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From What Now? to What Else?: My Unexpected CPCU Journey

From What Now? to What Else?: My Unexpected CPCU Journey

by Amy Bradley, CPCU, AIC, AINS

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be a team manager for one of the top insurance companies in the world, I would have laughed at you.

My dream was to be a dermatologist—with no kids and no spouse. What actually happened was that I got married at the age of 17 and became a mother shortly after graduating from high school. Fast forward 10 years later, when I found myself divorced with no college degree.

I worked in a factory for several years while going to school part time and raising my daughter. And then one day, a family member, who was an auto underwriter, encouraged me to attend a job fair at that person’s place of employment.

One of the best decisions I ever made was going to work for an insurance company, which is where I learned about insurance education, found several mentors and really started to focus on turning my job into a career. I was hired for an entry-level position, barely making over minimum wage. It was very challenging, working and going to school while being a single mother, but I persevered and worked my way up through several job levels.

The pivotal point was when I requested to work in one of the most difficult claims departments in the company. It was a great move for me because of all of the opportunities that came along with it. I continued to grow and develop from there, finishing my college degree exactly two weeks before my daughter started her freshman semester in college.

For the record, I didn’t actually start out pursuing the CPCU® designation. I completed AIC™, AINS® and AIS™ first. From there, I obtained my CSRP (Certified Subrogation Recovery Professional) designation and pretty much thought I was done with insurance education. The CPCU designation didn’t become part of my development plan until the fall of 2012 while I was evaluating my short-term and long-term goals. I came to the decision to dust off my Spanish books and become fluent in Spanish again. It was my minor in college, and I remember feeling very excited about the additional opportunities that regaining my fluency would bring. I knew being bilingual would be a skill set I could use in my job role as a frontline auto claims representative.

I met with my mentor and shared the news, only to be told that I had been recognized as having leadership potential and needed to get started on the CPCU designation right away. I knew several people who started the designation and never finished it because of the level of difficulty. I was both excited and terrified, and it didn’t help that the day I took my very first CPCU exam, several of my peers were retaking an exam they had attempted multiple times. I worked past the fear though, and I was promoted to a leadership role in a subrogation department while working on the designation.

I finished my designation in the fall of 2015 and started to attend the CPCU Society chapter meetings each month. I love going to each and every meeting because I always learn something about the insurance industry that I did not know before.

I was even more excited to be asked to attend the 2016 CPCU Society Leadership Summit in San Antonio, Texas, this past April. I really didn’t know what to expect because I was a first-time attendee. But it turned out to be a great experience.

Not only did I network with other people who work for the same insurance company that I do, I was able to meet other leaders, brokers, producers and attorneys. I learned a lot about The Institutes and all of the resources available to their students, in addition to other designations they offer. I also learned about the CPCU Society interest groups you can get involved with and was even allowed to sit in on a meeting to obtain more information.

I highly recommend going to the Leadership Summit and, more importantly, attending the local CPCU Society chapter meetings. Both are great ways to network while sharing your skills and knowledge with others.

See you in Hawaii! 

Published July 22, 2016