All You Can Use

My boss’s boss called me to his office. Our surety bond division had a problem—apparently, the bond division had heaped losses on every reinsurer in the world. Now the division couldn’t get the reinsurance required to continue in business.

I was still just an aspiring actuary at that time, full of confidence about all the new and interesting things I was learning. But I knew nothing about surety bonds and even less about reinsurance!

I explained to the Division Financial Officer that I was certainly willing to help with the problem, but I was doubtful of my skills and experience in the troublesome areas. He said confidently, “You know all you need to know to help them. Get down there and see what you can do.”

I set about applying my meager skillset to the problem at hand. Using what I did know about the fundamentals of insurance and finance, I worked with the surety executives to craft a proposal that the wounded reinsurers accepted. The surety bond business could carry on!

The moral of this story is, “all you can use, today, is the knowledge and skills you actually possess. And, surprisingly, that is usually enough! Don’t hesitate to use them to the best of your ability.”

But don’t remain ignorant. Just as I set out to learn about surety bonds and reinsurance, you should add to your knowledge base. If you are new to insurance, a good place to start is the online Insurance Essentials course offered by The Institutes.

Learn more, be more valuable, further your career. In the meantime, fully use all you know. It works.

Dave Lacefield shares lessons learned in 40+ years working in the business world. His struggles and successes as a stockbroker, insurance agent, actuary, president of a Texas MGA, and CEO of a publicly-traded insurance company have informed him on a wide range of issues and circumstances confronting business leaders, and leaders-to-be. Dave’s views are his own and do not represent the positions of his employer or any affiliated entities.