Go to an independent life insurance agent. They represent many different companies and will find the solution that is best for your needs. When an agent represents only one company, your areas of concern need to fit into what they have.
As a part of our series about the “5 Things You Should Ask Before You Purchase a Life Insurance Policy” I had the pleasure of interviewing Susana Zinn.
Susana Zinn is a noted business leader, having lead companies around the world in the public relations, financial, manufacturing, and insurance industries. Life events forced Susana to reinvent herself five times, allowing her to develop a deep understanding of how to mold her future and the importance of a positive attitude. Currently, Susana is an independent life insurance agent living in Los Angeles, CA.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was a financial advisor in Venezuela for 15 years. I also volunteered at a charity organization that helped children, women, and families. It was extremely gratifying, and I knew that helping others would always be an important part of my life. When I moved to the United States and needed to pivot my career, I was searching for a way to help people achieve peace of mind. Being an independent life insurance agent allows me to use my skills and experience to identify clients’ needs and design custom solutions that can be life altering.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
There is never a funny mistake that is made in the insurance industry, unfortunately. Early on in my career I did learn a very important lesson about people needing to be heard. It is essential to pay extremely close attention to what clients are saying so that you make fewer and fewer mistakes as time goes on. One of my first clients was a gentleman who got approved for a $1 million life insurance policy. When his stepdaughter discovered she was not one of the beneficiaries she became extremely upset and the whole family got into a complicated argument. The client ended up not to buying the policy. A couple of years later he passed away, leaving nothing to his wife. From that point forward, I paid extra close attention to what clients are saying, what they are looking for, and the dynamics of their family.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
As an independent agent, I work with many life insurance carriers depending on each client’s situation. This allows me to meet new and interesting people all of the time and create custom solutions for their unique needs. Currently, I am excited to be working with an elderly couple. She is 77 years old and goes horseback riding every day! Her husband is almost 80 years old. They are looking for a life insurance policy and I am working on getting them approved.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?
Absolutely! When I joined Business Network International (BNI), the largest networking organization in the world, my whole life changed for the better. I joined a dynamic group of professionals in the Los Angeles area. Each week we meet to discuss opportunities and challenges and support each other’s businesses by sharing referrals. There is tremendous power in networking and referrals. While it takes a lot of time and effort, it is worth it.
What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?
Listen to your clients, ask them many questions, let them know you are there for them. Network as much as you can, don’t try to sell, don’t be pushy, just offer your help and be kind. The clients will flow. And if they don’t buy, there are many others who will.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our discussion. As an “insurance insider”, you know much more about insurance than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to buy a policy from another person, which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing to a policy? Can you give an example or story for each?
1) Go to an independent life insurance agent. They represent many different companies and will find the solution that is best for your needs. When an agent represents only one company, your areas of concern need to fit into what they have.
2) Don’t buy life insurance online. A nicely designed website and a few clicks seems like a good idea until you read the fine print. Online sites are driven by an algorithm and cannot understand your needs, concerns, and health situation. Skipping an online service may save you money. After the underwriting process, a life insurance company can often return with a higher offer than the original quote you might have been first given.
3) Don’t procrastinate. Life can be unexpected. Unfortunately, so many of the GoFundMe campaigns could have been avoided if people had a policy. That means that they wouldn’t have to stress about medical bills while dealing with challenging life events.
4) Make sure your life insurance policy includes living benefits so you can get the money while you are still alive if you become ill.
5) Decide what your budget ahead of time. Life insurance can be less expensive than you might think. For example, a 30-year-old, non-smoking female in good health can get a 20-year term policy for $500,000 in death benefit for $16 a month. That’s the price of a once a week cappuccino over a month.
Insurance agencies or companies are often known to be very creative and innovative marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My two mentors and my husband. In order to succeed you need to be surrounded by people who believe in you, support you, and can guide you.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Be kind, always. Do something kind to someone every day and the world will change.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.