NAIFA’s Members are our industry’s greatest advocates. Their stories of triumph are uniquely personal, and shed some insight on how they found out about NAIFA and why they feel NAIFA membership is a critical component in their activities in the insurance and financial services industry. Each NAIFA member has a different story so we’ve decided to let some of our members tell you first hand why they joined NAIFA:
"Without NAIFA, I would not have had the leadership experience, the business growth opportunities and the personal friendships I have enjoyed throughout my career."
When I started in the insurance and financial services industry, I was fortunate to be in a district office with successful agents. During my early years, one of the seasoned agents would visit each of our individual offices to remind us to attend this month’s Local NAIFA meeting.
I decided to join NAIFA and take an active role in our local leadership, including serving on the local board. In retrospect, I believe that by attending NAIFA meetings and becoming involved in our association, I grew my business and became a better advisor, serving my clients with the knowledge and experience that they deserve.
After serving as a volunteer leader at the local level, I went on to serve as a leader within the state of Wisconsin. This experience taught me the value of our industry, its accomplished leaders, and how congressional legislation impacts the lives of our clients and our own bottom line.
As a NAIFA member, I continue to take advantage of programs only available to NAIFA members, including LILI, the Leadership in Life Institute. Without NAIFA, I would not have had the leadership experience, the business growth opportunities and the personal friendships I have enjoyed throughout my career.
I now find myself a seasoned industry professional, going door to door inviting agents to attend the next NAIFA meeting, so they, too, can also enjoy the same experiences and success in their own business.
Overall, I hold tremendous value in my NAIFA membership, and I truly believe that NAIFA continues to support the growth of our industry and will unwaveringly protect the future of our profession and the clients we represent.
"Because of my membership in NAIFA, I have grown far beyond any dreams of success I thought I would ever experience in a career. Because of NAIFA, I have helped my clients in ways they never thought possible. Because of NAIFA, I have helped other people survive the perils inherent in this great business. Because of my NAIFA involvement, I would like to think, I have in some small way, made it a better Federation that has withstood the political, economic and societal changes that impact us daily. In short, I am convinced I am a better person because of NAIFA."
The other morning I was going through my wallet for my annual “cleanup”. I’ve made this a priority since the day my daughter, Kory, said my billfold looked like a “Costanza”. Anyway, as I began tossing out some of those “precious items and memos” I had filed away for safekeeping, I came across my NAIFA membership card. At the bottom it stated: Paid Thru 12/31/2011 and a member since 1981. 1981?!!! That’s thirty years! Where had all that time gone and why on earth would I belong to any organization that has lasted only two years shorter than my married life? The short answer is quite simple, it’s “relationships”.
I remembered my first meeting in Columbus, Ohio that I attended with my manager, John Poston. There I met people who would not only impact my ability to survive in this new business venture, but who would introduce me to icons of the industry. Many of those past friends have long since left the industry, but many I still regard as friends, very good friends at that. Friends who have helped me during those early years and offered support as I began taking LUTC classes, celebrated the first $100,000 life insurance sale (that’s a face amount, you know) and helped me formulate ideals and hone strategies that allowed me to thrive in this great industry.
I remember sneaking into my first Ohio state convention, not only because I didn’t have the money, but because I wanted to meet a new state trustee from my hometown of Athens, Ohio. I didn’t realize it then, but that chance meeting would begin a relationship with a top producer whom I would join in just a couple of years to begin a relationship that has lasted over 27 years. Without that opportunity, I can’t say where I would be now.
I remember volunteering to teach LUTC, which gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge and confidence. I ran for Athens City Council as a “write in” candidate and won! I was approached by another fellow from the NAIFA-Ohio, our Executive, David Field who mentioned I should consider running for state trustee. In a few years I was encouraged to run for the state executive board and by 2000, I had the privilege of becoming the President of Ohio and incidentally enjoy the first year of being able to qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table. That was not a coincidence. All of this opened another door of new relationships as I began meeting other people from around the country, people, just like me, who somehow, had this calling to serve their industry. We had a common vision and knew the benefit of relationships.
