From victim to victorious: How the industry became a lifeline

From victim to victorious: How the industry became a lifeline | Insurance Business America

From victim to victorious: How the industry became a lifeline

With a toddler at home and a baby on the way, Doranita Tyler (pictured) lost her job at a radio station during a tumultuous divorce and had no idea what her next steps were going to be.

“I had to start over,” Tyler summed up. “I was financially strapped and living in my parents’ basement, but that abusive relationship changed the course of my life.”

One thing she knew for sure was that her life was going to change – and that was putting it mildly. It was Tyler’s relationship with her insurance agent during this time that crystalized for her that as your life changes, your needs change too. Realizing insurance is an underrated but vital part of every season of life, and armed with a new appreciation for how important it is that your insurance keeps pace and transitions with you, Tyler started working part-time for an agent.

Tyler was impressed with her new boss, looking to her as a mentor and learning much about forging and maintaining relationships. Tyler quickly realized this was something she could do and coupled with the flexibility the job provided her as a single mom who needed to be there for her children, Tyler’s love for insurance was born. Not one to shy away from risks or be ashamed to fail, Tyler left her broadcast journalist dreams behind to embrace new ones. With tenacity and not a little natural talent, she committed herself to a career in insurance and 26 years later, “I’m still here.”

“Shoot for the moon, and even if you miss you’ll land among the stars – that’s the attitude we’ve taken,” said Tyler, an agent with American Family Insurance and owner of D. Tyler Agency. “God opened the door for me, but He said I had to reach back and help others. That’s been the other part of my career. As I’ve been growing, I’m always looking for opportunities to help others. Especially women.”

From participating in organizations geared to improving the lives of women, whether it’s a single moms group or a domestic violence shelter, to speaking at the upcoming Women in Insurance Chicago event, Tyler feels a sense of duty to share her story, which is one of “hope and encouragement, of being a survivor and going from victim to victorious.” Because of her background, an attitude that’s helped her tremendously is looking at successful women and saying to herself, “If they can do it, I can do it too,” and that’s the mindset Tyler wants to promote. There’s no reason people can’t also achieve the great things they see others around them doing, they “just have to put the pieces together to get themselves where they need to be,” Tyler said, adding the opportunity is there – you just need to press forward and make it happen.

If Tyler has learned anything throughout her years in the industry, it’s that success comes from building key relationships. The best part of her role is the opportunity it provides to connect on a personal level with clients. She loves the interactions she has with them, especially when she’s able to educate them on the power of insurance and the role it plays in their lives. Even something as simple as counteracting the “set it and forget it” attitude and encouraging regular insurance review makes a difference.

“It’s a key facet in all aspects of our lives but it’s the last thing people think about, and when they want to dig in and understand their coverage it’s typically when a claim or situation has already happened – and then it’s too late,” Tyler said. “If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that you have to understand how your insurance works. We had calls from business owners and others with so many unknowns, not understanding how their insurance could and couldn’t help them.”

The pandemic also forced Tyler out of her comfort zone and into the realm of social media. She quickly realized how it could be leveraged during this time of uncertainty and seized on the opportunity to connect with her client base through the different seasons of life. She not only shares insurance information but gets personal by giving clients a peek into her life and catching glimpses of theirs.

It's also another platform on which she can share her story and her hard-won words of wisdom, and serves as another example of Tyler’s ability to adapt to her situation, whatever life brings, and come out on top. And Tyler is quick to note that despite having been involved in the insurance industry for close to three decades, it’s far from seeing the last of her.

“At this point in my career I could retire, but I enjoy what I do,” Tyler said. “I want to do more.”

Join the discussion! To hear more from leaders in the insurance industry, register for the Women in Insurance Chicago event today.