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3 ways to maximize your learning

Insurance learning should be a continuous part of every insurance professional's life. Many of us have licenses that require us to attend classes and receive continuing education. Some states require certain classes and some states require you to avoid the same classes year after year. However, CE points are not everything that is found in the insurance learning experience. We need more than just the right number of CE credits. We need to learn how this insurance universe works.

For some, our learning began with a pre-licensing course.

For some, our learning began with our first insurance game.

For some, our learning began because we were risk management and insurance studies in college (although I do not know many who did).

Wherever we began our path of insurance learning, we must continue to learn as long as we are in this universe. Maybe your learning has stagnated. Maybe it's just boring for you now. Maybe you're looking for lessons because all your favorite class lessons have been canceled this year and you do not know which lesson to take next.

You are looking for a way to improve your learning. I almost wrote to take your learning to the next level, but I do not know what level you are at and I hate that phrase anymore. We just have to deal with wherever we are, get better at insurance learning so that we get better at our insurance jobs. Getting better at our insurance jobs means that our customers are taken care of better. When our customers are taken better care of, they stay with our customers longer and tell their friends that they too will become our customers.

Here are three ways to make your insurance learning better for you.

Learn the basics, but do not stop there.

We must learn the basics. It's the basics that get us started. The basics teach us the difference between a personal car and a commercial car. The basics teach us the difference between property and accident.

That is the starting point for the rest we learn. We need the basics and it is not bad to go back to the basics from time to time. We've all heard the story of Vince Lombardi starting every new football season saying to his players, "This, gentlemen, is a football." Every now and then we need someone to stand in front of us (either in a classroom or on an online platform) and say, "This is insurance."

Still, we can not constantly go back there to stay. It does not make us good. It does not move us forward. It does not teach us anything new. Eventually we sit in these basic classes and our eyes glaze nicely and we take a planned mental vacation. Or we consciously go to these lessons so that we can have these mental vacations.

Where are my flip-flops?

Find a specialty, but do not forget the other stuff.

You can not know everything. There it is. I wrote it and I'm not sorry. You are not a spacecraft launched into the universe with the sole mission of learning all you can and reporting back. You are an insurance professional who needs to know something about almost everything and a lot about certain things.

You really should choose a specialty, whether it is a coverage or a certain type of insured, choose something. You can specialize in personal lines or commercial lines. You can specialize in professional lines or unique coverage. Just choose something and get good at it.

Maybe it's not a particular coverage that interests you, but the type of insured you like to deal with. A friend of mine liked to handle customers in the restaurant space but did not like to handle contractors. I used to be an insurer for the fire brigade, which I loved. Then I made home sales of medical equipment, which I liked but did not love. Then I made campsites and adventure risks outdoors. It was fun too.

Every time I went from specialty to specialty, I could learn everything I knew about each one. This gave me the knowledge I needed to be able to correctly draw the risks. At the same time, I gave myself a breadth of knowledge that complemented the depth of each specialty by moving from specialty to specialty.

While I advocate that I specialize in something, I do not say that your specialty today should be your specialty for 30 years. If that's what you want, great. I have friends who have lived in a company throughout their careers. They are happy and fulfilled. I have other friends who bounce every other year from one thing to another. Sometimes they land in the same specialty and other times they do not.

The key is to understand that you can specialize in something today and whether you intend to keep that specialty for two years or 20 years, it is your specialty now. Learn all you can about it. If you move on to another specialty, there is knowledge and wisdom that you can easily transplant into your new specialty.

Start teaching, but never stop learning.

To maximize your learning, make the transition from teacher to instructor. As Darth Vader said, “The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was just the student. Now I'm the master.

I still remember the first weeks at my first military service station. My biggest concern was doing what I was told and keeping my head down to avoid problems. It never worked that way. Within a few days of being on my unit, my NCOIC (Chief Non-Commissioned Officer), my boss, said that I was responsible for teaching the team a basic lesson about our job. All I had to do was take what I had just learned in training and teach it to them. Sounds easy, right?

What scared me was that they already knew this. They were experienced. They had been in the army for 1

00 years in all I knew. He wanted me, the new guy, the private one, to give the team a basic lesson on how we do our job. I studied and I prepared. I read and read. I practiced. I used large notepads. I was ready and the day came when I would stand in our little team room and teach the team.

That's about when things fell apart. It was horrible. I knew things back and forth but standing in front of the more experienced soldiers made my skin crawl. Turns out it was the best thing for me. I learned that day that if I were to know something, the only sure way for me to learn it is to have to teach it to someone else.

It's a real next step for you to move your learning to a whole new space. If you learn it well enough to teach it to someone who knows nothing, you have really started to master your subject. That does not mean you can stop learning. It just means that you have prioritized learning.

These tips are just the beginning. They are not designed to take you to a place where you will never have to learn anything again. They are designed to give you the insight that you should continue to learn for the rest of your life. It does not matter if you are an insurance employee for 75 years. There is more to learn.

Keep learning.

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