When James McNitt (pictured) graduated from University of Iowa, he knew he wanted a career in finance. To his surprise however, he ended up working for Allstate Business Insurance where he took a role in the company’s internal brokerage division.
McNitt eventually moved to a management position at Allstate and, while he was with the firm, McNitt finished his MBA degree at DePaul University with a specialization in marketing and finance.
After more than five years at the company, he jumped aboard Risk Placement Services (RPS) as a healthcare specialist broker. Currently, McNitt works as area vice president at RPS.
Insurance Business had a brief chat with James McNitt to learn more about RPS and its role in the industry. In this exclusive interview, McNitt shares three critical attributes one must have to thrive in insurance.
Please share with us how you got into the insurance industry, what led you to this career?
I got into the insurance industry in the same way that everyone does: unintentionally. I knew that I wanted to be in a finance-related job, but I did not want to be a bank teller or a trader. Insurance seemed like it had a great balance of selling a financial product and relationship management.
Tell us briefly about your company and its role in the insurance industry. What makes it different from other companies in the same space?
RPS is an industry leader in the wholesale space. I work on the healthcare team, where we specialize in the niche of providing medical professional liability to our retail partners and direct clients. Being that our group only focuses on healthcare, we truly are subject matter experts in the space. If an opportunity within a different specialty is sent to my team, we have an outstanding referral process that ensures that our clients will receive the expertise and service that they’ve grown to expect from RPS.
What advice can you share for those wanting to join the insurance industry?
The insurance industry is so broad, that I truly believe that there is a successful career path available to anyone. Regardless of the path chosen, it will always be critical to maintain the following attributes: 1) focus on relationship management – never burn a bridge, 2) maintain adaptability – be open to change, 3) make a concerted effort to network with your industry peers.
If you had the power to change one thing about the insurance industry, what would you change?
I would change the minimum liability limits required for personal auto insurance – way too low!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far as an insurance professional? What did you do to conquer it?
The largest obstacle in my role is convincing a prospective buyer that the insurance marketplace is always changing – “the way things have always been done” is not necessarily the best way to do something. Change is never easy, but with a concise and obvious value proposition, any buyer will be willing to listen.
If you were not working in the insurance space, what would you be doing now?
When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do to pass the time?
Exercise – I find it is key to maintaining mental stability.