning from the military can bring on a lot of uncertainty, not just for the Veteran but for his or her spouse as well. Typically there are several potential employers who look to hire Veterans, and I do recommend starting there. It is always best to have an income ready to start when you are officially OUT!
What I have found though is that the zeal or sense of relevance to the bigger picture a Veteran might have ultimately had through military service isn’t replaceable by working for someone else in transactional role.
Most Veterans would never think of insurance as a profession, and I must admit initially my idea was that it would be much more boring than what I was used to in the Marine Corps. However, what I have found has been quite the contrary. This brings me to my SEVEN reasons that I think the Insurance Industry — especially the Senior Market — is a great place to find purpose after service.
- Foreshadowing Hint — It has nothing to do with your Gas Mask Qualification.
- One — Veterans typically enlisted or joined the military because of a higher calling. That higher calling meant they cared more about being part of the continuing effort to secure national security and spread the message of our Republic to the masses by being a beacon of what Freedom and Liberty truly mean.
Everyday, I think of new ways to get the message out to senior citizens on how I can help them save money on their Medicare Supplement, Prescription Drug Plan, and just to educate them on benefits that they may not understand or even know they have. The calling translates to other acts of good will, and when you can parallel your profession with something that helps people, this is always a BONUS!
- Two — Insurance is not easy at all. The first couple of years brings a lot of frustration with trying to get people to pick up their phone or allow you to help them. In the military, we are used to that. What the recruiter never tells you is that the first couple of years has a lot of mopping and police calling involved.
That resilience is key in this industry, and I can’t think of a group that has more of that thick skinned mentality than Veterans.
- Three — Trust… The most difficult part of developing a good practice is gaining trust. Having a military record helps with that. My military citations on the wall mean more than the degree I have up there to my customers.
People tend to tie the idea of prior military service to the idea that the Veteran has a more developed moral compass than their coutnerparts. I’m not saying this is always the case, but of course while in the military I noticed this as well. Also, a lot of the people out there aging into Medicare are Veterans or spouses of Veterans, and they feel a connection between their past and yours.
- Four — Dependability. In the Marine Corps we were all about acronyms, and one that was used a lot was JJ DID TIE BUCKLE — which stands for the fourteen leadership traits. Dependability is one, and in my mind, nothing is more important in the military than being able to depend on your counterparts.
This trait should translate into civilian life for Veterans, and being dependable means a ton to your customers. It also generates more referrals than you can imagine. A referral is amazing because the trust the person referring has in you transfers to the person they are referring to you. Referrals come from this dependability more than the initial transaction.
- Five — Pride. Most Veterans coming out of the service now are Millenials. This group has a bad spin on them by many in the Baby Boomers community, but the pride you have in your service not only sets you apart from the text book Millenial character, but actually makes the senior citizen community more proud of you for rising so far above what they perceive your peers to be.
I have witnessed this. I believe I do really well as a young person in the industry because my customers are more optimistic about the future of our nation by remembering that there are still young people who are hard working and compassionate.
- Six — Technical Skills. Many roles in the military have transitioned to requiring more technical expertise and note taking. Penmanship is harped on in the military which always translates well into insurance, but I was surprised at how computer illiterate most insurance professionals were.
Part of this is because the average age of people in the insurance industry is higher than other occupations. Because most Veterans getting out now are younger and required to use computers while in service, this really gives them an advantage coming into the industry.
- Seven — Alright guys, last takeaway. As you become successful in the insurance industry, it will become necessary to begin to hire, train and manage staff. The best agents are able to scale this business pretty high on their own with persistency and strategic investment.
In the military you are required to do a lot of leadership training as you climb the ranks. I got out as a Sergeant and I had done Corporal’s Course while in Iraq and Sergeant’s Non-Resident PME. I had also had several Marines work for me and constantly had to give “Hip-Pocket” lectures.
These things DIRECTLY translate to being able to manage your agents or employees and to even giving training lectures to your employees or potential customers. Just make sure to remove all of the profanity you might have used in the military.
Alright! I think you can see that the skill set translates and in some ways gives you a HEAD START in this industry. Of course there are others that do this too, but insurance has been really good to me. I have been surprised how many successful agents I have met turned out to be Veterans.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.