Instant Karma and Workplace Ethics

This isn’t my usual post where I write about some landmark event like a holiday, a political rally, a horrendous tragedy, momentous occurrence, or an amazing movie. This is purely reactionary to something that happened in the past week or so at work, and got wrapped up today.

I am an independent insurance agent and have been for a number of years now. Love my job, all that good stuff. All (literally, all) of my business is referral based and I pride myself on having close relationships with each of my clients. Despite having over a thousand clients, I know most of them by name, and I feel like they are in a sense, extended family of me and the agency.

In the industry, it is possible for policyholders (clients) to change their agent without changing their policy or company if they are satisfied with their insurance, but not satisfied with their agent.

About a week ago I got a notice from one of my companies that one such client has requested to change from me to another agent. I was of course a little upset, but I was more surprised than anything else because I know this client pretty well and we hit it off when I started his insurance. To the best of my knowledge this client hadn’t had any bad experiences, claims, or anything else that would explain migrating the policy away from my agency. I was stumped.

Not one to over react, I really calmly phoned my client to inquire if I had done something wrong, or just generally ask why the policy was being moved. Since these types of changes can only be done with the clients signature on a very specific form, I assumed it had to be a deliberate action.

I’m glad I called my client. Turns out, the client didn’t know that he done anything to move the policy away from our agency, and he seemed as surprised as I was to find out that had happened. He then recalled having spoken to his other agent who insures some of his other properties, and that he has been given a bunch of forms to sign. Not knowing any better, and trusting his agent as one should, he signed the forms not thinking anything of it. Turns out, his agent had slipped this form in to have my policy moved to him – without telling the client.

Long story short, after a few pleasant phone calls with my client, not only is he going to keep the original policy with me, but he was very displeased with the lack of professionalism of the other agent, and has insisted that he move all of his other policies to me. Oh, and apparently he owns a boat he wants insurance for too. Woohoo!

This was a huge relief for me for a couple reasons and even though I didn’t do anything wrong, was also a very good learning experience for me as well.

First and most importantly, the experience reinforced my rule of not jumping to conclusions. At first glance I thought that despite spending quality time getting my client’s insurance in place he had decided to abandon ship on me. I am glad that I didn’t act on this suspicion and first let the client explain his side. Some times, the obvious explanation is wrong.

The instant karma of the other agent was a little bit of a consolation prize. The benefit to me wasn’t so much that I got more policies out of the ordeal, because had everyone acted appropriately I would have only had – and been content with – the one policy. In a world where it seems that being lazy and unethical often gets rewarded and rarely punished, it’s nice to get cosmic reassurance that the reverse is true, and that being honest and hardworking does have it’s benefits.

For those of you reading this who know in your heart of hearts you are a good person. An honest person. A person of integrity. A hardworking person. Keep it up! Your efforts are not in vain. Your good deeds and your solid work ethic is contagious and an inspiration to the people around to you. Your friends, your spouse, your coworkers, your kids, random onlookers will take note of your actions, and emulate them.

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