Austin Newkirk began his insurance career at a local agency in his hometown of Toccoa, GA and later on transitioned to Country Financial for an expansion of opportunities. Currently a sales leader for the firm’s local office in Toccoa, his role involves finding new ways to market Country Financial’s products and recruiting new businesses and individuals. Below Austin tells us about his passion for insurance and how this passion changed his life!
What are the typical insurance matters that you assist clients with?
Each day I assist our customers with typical insurance matters such as servicing current policies and making sure that they are taken care of properly. I process payments daily, work on claims and make any policy changes that a client may request – these are just a few of the many things I do for my customers.
What drew you to this field?
Insurance was not my first choice as a career. I am an extrovert and I love to socialise. As I grew older and began college, I started thinking about different career paths that interested me. At that time I had no idea what I wanted to do. While in college, I served as a parts sales manager at AutoZone. I loved the job and the socialising, but there was no opportunity for advancement within that company. I started reading online and the idea about a career in insurance hit me like lightening! I love the customer service side of this job and being able to help people with something that truly makes a difference in their lives is a phenomenal feeling.
What are some of the complexities of working within insurance?
Insurance is very complex and helping people understand it can be just as challenging. When working within insurance, there are so many different aspects to focus upon, but at the same time, so many resources to help you learn. Insurance is constantly changing and there is always something new to learn.
What are the challenges that you’ve been facing recently in relation to changes in what customers expect in terms of insurance products and services?
In the insurance industry, one challenge you will always face in relation to changes in what customers expect are rates – they are constantly fluctuating. It is a battle that all agencies fight. It is especially difficult when a long-term customer with a clean record comes in and we have to tell them that the state has raised the rates. At this point, we, as professionals, have to show these customers value in what we do to keep their business.
Technology and systems are always changing and this can cause customers to be uneasy toward any change – especially when trying to show customers new products and services. Sometimes change must happen due to ever-changing factors in the insurance business and customers’ lives. With these changes, we must prepare to assist our customers with any new updates that are happening frequently. Programs are added and removed, making everything change which, in turn, can upset our customers and sometimes, the agent too. Due to mandated insurance laws, every company and its agents should always be prepared to adapt to new changes in the insurance industry.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Working in insurance has changed my life. My goal is to open my own office in just a few short years and run a successful insurance business of my own. I’m going to continue to love the career path I have chosen and continue to help service my clients to the best of my abilities.
I encourage any person who’s not sure what career path to take to look into the insurance industry. It is a sector that will always be around and there is always opportunity for advancement. The satisfaction of helping a person identify their needs and providing them with a solutions is very satisfying and it makes me feel like I have helped someone in need.