Prescription for Bright Insurance Futures

January 31, 2017
Insurance Industry Optimism

Just What the Doctor Ordered

By Jay Morris

Last month, Insurance Journal ran an article that caught my eye: “Why Young Insurance Agents Are So Optimistic.” Optimism seems to be in short supply these days, but there it was in a headline, big and bold. According to the Journal’s 2016 Young Agent’s Survey, 86% of the respondents described themselves as either “optimistic” or “very optimistic” about the career outlook for agents.

Across the board, young agents viewed the independent agency channel more optimistically in 2016 than they did the year before. A millennial agent quoted in the article described the property-casualty industry as “one of the top industries” for young people to consider.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that agents of any stripe are optimistic. Agents are the classic “glass-is-half-full” kind of people. They’re the first ones to brush aside gloomy reports of rising losses, industry disruption or competitive pressures to proclaim that business is good. That positive, can-do attitude is what I’ve always admired about agents, and why I enjoy working with them.

Turns out that optimism is good for your health, too. So here are a few points to consider if negativity and doubt are getting you down:

  • Studies show that people who look on the bright side have fewer heart problems and better cholesterol readings. “Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity,” the Harvard Medical School “Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.”
  • The Mayo Clinic catalogs a host of benefits from positive thinking, including lower rates of depression, better coping skills during hardships and times of stress, and — get this — greater resistance to the common cold!

Would you like to put more optimism in your life? Try following these six steps, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Identify areas to change. Cut down on negative thoughts and focus on positive ones.
  2. Check yourself. During the day, evaluate what you’re thinking: Is it positive or negative?
  3. Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to laugh!
  4. Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat well and manage stress.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people — like agents!
  6. Practice positive self-talk. Be nice to yourself.

Webster’s defines optimism as a “belief that good things will happen in the future,” and young people joining our industry seem to have it in spades. Let’s hope they’re on to something, and that we’re on the brink of a new optimism in 2017. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

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