Virginia A. McNeil is somewhat of an anomaly in the insurance industry: She knew from a young age that insurance was her dream career. Perhaps it’s that focus and drive that have made her so successful: She made partner just two years after launching her career. Today she directs case design for a family of clients, and also makes it her mission to ensure her firm stays competitive when it comes to technology and customer service.
We sat down with Virginia to find out what a day in her life looks like, what opportunities she sees ahead, and the one piece of advice she would give to new advisors entering the industry.
LHP: Why did you choose a career in insurance or financial services?
VM: I grew up in the industry. I’m the fourth generation to join the firm. When we were teenagers, our parents always made us have jobs in the summer once we turned 15. When I started coming in, I realized very soon that this is what I wanted to do. I started to see how people were coming in with their problems and my father and grandfather would help them.
Then, I went to college and studied financial planning. After that, I worked for an insurance company for about a year and then joined the firm.
LHP: Describe what you do.
VM: I am the director of case design. When we have new clients come in, I’m the one who analyzes everything and puts it all together. Then, when we go to present in the second meeting, I’m the one presenting. I do a lot of the case work and designing financial plans.
The best part of what I do is that I don’t have to come to work every day and do the same thing. Creating a plan that fits the client’s unique needs is the core of what we do.
The other thing is that some days I do things that I’ve never done before. We treat our clients like family and I feel like when it comes down to it … if a client is going through a death or tragedy we are going to do everything we can to help them and make it easier for them.
LHP: Share an achievement you are especially proud of.
VM: When I joined the firm in May 2012, I was the youngest by a long stretch. The partners are all in their late 50s and up. When I joined as an associate, I was very adamant about changing some things, implementing some efficiency in the office, updating the CRM system, going paperless, and things that they were not thrilled at all about doing. But after we really were able to accomplish a lot more efficiency in the office, I feel like we were able to do a lot more business and serve our clients better.
Fast forward to two years later, I made partner in 2014. Now, in 2015, we are on track to double our production from last year, so I feel like that has a lot to do with the changes that we made and implemented. These changes have really helped the efficiency of the business, and have made us able to do more.
LHP: What is the biggest challenge that you see in the industry, or what is the one thing you would change?