The point is, I would have never, ever had any measure of success, let alone survive in this very competitive industry if it weren’t for NAIFA. As I’ve said, it’s all centered on relationships. I am asked from time to time a very similar question by those who have yet to realize why they have joined NAIFA. Individuals who have asked in some form or another, “…where is the “value” I should get for my membership dollar?” The answer is simple. Because of my membership in NAIFA, I have grown far beyond any dreams of success I thought I would ever experience in a career. Because of NAIFA, I have helped my clients in ways they never thought possible. Because of NAIFA, I have helped other people survive the perils inherent in this great business. Because of my NAIFA involvement, I would like to think, I have in some small way, made it a better Federation that has withstood the political, economic and societal changes that impact us daily. In short, I am convinced I am a better person because of NAIFA.
Now, what about you? Are you a member of this industry and a member of NAIFA? If that’s a question too hard to answer, then I challenge you to become more Join NAIFA and become involved. Do the heavy lifting. Find that creative spirit within yourself that may be lying dormant. Make the commitment, take the challenge. Relationships and friendships are only good if they are shared. Make your relationships the best they can be and join NAIFA today!
"All of this is possible because of my involvement in NAIFA and that is why I will always be a member of this organization, I owe my career to it!"
I was a new agent in the business for a little more than two years and I had reached the point where I was deciding whether or not to stay in the business. I had been interviewing with a local bank about a position there and had discussed my situation with Ivan Lirely, another agent in my agency who had been around for several years. While I was doing okay in the business, I was working a lot of nights, making calls out of the phonebook to prospects and was making slightly less money than I was in my prior job.
One morning Ivan, whom I had shared my frustrations with, came by my office unannounced to visit me. He told me:
“Mike, I think you can be a very good agent and have a great career, but if you are going to be in this business then you need to get in the business and that means becoming involved in your professional association. We are having a local association meeting next Friday and I want you to join me.”
The next Friday, Ivan picked me up at my office and took me to the local NAIFA business meeting and luncheon. I became a member that very day and quickly became a part of the Local Association’s Board of Directors as their Education Chair. As the Education Chair, I became directly involved in LUTC classes, both as a student and as a moderator. Four years later I was elected President of our Local Association.
The reason I not only stayed in the business, but survived and prospered, was because of NAIFA. Getting involved in LUTC classes and local association meetings notonly kept me in business but taught me how to grow my business. I also participated in NAIFA’s members-only Leadership in Life Institute (LILI) after my worst production year in the business. Participating and subsequently graduating from LILI helped me turn my business around, and for the past eight years I have more than doubled my production, all from taking advantage of the ideas shared during NAIFA’s LILI Program.
I now have over 23 years in the business and operate a very successful multi-line practice, which allows me the time and resources I need to take care of my family while having a rewarding career taking care of my clients. I also continue to stay active in NAIFA, having advanced through the chairs of our State association while remaining active within my Local association. NAIFA has helped me continue to be able to enjoy a career that has allowed me to spend time with my family. I was able to coach both of my sons in little league and I have never missed a single school event.
All of this is possible because of my involvement in NAIFA and that is why I will always be a member of this organization, I owe my career to it!
"In addition to educating me in my younger years, NAIFA’s Advocacy efforts have always been at the forefront, protecting my career and the interest of my clients."
I was first introduced to NAIFA in 1977. Back then, being a NAIFA member was “requested” by many agency managers as opposed to having a choice about membership, even though I would have most likely become a NAIFA member. As a new agent, NAIFA provided me with strong mentors, fellow NAIFA members who were willing to provide guidance in the profession not only to assure my own personal growth in knowledge, but my ethical standards as well.
There were many times that I called on seasoned NAIFA members for assistance or ideas in how to best care for my clients, and they were more than willing to assist me. In addition, the encouragement to become a student of LUTC made a strong difference in my career. LUTC, the brain child of NAIFA, heightened my awareness of opportunities that I had previously not been familiar with. My income and confidence grew as I moved forward through LUTC.
