Ready to Serve

6/20/2011

Knights of Columbus Insurance: Your Shield for Life.

by Thomas P. Smith Jr.
Ten times every year, we host a Field Agent Training School here in New Haven. We extend invitations to the agents who, in their first three to four months, have shown a tendency to grasp the habits necessary to be a success in the insurance business. Most arrive on Sunday of the week, and stay through Friday about noon. Over the course of the week, we do our best to cap off the training they have received in the field from their general agent, with discussion about product knowledge, prospecting, maintaining good fraternal relationships and many, many other items.

During the average month, about 20 new, fresh-faced agents from all over the United States and Canada populate our third-floor training facility. When we send them home on Friday, it is with a diploma signifying their attendance and hopefully an increased knowledge base of how to reach success.

I have lots of occasions to visit with these men. When I am not on the road, I present a session on ethics on Friday morning just before they leave. It is a great week for all of us who take part in the school — seeing the enthusiasm and energy of these new men actually gives us energy and enthusiasm. Morale in our business doesn’t filter down from the top. It rises to us from the feet we have on the street.

There is one favorite time during the week though that I enjoy more than any other. It is first thing in the morning on Monday when each field agent guest gets up in front of the class and introduces himself to the home office staff assembled as well as his fellow students. I usually sit in the back and listen to the amazing stories of men who range in age and background, from different states and provinces, as they tell us how they arrived here.

Very few (none is more likely) ever get up and say it was their childhood dream to be an insurance salesman with a fraternal organization.

Most have come to us from other jobs and careers. For the majority, that other job lacked something they were looking for, or that other career ended abruptly with closings or layoffs. They find us in a variety of ways, and to a man they express amazement and gratitude that they have found the Order and this career. Most importantly, 99 percent of them were members of the Order — loyal, devoted, active members — first. Man after man gets up and tells us “I’ve been a member for years” or “I’ve always been an active member” or “I come from a Knights of Columbus family.” Active, devout, loyal Knights first, who now have decided to spend their working life fulfilling the vision of Father McGivney full time. As a Knight, just the kind of guy I would love to have on my side as I try to sort through the financial maze around me. Knights first. Professional agents now. Ready to serve.