Understand The Difference Between A Salesman And Professional Before You Buy Insurance

One of the curses of having to be both a disciplinarian to two boys and an insurance agent is that you can lose some of your sense of humor if you are not careful.

I have a friend who says that I never smile.  Occasionally, I have to correct him by reminding him that I rarely smile.  There is a difference between “never” and “rarely.”

When I had two teenage boys in the house, I learned that they would take advantage of me if they suspected I was in a good mood.  My wife did all the giggling and smiling with them.  My self-defense mechanism was to be more stoic.

In order to keep, at least a little grip, on my sense of humor, I have linked Scott Adam’s, Dilbert, comic strip to my RSS feed.  That way, I have a little humor each day.

Although the action takes place in a mythical engineering company, the thoughts and interactions of the characters remind me of why I left the corporate insurance world to become and independent agent.

This strip reminded me of a common habit of rookie and unprofessional insurance agents.  They tend to build trust with the force of their personalities but resort to unintelligible “jargon and euphemism’s” when they answer questions.  Their hope is that you will be impressed in their technical expertise and blindly follow their instructions.

Now that I am a bit more seasoned in the insurance industry, I have found that forcing a smile and being friendly is not as important as being accurate.  I do not meet with my clients with the “persimmon face.”  However, I do not greet my clients with a “Cheshire Cat” grin either.

I admire those people who have the knowledge and communication skills required to be both a skilled insurance professional and best friend at the same time.  Unfortunately, I do not have them.  I had to choose between being a stereo-typical, back-slapping, happy-go-lucky insurance salesman or a more serious insurance professional.


Many insurance agents are nothing more than salesman.  They are wonderful, personable people.  There is no question that they are fun to be around.   The problem is that he only knows a little more about insurance than his  customers.

The insurance salesman is going to be focused mainly on price.  If you ask him a question about anything else, he will try to confuse you with impressive “jargon and euphemisms.”

Those people who have done their own homework and are able to make their own insurance decisions, may be better served by the insurance salesman who is the “life of the party.”  He is capable to help you buy the policy that you want.  There is nothing, at all, wrong with buying your insurance through him.


The insurance professional is a bit different.  In my opinion, insurance is a serious matter.  Typically, he is older and more experienced in insurance matters.  He does not have to rely as much on the strength of his personality in order to find clients.

My clients come to me for solutions.  I try to be pleasant but factual.  Instead of hiding behind jargon and euphemisms, I want my clients to feel like they understand what their insurance plan will and will not do, what they can do to improve their position and why they have the insurance they have.

I have not only learned the basic information that is on the state’s insurance license exam, I have also obtained the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation as well as being current in my bi-annual Long Term Care certification and annual Medicare Advantage/PDP certifications.  With 25 years of experience, I am also qualified, by Texas, to act as a fee-based Life & Health Insurance Counselor.  I should know what I am talking about when it comes to insurance.

It is not my intention to imply that I am the only insurance professional in the country.  Far be it.  I want you to understand that an insurance professional has taken the time to commit to learning as much as he can.  He not only knows how things used to be insured.  He understands how to solve your problems today.


In this post, I want to urge you to research your insurance agent before you commit to working with him.  They are not all the same.  If you are willing to do your own research, the insurance agent who acts like a salesman is all you need.

On the other hand, if you are looking for someone who can work with you to identify the problems in your insurance portfolio and help you find solutions, you need an insurance professional.


The insurance professional