For Johnson Byrd, the transition from high school teacher and coach to insurance agent was an easy one. As he points out, both careers require a drive to succeed and a passion for education. So, when he got a job opportunity with Farm Bureau, he decided to take the leap.
Making a Difference
The most important qualities for an insurance agent, says Byrd, are self-motivation, a competitive spirit, the heart of a teacher, and the ability to listen and empathize. "You can work in this industry without all of those things,” he begins, “but it would be difficult to make it a career you thrive in and enjoy unless you can excel in all of those areas.” Byrd describes himself as driven by nature, saying, “If I have a goal, I'm going after it with a certain level of tenacity with the mindset that I'm going to achieve it.”
As a multiline agent, Byrd provides middle-class families with personal line coverage including home, auto, and life insurance. He talks about one of his first death claims, a policy he wrote for his best friend’s mother. They placed a guaranteed-convertibility term life policy for her when she was about 50 years old. Two years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and Byrd reviewed her policy and converted it to a permanent life policy. When she passed a few years later, her family was protected. Byrd talks about the satisfaction of knowing he had a positive impact on their lives, saying, “That cemented for me the significance of what we do, the impact that we can have on people and families, and how important it is that we take that responsibility in the financial industry seriously and be willing to make those recommendations and initiate those conversations with people, and not expect or wait for them to start that conversation because a lot of people won't.”
The Value of NAIFA
Insurance and financial professionals should be NAIFA members because of the importance of NAIFA's political advocacy, says Byrd. “[NAIFA] advocates for everybody in the insurance industry,” he begins. “Everybody in the insurance industry is benefiting from the work they're doing on a legislative level to protect the products that we use, that we depend on and that our clients depend on.” Another benefit, he says, is that NAIFA keeps him informed about legislation that could impact the insurance and financial services industry.
In addition to advocacy, Byrd appreciates NAIFA’s educational resources. He earned the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation through NAIFA and is working toward his Financial Services Certified Professional (FSCP) designation. "Since joining [NAIFA], I've benefited from what NAIFA does on a multitude of levels," he begins. “I don't know why anybody wouldn't want to be a part [of NAIFA]. There's no drawback."
Outside of the Office
When he’s not working, Byrd enjoys exercising and spending time with his wife and three children and their dog, Sadie. He volunteers with Make-a-Wish of Eastern North Carolina and BackPack Friends, an organization that collects food donations, packages them in backpacks, and delivers them to area schools to provide healthy food for students to take home on the weekends. He also works with youths at his local parks and recreation facility, helping to create opportunities for them to exercise, learn, develop, and grow.
Thank you, Johnson, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.