Pictured from left to right: Kelton Loper, Remi Leblanc, Alletta Kimball, Lena Murch, Taylor Kashmer
Remi, Kelton, and I had the opportunity to chat with commercial lines account managers Lena Murch and Alletta Kimball over lunch last week. It was so cool to hear their stories and learn more about their backgrounds in the insurance industry!
Both Lena and Alletta have high school educations. During high school, Lena was involved with a business administration group that allowed her to learn about things like shorthand and making phone calls. She completed summer internships in insurance through this group, which is one of the factors that led her to ultimately end up in the industry. The way Alletta fell into insurance was a little different. She actually lived next door to an insurance agency that called her three separate times trying to get her to interview for a bookkeeping position they were trying to fill. She finally agreed to go in for an interview, and the rest is history!
I loved hearing about their career paths because I think it is so interesting to hear how the different decisions people have made throughout their lives got them to their current position in life. Lena's time in the insurance industry began officially in 1990 when she became a licensed insurance agent, following a job as a receptionist that she took after completing high school. She worked in payroll for a while after becoming licensed, and then started here at Chalmers in 1995 (meaning she has worked here for 24 years!). Alletta took the bookkeeping job she was offered at the insurance agency next to her house, which also involved paying claims and commissions. That job must have sparked a love for insurance because she became the part-owner of an agency in 1990. She began working for the Chalmers Family when they acquired her agency in 2001.
Fun Fact: Alletta recalled making just 50 cents an hour working at an ice cream shop as one of her first jobs!
As commercial lines account managers, a typical day at work looks very similar for Lena and Alletta. Their daily tasks involve answering a lot of emails and phone calls, communicating directly with both clients and producers. While Lena takes care of small business accounts and office walk-ins, Alletta focuses more on producer accounts. Lena says she has a hard time with the time management and organization aspects of her job, but she loves the fact that she gets to deal with people everyday and can focus on building relationships.
When asked to determine a skill that she has that helps her the most in her job, Alletta laughed and simply said, "Temperment." Lena quickly agreed, explaining that much of her job involves talking people down and avoiding the tendency to take things personally. Insurance can be stressful, but these ladies seem like they know how to take it in stride!
Lena and Alletta both had some great advice for young people interested in pursuing a career in insurance (that I would argue also applies to young people in general). Lena said to trust your gut and your instincts, while Alletta stressed the importance of getting an education. Lena actually said if she could do something differently in her life, she would have gone to college. These ladies both recognize the value of a good education.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that I had a wonderful time getting to know Lena and Alletta, and I'm very appreciative that they took time out of their day to hangout with the interns!