Motivation and Reward: From the Bottom to the Top
At the turn of the century, my financial scorecard read “zero”. Due to a medically-induced loss of both a business and of virtually all of my assets, I had to re-train into a new career. I chose the insurance profession, and as I progressed, I first attained the Life, Health, and Variable Annuity License, worked with a large National life insurance company, and then progressed forward to attain the General Lines (Property and Casualty) Insurance License. That license is still active, and has a link to the Florida Department of Financial Services. I attempted to work for existing insurance agencies, and their respective owners, but I found that the various agency principals that I worked for were underpaying and non-appreciative of my skills and services. These negative motivators (as perceived by myself) drove me, in 2004, to self-finance my effort to start my own insurance agency. Sheer determination, perseverance, and the will to succeed in the face of adversity gave me the motivation to work through well over a year’s worth of extreme poverty and increasing business and personal debt. Texts discuss “locus of control”, and I can affirm that I had, and have, a strong development of internal, personal character development that has lent to me, over a period of decades, the will to do what is both ethically right and personally productive for the common good of society. Texts also discuss potential negative issues, regarding employees/labor force participants in business organizations. I can authoritatively assert (with some humor intended) that I have sufficient neurotic characteristics to generally make me a rough fit for most larger organizations. Though I was in the U.S. Army Medical Reserves, as a 76J Medical Supply Sergeant, from 1984 through 1992, the small business/entrepreneurial routes, in the business world, are far more suited to my overall capacities and limitations as a person.
In 2005, there were repercussions, in the insurance world, from the 2004 hurricane season, when three hurricanes all hit the State of Florida within a two month period. All of the major insurance companies in the State (State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, et. al…) stopped writing insurance in coastal Florida, cancelled policies is coastal Florida, and generally left a huge vacuum of property and casualty product provision for all of the regions of coastal Florida. My agency, with myself at the helm, was able to utilize my appointment with a smaller property and casualty insurance company, Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company, to write well over a million dollars of property insurance in the twelve months from July of 2005 to July of 2006. The changing external insurance business environment, in the State of Florida, had blessed me with the opportunity to succeed, beyond my highest expectations, and establish my insurance agency as a viable and ongoing concern in the local business community of not only East Central Florida, but throughout many other coastal Counties in the State of Florida.
When the subprime mortgage scenario developed in the State of Florida, as well as in the rest of the U.S.A., with the relaxed lending standards that accompanied that macro business environment, this also magnified my agency’s success track. Many, many more homes needed to be insured, because of the increase in mortgages that were written in the State. Other insurance agencies were literally constrained from writing business, due to the vertical business organization structure of many of their appointing companies, who were forbidding the writing of policies along the Florida coastline, and I was able to capitalize on the vastly altered external business environment that resulted from this development, as well.
In short, my internal locus of control, my fortitude of character and moderately high internal aptitude for handling multiple sophisticated business tasks and duties, allowed me to succeed in the face of severe deficit and adversity. I placed myself in the path of good fortune, and my business story “played out” like a good novel. I am fortunate and grateful for the modest success that I achieved with the growth of my insurance agency. In 2013, I sold the agency, as an asset, for a modest six-figure sum. The proceeds from that sale are the basis for a good portion of my retirement income and asset structure. Gratitude..!!