Rogers_building_Hartford-m-to1It is Thursday and I am writing a TBT (Throw Back Thursday) post -and yes, I know I am actually posting on Friday. I am not sure why I have been thinking about my first job in insurance… but here goes.

After graduating from Colorado State University and doing some post-graduate work in psychology at Connecticut College, my first “real job” was as a personal lines underwriter in Denver with Aetna Life and Casualty. So, much for my degree in psychology.

At the time IBM Selectric typewriters were the leading edge office technology. So, most applications were still filled out by hand. In fact, many agents delivered the applications to us in person and we would take time to discuss the risk. As an underwriter at that time I had a good deal of latitude to accept or reject a submission and the relationship and trust between me and the agent was key.

Shortly, after starting with Aetna they introduced their Auto-Rite auto policy, which was one of the first direct-billed policies. Only the very best risks qualified and the premiums were 20% less but commissions were also 18% verses 20% for the standard agency-billed policy.

Interestingly enough, many agents completely rejected the idea of direct-bill. Besides getting less commission they did not want the insurance company dealing directly with their insured.

My time at Aetna ended when I left to help run a gubernatorial campaign in Colorado and purchase my first insurance agency. Yet, I look back on my time at Aetna with a great deal of gratitude. Aetna was a great company to work for and thanks to my immediate supervisor Pat McCarthy, I learned a ton about insurance, politics and literature – Pat was a true mentor.

How did you get started in the insurance industry? What are your best memories?