OneAmerica Financial Partners sponsors the nation’s largest half marathon, which starts and finishes near our home office in Indianapolis. I’ve run in the past six of these events myself. The last three years, I ran to raise money for the ongoing earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, so I’ve chosen to start the race from the very back of the pack. (My sponsors pledge a donation for each of the 35,000 runners and walkers I can pass.) Because of this unique perspective, I’ve noticed an interesting thing that always seems to happen along the way — with thousands of people packed together, running together. While it may seem you never have the chance to break free and run your own pace, I have found that people end up offering support, working together and achieving personal goals together.
It also makes me think about our industry and why I think the career distribution model we support at OneAmerica is thriving. Staying in a career-building environment or becoming independent is a choice producers in our industry will face at some point — and perhaps several times — along their career journey. To me, it comes down to choosing the path of certainty and teamwork, which should be intuitive in an industry that exists to help people lessen various risks and be more financial secure. Because of the economic situation we’ve endured these past several years, it makes sense that the stability, education and teamwork environment of a career-building system would offer a strong value proposition for producers growing into a long-lasting profession.
Career building enhances professionalism, and I don’t mean in the sense of how you dress, act or behave around people. Professionalism in this regard means building knowledge, competence and a thorough understanding of how our industry works from all three points of view: the consumer, producer and company. It means becoming highly skilled at using economic modeling systems to match consumer desires and earn the trust and cooperation of clients.
A career-building system invests in teaching agents to understand the nuances of how to provide a lifetime of value and security to a client. This is the type of professionalism today’s society, and our industry, need.
Product and price can be strikingly attractive. Distribution systems that rely solely on that premise may end up wounded by the sword they live by. We must be sure the consumer is not harmed by competition where product and price offer nothing more than confusion and the absence of coverage when clients need it most.
In the career system, the goal is to have planning, process and a fair price take the place of simply product and price alone — offering the consumer and producer long-lasting value. In a team- and systems-driven environment, a group of producers can benefit from idea sharing in a family-like atmosphere. The company and the network of peer agents around the nation are truly vested in the success of your practice and willing to support your efforts.