My Most Important Noticer

I have been reading The Noticer and it has caused me to think a lot about mentoring.  By the time I was 21 years old I had been in the insurance business 3 years, but I had no idea where I was going or what a career was.  I was so very fortunate while looking for a new job to find Mr. Russell Grace, owner of Russell Grace Insurance.

I had no idea what a mentor was, but I had just met the most important mentor of my life.  He was a tough interviewer.  He made it clear from the beginning that he would not put up with any nonsense and while I was at work I was expected to be working.  However, I was so very unhappy at the agency where I was working and this seemed like such a nice place I took the position.

On my first day Mr. Grace explained the rules:

  1. The customer was our first priority as that was how Russell Grace Insurance made its income.
  2. Never bind coverage without the premium or a downpayment and signed premium note agreement.
  3. I was here to be working, not visiting with other employees or having personal phone calls.
  4. And a few others.  You get the idea.

For the first few months I learned the ropes in the agency, did my job and stayed out of trouble.  Earned a raise after my ninety day probation period and just kept my nose to the grindstone.  One day Mr. Grace and the other employee in the agency came to a file cabinet in my office to discuss the up-coming quarterly billing of the physicians that the agency wrote.  She had a negative approach to almost any discussion.  Her comment that afternoon was that “these doctors are more trouble than they were worth”.  Now I did the deposits and I saw the amount of money these quarterly billings generated and knew that they the book was growing each month.

That afternoon after she left, I went to Mr. Grace and told him that I would be interested in learning the physician’s program and take over the quarterly billing and certificate renewals as it seemed the other lady was too busy.  For the next five years I handled this program, our hospital program and other specialty lines as well.  When I left we had 1250 physicians and 250 hospitals in the State of Texas as well as a full fleged managing general agency.  In this time I had developed a career in the insurance industry in the special risk arena.  My noticer, taught, coached, mentored and let me grow in knowledge and confidence to move ahead in life and my career.  I will forever be grateful for his confidence in me.