Social media. Data breach. Cyber liability. ISO form revisions. The list goes on. Changes in the business world and insurance industry are evolving more rapidly than ever. How does one keep up with it all?

The learning curve of the professional insurance agent has always been longer and steeper than many professions. With 30-plus years of experience in this business, the biggest thing I’ve learned is how much I don’t know! I’ve also learned that there are more tools and resources available to stay up to speed with industry shifts. Here are a few reminders of some resources you may be overlooking that can help you to be a better insurance agent:

Company Websites. You visit them frequently to do rating, policy and claim inquiries and order supplies. When was the last time you visited a company website to learn something new about them? Granted, this can be time consuming for an agency that has a large number of carriers. But aren’t you frequently looking for discussion topics for producer meetings? Perhaps assigning a company(s) website to agency staff for research on “what’s new” would be an option to benefit the entire team.

Association Newsletters & Blogs. Our state associations do a great job of writing about changes and hot topics in our business. Take a moment or two and scan these resources for valuable information. If hard copy print is your media source of choice, flip though the materials they send you. If electronic media is your thing, set yourself up with a device that makes reading more convenient and comfortable. If you don’t have a tablet, get one. I love mine – plus my kids no longer think I’m a dinosaur!

Marketing Reps/Sales Managers. Call us whatever you want – just call us! Our goal is to bring value to your agency when we visit. If your company reps aren’t already doing so, challenge them to keep you in the know about changes and enhancements with their respective companies.

Continuing Education (CE) Courses. CE classes have become a necessity to maintain an agent license in most states. Participating in sessions with instructors and fellow agents provides an opportunity to network and share valuable real-life scenarios pertaining to coverage, agency situations and ethical dilemmas we can all learn from.

Like anything else, it takes some commitment of time and resources to make these a part of your business agenda. Being the best at what you do usually takes effort, but the benefits are worth it! As a professional insurance agent, invest the time and keep the “curve” in your learning curve to be your best.

-Mark Tlusty