Webster’s defines “job” as a piece of work done for pay; a task; or duty. Truly, I have never thought of my 39 years in insurance sales at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) in those terms. The many facets of what I do have been challenging, interesting and very rewarding.
My job description would be selling group health, dental and related benefits to large groups; but the brokers, clients, and internal people I have met and had the opportunity to work with has made it so much more than just a sales job. It’s also made it rewarding and fun.
Over the past 25 years, the group health business has been continuously evolving. Today we see companies struggling to balance employee needs with financial realities. This has presented many challenges in trying to keep needs and costs in line. I’ve been fortunate to work for a company, and with employees, who find great satisfaction in looking for, and coming up with, solutions. Even before the booster rockets kicked in and the cost of health care began escalating at its current pace, everybody wanted “the best benefits at the lowest costs.” Our goal continues to be making companies and their employees comfortable that they are receiving real value.
I would consider myself a people-person and have had the pleasure of meeting, working for, and with, lots of fine, highly intelligent people. I’ve never considered myself to have great sales skills; however, it’s my feeling the most important aspect of selling is meeting needs. Consumers will tell you about their needs if you let them.
Numbers are extremely interesting to me and the numbers related to health care costs have gotten everybody’s attention. The “numbers” people or underwriters I’ve worked with have been very sharp and imaginative. Our business is not an exact science, so the ability to be flexible is very important. While we don’t have a crystal ball, there are certain principles that run through our industry, and innovation is essential to be successful.
I’m proud to call myself an insurance sales person. As I do have a competitive nature, I really enjoy the challenge of responding to a request for a quote from a broker or consultant on behalf of their client or prospect. On average we win about 25 percent of the time. That figure would get us fired if we were coaching, but it is still fun to “suit-up” and take on the competition. The individuals I have worked with at BCBST have made the experience interesting and enjoyable.
Today our industry looks and functions very differently than it did 30+ years ago. It has been exciting to deal with new ideas and yet make sure we were still doing the basics, like working with our customers to exceed their expectations. As my time to retire quickly approaches I wish all those I have worked with health and happiness. I now plan to become a full-time grandfather, which I know I will enjoy also.
Jim Brown, Senior Sales Executive, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee