Dana Bouwman (pictured), account executive at Edmonton-based Insight Insurance & Risk Management, hasn’t had a long career in insurance yet, but what she’s accomplished so far has set her up for long-term success in the industry.
Before getting into insurance, Bouwman started a couple of small businesses, and learned how to juggle a million things from her entrepreneurial experiences, along with other important lessons. Then, insurance came calling.
“A family friend, Kelly Parrott, told me I would love insurance and she hired me on as a subcontractor in February 2017. Basically, if I did not sell any policies I would not make any money,” said Bouwman. “It was really a great environment to learn and I had a lot of motivation to do well. Kelly helped me earn my CAIB designation and taught me a lot about the ins and outs of commercial insurance.”
A few months later, the future Insurance Business Young Gun was doing some volunteer door-knocking in an Edmonton neighbourhood, and happened to knock on the door of the CFO of MHK Insurance, who loved Bouwman’s enthusiasm and encouraged her to submit her resume, later hiring Bouwman as an employee at MHK. Just a few short months after, the young insurance professional was approached by Insight Insurance & Risk Management.
“The offer was too good to pass on – especially because Insight has such a great reputation in the insurance community,” Bouwman told Insurance Business. “Insight just celebrated its sixth anniversary. We are a new company, but we work on some very visible and sizable companies. I work as a producer at my current role and I chase $10+ million annual revenue companies.”
In the position, Bouwman likes to dig into the technicalities of insurance, and finds it fun to explain to clients how different policies and coverages work together. That attention to detail also comes in handy when Bouwman is posting videos on LinkedIn.
“Posting content on LinkedIn has really helped me learn my insurance theory. We need to be careful when posting content on social media because the information must be factual. I spend several hours every week researching insurance topics so I can post accurate information. I am a much better broker because of all the work I have done researching the different insurance coverages. This has honestly been the number one benefit to me,” she explained.
However, Bouwman added that while she assumed that being active on social media would result in more business, that hasn’t necessarily been the case. Good ol’ fashioned door-knocking is still how she earns the majority of her new business, alongside saying the right things during key business meetings.
Bouwman’s advice for other young professionals who are starting their careers in insurance is to find and nurture a mentor because mentorships are both valuable and often required for upward mobility.
“I would not be where I am today if it was not for my three mentors in the industry. My first mentor was Kelly Parrott. She really took me under her wing and helped me understand the theory of insurance. Kelly and I still meet every couple of months for drinks, even though I no longer work for her. At my current company I have two mentors – Rob Spanach and Kevin Herter,” said Bouwman.
“It is important for young people to realize that mentors do not just fall into your lap. You have to make mentorship a priority when you look for a new employer. When I interviewed at Insight Insurance & Risk Management, I told the hiring manager, that I am not as focused on what my employment compensation and benefits will be. What I care about is mentorship. Someone at the company must give me ongoing support and guidance.”