5 Most Important things Insurance Account Managers Need to Know When Interviewing

Hi blogosphere!  I hope you are all doing well!  Spring has sprung here in Iowa and we are finally getting some wonderful weather.  The best part of this for me is that my kids are constantly wanting to be outside.  Last night we had  our first family bike ride of the year and my boy Kai loved it!!!!
He’s got it made!!!!
A good portion of my day is focused on interviewing  and helping account managers get jobs.  Often times it is really frustrating as I will ask specific questions and get general answers.  Many times it goes like this:
Me:  What industry segments do you work with?
AM:  I’m a generalist – I do everything.

This isn’t helpful.  Not at all.  Most companies are looking for specific experience and because of this it is important that you are prepared to give specific examples.   A good practice when interviewing is to prepare by coming up with specific examples and specific information that you are ready share beforehand.  You can do this by practicing telling the story or just by writing it down on a piece of paper.  Doing this will help you seamlessly share the information when asked about it.  If you are an account manager and preparing for an interview I suggest you be ready to cover the following things:

1.  Industry Segments Covered
I hinted at this part earlier in the blog.  Often times I ask about this and people say a little bit of everything.  I get it, you have a broad book that isn’t bound by a common denominator.  However, I’m sure that you work with several clients in the same industry.  Instead of making someone pull teeth to get the information.  You can say things like – it’s a generalist book but our top four industries are construction, c-stores, monster truck dealers, and donut factories. 

2.  Specific Information about the book
This one is key!  You must be able to describe the book of business you work on.  Typically you should be able to answer the following:
·         Revenue size of book
·         Average size of account
·         Largest account size
·         Typical account size
·         Number of accounts
Sometimes you don’t have all of this information.  This is OK.  You still need to be prepared to give an educated guess.  People aren’t asking because they want to steal a book.  They want to get a sense of your workflow and what you can handle.  Not knowing this makes you look like a button pusher that doesn’t really manage the book.
3.  Markets
This one is pretty simple.  You need to be prepared to list out at least your top three markets from a carrier standpoint.  A common mistake here is overkill – don’t offer up more than your top 5-6.
4.  Coverage
This is another place where people bomb.  What coverage do you specialize in? A lot of times I hear property and casualty.  This doesn’t work.  People are looking for you to share your strengths.  You might write everything but I’m sure you’re better at something.  You need to be able to say 
something like:
I write a ton of property with an emphasis on wind or I write a ton of professional lines and do a ton of E&O.

You can make yourself look well rounded by adding to it but you need to be able to point out what you are good at.
5.  Your Actual Duties
Account Managers do different things in every agency in the world.  You need to talk about your specific responsibilities.  Make sure to point out the duties that most companies are looking for.  Make sure that you can account for all of your client facing activities and your marketing skills.  Most importantly, don’t assume that your interviewer knows your job – be prepared to tell them exactly what you do. 

So there you go!  What do you think?  Feel free to comment below or as always email me at [email protected].

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