Bridgton Maine: National InVEST brings insurance education into schools across the country by partnering with locally involved insurance agents and high school business teachers. This year they named Teacher of the Year John Mayo, Business Management Instructor at Lake Region Vocational Center, Naples Maine and Agent of the Year Dottie Chalmers Cutter, Vice President of Operations, Chalmers Insurance Group, Bridgton Maine.
John Mayo – InVEST Teacher of the Year
InVEST has enhanced my business management program and has provided some great events and guest speakers. People in the industry have been willing to take time out of their busy schedules to work with my students.
Over the years, my InVEST students have been able to attend field trips to both the Chalmers Insurance Agency and to Patriots Insurance. Several participants really enjoyed doing job shadows, and one of them spent the whole day with a claims adjuster.
Having insurance agents come into the classroom to give presentations and even teach “quoting” to the students is great. The students get to role play with different agents, and they’re given scenarios like buying auto insurance, homeowners insurance, or even insurance to start a business.
Besides working from the textbook throughout the semester, my students develop a business plan for their own (simulated) insurance agency. They really enjoy coming up with different names, logos and taglines for their agencies. Then they vote on the best ones and the class creates posters and business cards – working in small groups and using their business plan as a guideline for running the agency.
We’ve also been invited to participate in roundtable discussions with insurance professionals at a Young Agents conference, where students had the opportunity to interact with CEOs, agency owners, underwriters, actuaries, claims adjusters, and many other professionals.
It can be a challenge sometimes to keep students engaged in textbook subject matter, but it’s gratifying when they understand how insurance can relate to their personal lives. And the students really shine when we start the agency simulation process.
I emphasize to my students that they don’t have to just sell insurance in this industry; there are careers from accountants to computer technicians to social media marketers. It’s an industry that has many opportunities and a variety of jobs. One of my students showed a great interest in insurance and eventually received an InVEST scholarship. He’s now in college and considering a career in risk management.
Dottie Chalmers Cutter – InVEST Agent of the Year
I’m the fourth generation of Chalmers to work in the family insurance business, and I first learned about InVEST through my involvement with the Maine Young Agents Committee. Lake Region Vocational High School (my alma mater) in Naples, Maine has an excellent InVEST program, and every autumn I visit their classroom to give an insurance presentation.
I love working with InVEST students and sharing my knowledge with hopes of encouraging them to join the insurance industry and even consider employment at our agency. Serving as an InVEST volunteer has been an excellent way for me to reconnect with high schools in my community to educate and recruit young talent.
Our agency also offers a paid summer internship program geared towards junior and senior college students studying business, marketing and/or finance. It’s tailored to their major to provide meaningful projects that will both move our company initiatives forward and give the interns hands-on experience in their field of interest.
Insurance is so much more than sales. If students are interested in marketing, human resources, business management, claims, underwriting, accounting or customer service, they can find a good fit in the insurance industry. My goal is to open their eyes and introduce them to all these different career options.
To date, our agency has hired seven InVEST graduates, six of whom have been employed with us for over 10 years.