NAIFA has directed me through the years in continuing my professional education and helped me develop confidence in not only my professional life, but my personal life as well. The Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), a members-only leadership program through NAIFA, has helped me build a better business plan to strengthen my agency, as well as assure an orderly exodus come retirement time.
In addition to educating me in my younger years, NAIFA’s Advocacy efforts have always been at the forefront, protecting my career and the interest of my clients. Our organization was founded on advocacy and continues to protect my business and my client’s financial future.
I guess you could say that NAIFA is family to me, always there when I need them.
"Over the years, NAIFA has provided the resources, programs and people that have protected and grown my business and, more importantly, myself as a person."
Upon entering the industry, my General Agent, Norb Winter Jr., introduced NAIFA to me as one part of my contract requirements to enter the business. A small “small franchise” for the right of entry – into the world’s greatest industry. Little did I know how true those words were then and more so today!
Over the years, NAIFA has provided the resources, programs and people that have protected and grown my business and, more importantly, myself as a person. NAIFA provides me with leadership training through the volunteer board meetings, the LILI program and connections with industry leaders across the country. NAIFA has grown my business through the educational resources, the webinar programs and the connections with members specializing in all areas of the business. NAIFA has saved me money on my career education through The American College and office products used within our firm.
As a member since the beginning of my career, my membership value compounds every year with greater meaning and benefit to myself, our firm and our customers.
I am a member of NAIFA because I believe…
"In my mind there is only one association for financial service professionals and that is NAIFA."
In 1985, when I signed my contract with Security Mutual (now known as Assurity Life) out of Lincoln, Nebraska, my general agent and mentor-to-be Rick Robino provided me with an application to NAIFA. He told me that the dues would be taken out of my next three monthly paychecks and not to worry about it. I attended my first local monthly luncheon and left the meeting excited about “belonging” to this group. I was in a small Assurity Life office and although there was a great amount of camaraderie on our team, I was the only new agent.
The next day I asked Rick how I could learn more about NAIFA and he suggested that I have lunch with one of his industry contacts, Dan Scholz. Unbeknownst to me, Dan was our local association’s current Local Membership Chair. During our lunch, Dan shared with me NAIFA’s purpose and mission, and gave me a deeper understanding of the benefits of being a NAIFA member. When I asked how I could get more involved with NAIFA, Dan invited me to our local association’s next Membership Committee meeting. The rest is history. I have had the privilege of being a leader within my Local and State associations as a President and I currently serve as the National Committeeperson for the state of Nebraska.
In my mind there is only one association for financial service professionals and that is NAIFA. I firmly believe that my involvement with NAIFA is what helped me succeed in the business. It is hard to measure everything that NAIFA continues to bring to the table, but I know that my membership will continue to be a benefit to the bottom line of my business. I am indebted to NAIFA and will continue to belong and serve as a leader as long as I am able.
"It wasn’t long before I saw the value of NAIFA and wished I had joined earlier in my career."
Even though I have been in the industry since 1988, I joined NAIFA in 2003. I joined NAIFA based on the persistence of Jerry Koll and Doug Lenhoff, my employers at that time. Jerry and Doug made joining NAIFA a requirement of employment. I “complied,” however, it wasn’t long before I saw the value of NAIFA and wished I had joined earlier in my career. The members who I continue to have the privilege of associating with, I believe, are consummate professionals who operate with the highest of ethical standards.
Here are few examples of why I belong, and will continue to belong to NAIFA:
NAIFA made me aware of the legislative issues that affect my business and how I can directly impact and influence legislators both in my own state, and in the Nation’s Capitol, Washington, D.C.
NAIFA continues to help me build my practice and my own personal knowledge through high-caliber members and a long list of exemplary speakers who NAIFA asks to speak to its members. A personal example of this was when I heard Wayne Cotton speak at a NAIFA state convention in 2006 – He truly transformed my business!
I appreciate the efforts of NAIFA, both within my own state and the efforts of NAIFA National. The combination of benefits that I receive from NAIFA continues to provide me with a value that surpasses other membership organizations within our industry. Thank you NAIFA!