Continuing Education Key to Service

By May, Bill | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 15, 1988 | Go to article overview

Continuing Education Key to Service


May, Bill, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Continuing education for insurance agents is an important way to protect the buying public, according to a former president of the Oklahoma State Life Underwriters Association.

There have been more changes in insurance products since 1980 than during the previous 100 years, Leland Robinson said, and for this reason, all agents must keep current on changes and new products.

"The reason continuing education is so important," he said, "is that we are in such a fast-paced, fast-changing environment.

"Insurance is designed as a solution to many business and personal problems, it's a lot like medicine.

"Where doctors must learn to diagnose problems and have enough skill, education and training to develop specific cures, insurance agents must do the same thing.

"By knowing what product will solve what problem, and knowing any potential problems which may be on the horizon, the good, well-educated agent will be able to `prescribe' the proper product to solve those problems, many of them in advance.

"Continuing education is the key to knowing these products and how to solve problems."

Robinson, who is president and chief executive officer of Robinson-Hornbeck Inc. and is managing general agent for Transamerica Life Cos. in Oklahoma, was president of the association from July 1986 through June 1987. It was during this period that the Oklahoma State Legislature passed a bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Henry Bellmon early last year, requiring 18 hours of continuing education every three years for all insurance agents in the state.

"That continuing education bill," he said, "sets out what we consider the minimums for education. But, it's a start.

"Ever since I've been in the insurance industry in Oklahoma City (11 years)," the Plano, Texas native said, "the professional agents I know have talked about the need for continuing education for all agents.

"The insurance industry does a good job of serving the public need, and the professional agent wants to continue doing that. We also want our industry to have a good image among the public at large.

"Well-educated professional agents who serve the people well does both.

"In my opinion, the (1987) law does not do enough, but we have made a significant beginning."

The problems with state-mandated education requirements, Robinson said, are that there is no agreement on just what type of education is necessary, plus the expenses involved. …

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