8 Characteristics that will Make or Break your Insurance Career

Published on July 30, 2015

During the course of my long insurance career, I have witnessed professionals who rise steadily to the top of any organization they belong. Commonly, they possess certain skill sets and general attitudes that separate them from the rest. Here are eight key qualities I’ve observed among top insurance performers:

Positive Attitude:

People with consistently positive attitudes are most often selected to lead an office or department. These natural leaders motivate others through positive affirmation and acts of selfless support. They understand that in order to succeed, they need to contribute in a positive way each and every day. These people create a feel good “buzz” with everyone they meet. People are attracted and follow positive professionals as naturally as “bees to honey.” I discovered this early in my career when underwriters often said, “We love dealing with you because you’re always happy and positive!” It was my calling card and the secret behind my rapid rise to managing and building significant insurance businesses.


If you want to succeed…don’t give up! Top insurance leaders write down their goals and aspirations, complete their insurance designations and create a network of like-minded people. My advice to those looking to grow their insurance career: find a positive-minded and experienced mentor. Create and follow your personal development plan and read it regularly. Never listen to naysayers but rather trust your own internal voice that says, “I can do this!”


Top performers always treat others with respect, no matter their position in business or life. True leaders never display overly competitive or self-centered behaviours rather, are kind and supportive to all those needing help. One of the best rules to live by: speak positively of others or don’t speak at all. Act with integrity and honesty in every instance and your stellar reputation will only continue to grow.


Performers follow the credo: action speaks louder than words. We have all worked with “shameless self-promoters” who boast about their accomplishments or the lengthy hours they work. Those professionals dedicated towards working consistentlyhard to achieve results don’t need to say a self-promotional word about their performance or dedication. Their work and efforts speak for themselves. Organizations tend to promote staff members who are “doers” not talkers!

Long Term Thinking:

Those professionals who think long-term always do well. They know that quick fixes or hasty deals never work in the long run. I advise every aspiring insurance leader: take time to formulate a plan of action and stick to it! Adjustments can be made to a plan but it’s the dedication in following your plan that brings about lasting success.


We all make mistakes in our career. It’s the nature of being human. However, when top performers make mistakes, they promptly admit it, take responsibility, and are proactive in correcting it. Their colleagues view those who stand up and take ownership in these situations as trustworthy and ethical. Those who point fingers or manipulate to escape blame do not make good leaders or generate the support of their team. And the key quality separating top performers from the masses is; they learn from their mistakes.


Unfortunately, there are some individuals in business who seem to take delight in the failure or struggles of others. They are quick to gossip or share information that is hurtful or not always accurate. Those employees who are mean spirited or callous are never truly respected in any organization. Top performers are always kind and compassionate; help others when they are in need, and never share any industry gossip or character assassinations. They truly are the epitome of a class act.


This is without question one of the biggest components of long-term success. Top performers never lie or distort to secure a deal. To advance your career within the insurance industry, it’s important to be known as a person of steadfast integrity and honesty. At the end of the day, all any of us hold is our reputation. Firms look for leaders who stand up and are accounted for!

Ce document est disponible en anglais seulement. Si vous souhaitez discuter de ce rapport en français, s'il vous plaît écrivez melissa@dgacareers.com

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