Series Spotlight: Why Customer Service Representatives are Needed in Insurance
According to a recent insurance workforce report conducted by Regionomics, customer service representative positions are the second most in need position in the insurance industry, after agents. Ohio’s insurance industry is inevitably growing and the rate of retirement is increasing. The need for qualified customer service representatives is on the rise.
Kathy Gentil, an account representative in the personal lines service center at Westfield Services in Columbus, OH, shared her story with us about her path to landing this in-demand career.
Gentil heard about the talent gap the insurance industry is facing as “baby boomers” have begun retiring. Hearing about this gap and how it has created thousands of job opportunities sparked her interest in learning more about careers in insurance. She had spent several years at home with her kids and working part-time jobs, and decided it was time to re-enter the work force on a full-time basis.
Columbus State Community College’s Foundations of Insurance Certificate, a six-class sequence designed to get students into entry-level positions in central Ohio's thriving insurance industry, was where she got her start.
“The program came around at a perfect time in my life,” said Gentil. “It’s a great program, especially for someone like me who had been out of the work force for so long or for anyone who just needs some new skills to pursue a different career.”
The Principles of Insurance class introduces the principles of insurance and risk management, including terminology and definitions as used in the industry. The program also includes a conflict management class and a soft skills class for customer service. Through earning her certificate, Gentil also brushed up on her Microsoft Office skills including Word and Excel, and learned how to create PowerPoint presentations.
“I actually referred back to my principles of insurance text book when I took my licensing exam for my property and casualty insurance license.” said Gentil.
Westfield requires all of their account representatives to be licensed in property and casualty insurance. Westfield paid for Gentil to take her licensing class and exam and will pay for her continuing education classes needed to keep her license active. Gentil has also taken it upon herself to continue expanding on her education by pursuing her Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR) designation, which she is taking online.
As part of Gentil’s current role, after a policy is issued with Westfield, she is one of the servicing agents for the insured. She answers questions about policies and provides exceptional customer service to policy holders. She fields a wide variety of inquiries from questions about policies, adding new cars to an auto insurance plans, or informing people who are moving about the cost to insure their new house.
“Insurance is confusing to many people,” said Gentil. “I have people thank me daily for helping them have a better understanding of what their home or auto policy covers.”
You or someone you know may be the perfect fit to not only fill this employment gap, but also find a satisfying career. Gentil’s story proves how fulfilling it can be to develop and gain employment in the insurance industry. Check out our careers in insurance page for additional resources to kick start your next career!