Insurance agents have a tough job. An agent could work with any number of industries on a given day. One customer might work in transportation, another in construction. An agent must understand each of these industries.
Reading can help insurance agents figure out business. Yes, reading books! Yes, that means you will have to put away the Netflix binge watching.
I can personally atest to the power of reading to learn about business. Before starting ClaimKit and Riskgenius, I was a lawyer. I knew nothing about business (sadly, they don't teach business in law school). So in 2011, with the launch of our company, I started reading a lot. I'm not going to claim to be the next Warren Buffet, but I now having a working knowledge of business stuff.
Here are seven books that helped me understand how business works. These aren't your traditional business books. But these books opened my eyes in a big way.
Why Should an Insurance Pro Read This? To better understand the power of data.
This is not a traditional "business" book. Instead, this book highlights what can be done with data. We are still at the beginning stages of the internet. Businesses are just now contemplating what can be done with data. Moneyball is the perfect example of looking at an industry (baseball) in a different way by leveraging data.
Why Should an Insurance Pro Read This? To understand the economic pressures and competition that companies are now facing.
I am so thankful I read this book. But when I first read it, I was horrified. Back in 2009, I was a BigLaw lawyer and I was just starting to hear about legal outsourcing. Then I read this book and it all clicked in place. Corporations were looking to outsource legal work overseas because it is cheaper. That was a painful lesson and one of the reasons I transitioned to the tech world.
Why Should An Insurance Pro Read This? Because the best insurance professionals are linchpins for their customers.
If the World is Flat frightened me, Linchpin empowered me. As I read through Seth Godin's masterpiece, I realized I wanted to be a connector. I wanted to talk to people, learn about their problems, and try to fix them. Thank goodness for this book.
Why Should an Insurance Pro Read This? Whether we like it or not, we are all in the game of selling something.
For the first few years of our company, I struggled with "selling." I didn't want to come across as a pushy sales guy. Then Casey Coffman referred me to this book, which is a foundation for the Sandler Sales System. I can summarize this book in three words: Truth and Guts. When I talk to people about our products, I tell them what I am thinking. That's not easy -- and it's impossible when you think you need to be "selling." If you struggle with sales, check out this book and the Sandler Sales System.
Why Should an Insurance Pro Read This? Each individual is a brand -- what's your brand position?
This book helped me figure out marketing. The idea is simple: what does your brand stand for? The execution of this is difficult. I had to hire a marketing consultant and conduct a survey to figure out what Riskgenius stood for. Collaborative contract review and analytics. Those five words cost me a pretty penny. But they are dead on. This book can help insurance agencies looking to carve out a unique position in the market.
Why Should an Insurance Pro Read This? This book will cause you to look at your insurance "career" in a different light.
This is another Seth Godin book. Basically you should read everything he publishes. This book's main thesis resonates one understood: the industrial economy is dead. The idea of going to school, then getting a job that becomes your career -- that's not reality anymore. Instead, Godin talks about the Connection Economy, where leaders are rewarded for creativity.
Why Should an Insurance Pro Read This? To understand the CEOs and clients you serve.
This is a book that I always recommend to entrepreneurs. But it can also be helpful for insurance agents, particularly young professionals. Ben Horowitz does an incredible job describing the excruciating decisions he had to make as a CEO. Insurance agents need to understand that clients are making these same difficult decisions everyday.
That's my list. What books do you recommend?