John Raley, LACP, FSCP, CLTC, MBA, has served Main Street USA for over 40 years and looks forward to many more.
Fresh out of college, Raley knew he wanted to go into the insurance industry. There was just one problem—none of the insurance agencies were hiring new college grads. They wanted to hire established members of the community because that’s the way it had always been done. But Raley wasn’t deterred. When he interviewed with American Family Insurance, he said to the hiring manager, “If I was successful and I became a manager like you, basically you're telling me that you really don't have any control over who you hire, who you surround yourself with.” The hiring manager called Raley back the next day and offered him a job. Over 40 years later, Raley's still with the company that took a chance on him when no one else would.
When he was still new to the industry, Raley put up billboards to advertise his business. As luck would have it, a NAIFA member saw his billboard and invited him to a chapter meeting. He started taking Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) courses and immediately saw their value. “LUTCF courses are experiential courses,” he says. “Talking about life insurance, how to interview, and how to present yourself and what you do. I found those courses to be absolutely fabulous,” he says. Not long after, he agreed to help promote and develop the curriculum for NAIFA-IA's LUTCF courses.
What It’s All About
Raley loves his work. For over 40 years, he’s delivered life insurance checks to grieving families and known that he changed their lives. "Knowing that I had a part in that, that people could stay in their own house, the kids didn't have to switch schools, the widowed spouse could raise their children without having to work—that's been a real joy to watch,” he says. With American Family, Raley is a multi-line agent selling auto, home, business, and life insurance. As a multi-line company, American Family offers numerous different policy products to help clients with averting risk and offering protection. While Raley knows he could make more money as a specialist, he prefers building relationships with his clients, so he can take care of all their needs.
Raley believes that a successful insurance agent should be reliable, competent, and authentic. Reliability, he says, is simple—do what you say you’ll do. To develop competence, he says, you have to love your work. “This isn’t a job,” he says. “It’s a career. I have a passion because I want to make a difference.” Authenticity, he says, means recognizing you won’t have answers to every question. “We can be clear that we're not going to know everything,” he begins. “The client’s going to assess us on our conversation and how we speak to them.” He highlights one of the perks of being an insurance agent—it allows people to put trust in an advisor instead of the internet.
The Value of NAIFA
From a young age, Raley held NAIFA leadership positions. He served on the board for NAIFA-IA and became the youngest NAIFA-IA president when he was in his late 30s. Through the decades, Raley has participated in NAIFA’s Annual Conferences more than 20 times.
Raley has gotten more involved with NAIFA’s political advocacy over the years. He's met with legislators in Washington, D.C., and knows the importance of keeping those conversations going. “We can tell [legislators] that it's not about us,” he says. “It's about the people that we’re serving, and we need to have a really strong voice.” Raley says attending the NAIFA Congressional Conference is a way our collective inspiration of all members from diverse backgrounds can make a difference in the lives of those on Main Street who we serve.
NAIFA has helped Raley in his career in several ways. “By being involved I'm able to interact with my peers from different expertise,” he says. “We’re able to learn things from each other and share ideas.”
Raley is excited to help recruit more diverse talent to the insurance and financial services industry. He talks about the need for diversity and bringing more young people into the industry. "We really need to inspire that new generation coming up because it's hard for them to really get involved in anything unless they're asked.”
Outside of the Office
When he’s not working, Raley stays active with tennis and hot yoga. He and his American Family office give back to their community, supporting local food banks and homeless shelters.
Raley is taking his passion for Main Street Americans on the campaign trail this year. He’s running for Iowa state senate, but he won’t stop selling insurance if he wins. He's passionate about improving Iowa’s education system and helping write legislation that benefits everyday Iowans. “We need to do a better job of speaking about what it means to be an Iowan—not just a democrat or republican," he says.
For his service to his community and our industry and association, we’re #NAIFAproud to have John Raley as a part of our NAIFA family.