This article was originally published in the March/April 2018 issue of Michigan Agent Magazine, a Michigan Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) publication, by Ann Kammerer, a freelance writer living in East Lansing. She has written extensively about business people, educators, artists and everyday citizens doing good things. Chandler Kelley is majoring in insurance and risk management at Olivet College and will graduate in December 2019.
What high school insurance risk programs did you attend?
I’m a 2016 graduate of Charlotte High School. I attended the Eaton RESA Risk Management and Insurance Program in the morning, and then drove back to the high school to attend my regular classes each afternoon. The Eaton RESA program came highly recommended from a bunch of my teachers, and it lived up to the reputation!
What inspired you to attend college and pursue an insurance industry career?
When I was in high school, I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I saw that my uncle owned an insurance agency and saw he was doing well. My family knew about the Insurance and Risk Management Program at Olivet, so they encouraged me to give it a try – especially if I liked what I learned through Eaton RESA. I was also motivated to study insurance since I had earned nine college credits through the high school program. That gave me a great head start at Olivet and put me on track to graduate in just three years.
Have you had an internship yet?
I started at Olivet in Fall 2016 and got an internship almost immediately at a State Farm agency in Okemos. My internship experience was extremely beneficial and ended up transforming into a job. Today, I go to the State Farm office after attending class at Olivet. I absolutely love the job and do a lot of different things that provide me with great experience.
What have you learned about careers in insurance that you didn’t know before?
The biggest thing I’ve noticed is how focused the insurance business is on providing products and services that help and protect people. Insurance agents are there for people when they go through troubled times like house fires, car accidents or natural disasters. I like that feeling of people relying on me to help them out in their time of need.
Why would you recommend checking out insurance as a career choice?
At first, I thought working in the insurance business would be boring. A lot of people have that perception, but once you get to know about the industry and the career opportunities, you see that it’s a pretty cool path to follow.
I’m also an extroverted person, so the idea of working with others and going out and talking to customers and clients appeals to me. There is a lot of financial stability in the business, and you can work toward owning your own agency and becoming your own boss if that’s the path you choose.
I’m excited about where the industry will take me. I have my sights set on working in Northern Michigan, but I’m not picky given the right opportunity. For someone who likes people, a work-life balance, and financial stability, insurance is a dream come true. I see myself in a satisfying career well beyond college, and being able to pursue my passions, too – including restoring cars like the 1984 GMC Jimmy truck that my dad and I rebuilt.