Pam Tidrow does something unexpected — she puts her personal cell phone number on her business card. That’s because Tidrow, a 31-year-old independent agent with RMD Patti Insurance Agency in Cambridge City, Indiana, wants to be there for her customers, even after hours.
Even when she’s busy giving birth. In April 2016, Tidrow went into labor. That event just happened to coincide with a major storm in her area. “I was receiving emails and text messages on my cell phone while I was in labor,” she says.
And Tidrow had no problem working right from her hospital bed, taking claims information and answering questions. One of those claims came from a friend of hers. Two days later when she announced her son’s birth on Facebook, her friend sent her a text message: “You were totally in labor when I was talking to you, weren’t you?”
That’s the kind of flexibility Tidrow says she loves about her job. While she did have to take time off to deliver her son and take some time during maternity leave, she says she was still on the job. Tidrow, a mother of a 4-year-old as well, says the job gives her more than just flexibility — it gives variety.
Finding the right path
In 2007, Tidrow left college with a degree in geology and Spanish, and immediately began wondering what to do next. “Where do you go with that? I knew that whatever I did, I wanted to be involved with people. I’m a rather altruistic person. I wanted to be able to do something to make the world a better place even if it was just in one person’s life.”
She got a corporate job, but was quickly disillusioned. So she switched to nonprofit work, which was better, but still wasn’t fulfilling her need to work with people.
Two years later, a family friend approached Tidrow and asked her to consider becoming an insurance agent. “We had some discussions about the day-to-day and what he actually did, and I thought that was something I would like to do.”
So Tidrow started her career with a captive agency in 2009, a job that brought her back into the area from Terra Haute. While at the agency, she handled all types of accounts, including mutual funds and banking products. But it was within the personal lines that Tidrow most wanted to concentrate her efforts.
That fact was brought home to her when she had to serve a life claim check. “That experience made a big difference for me and made me want to make sure people understood the importance of life insurance. I feel that oftentimes it’s something that people don’t realize they need until it’s too late.”
So in 2013, Tidrow left the captive agency to work for RMD Patti, an independent agency, which she says was more conducive to her desire to sell life and health products. She’s no stranger to insurance, either; Tidrow’s father was a claims adjuster, something that she believes gave her an inside look into how insurance can positively impact a person’s life.
The agent’s value
She sees that kind of knowledge as the value independent agents can bring to their customers. “The true value of an independent agent is we have lots of options. Because of those options, we have to be very knowledgeable what our industry is doing and what our companies are doing. That knowledge is for our customers’ benefit.”