When Priscilla King was an accounting student at Mississippi State University, her first job interview was with an insurance company, but that is not when she joined the industry. After finishing her bachelor’s degree, she pursued an MBA with an emphasis in accounting. While in school, she worked in sales at RadioShack and found she liked talking to people and was very successful in selling wants. When she graduated, she became a store manager. Then, while making a deposit one day in 1997, she ran into the man who eventually recruited her to Shelter Insurance Companies, where she has been ever since.
Making a Difference
King is a multiline agent with a focus on the financial services side of the business. She talks about her career shift as a transition from selling what people want to selling what they need. The most important skills for an agent or advisor, she says, are listening, building relationships, and being community minded. Getting to know clients, being a part of their community, is one of the best parts of her job, says King. “I want to be a part of their family, and my concern is the relationship,” she begins. “Then, I feel like the sales will come.”
King talks about two experiences that reinforced for her the importance of her work. First, she was working with a client who had a whole life policy. Eventually he could not afford the premiums and wanted to cancel the policy. King convinced him to allow the dividends to keep the coverage in force as an extended term policy. During the length of the term, he passed away and King heard about it through her community connections. She called the family to start the claim and found out his family did not know that he still had the policy. They were so relieved and grateful that King reached out with the news.
In another experience, King was working with two business partners with the purchase of key person whole life policies to help protect their business. During the pandemic, they struggled financially and called King asking what they could do. She let them know that their policies had accumulated cash value. That cash value helped them keep their employees and keep their business afloat.
The Power of Advocacy
A NAIFA-MS Past President, King has been actively involved in NAIFA’s political advocacy work and a contributor to NAIFA’s political action committee, IFAPAC, for many years. “I started going to the Mississippi State Conference each year, and there was always an IFAPAC booth,” she begins. “I started contributing and doing research and I found out all the benefits of it. It is the insurance for the insurance agent.”
Every time she attends NAIFA’s Congressional Conference in Washington, D.C., she is excited to tell her story to lawmakers. “That is really rewarding to me because I can say that I actually believe in all the advocacy efforts,” she says. “I know what NAIFA does for me and my clients. We know that they are there to help us, protect us, and then in turn we can help protect our clients.”
One of the things King tells new members whom she recruits is that, while most companies have their own PACs, they are more company specific. “NAIFA is going to protect the whole, so you want to be a part of IFAPAC and contribute,” she says. She mentions legislation and regulations that NAIFA has affected in Congress—such as a proposed regulation that would tax life insurance as well as the Department of Labor’s proposed rule that would classify insurance agents as independent contractors—to demonstrate how NAIFA members can make an impact.
The Benefits of NAIFA
King is a graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), a Financial Security Advocate, and a winner of the NAIFA Quality Award. She talks about NAIFA’s educational webinars and her LILI course, saying, “NAIFA is my go-to for learning. I am all about learning more. The benefits are very apparent, and it is definitely worth being a member.”
She also enjoys the discount programs offered to NAIFA members and values the relationships she’s built with NAIFA colleagues. “I feel like NAIFA is family here in Mississippi. We call each other, whether it is personal or to talk about insurance. I am definitely NAIFA proud.”
Outside of the Office
When she is not working, King stays involved in her community. She is the Treasurer of the booster club at her daughter’s school, an adjunct professor at Mississippi State University, and a member of the Finance and Economics Board at MSU. She volunteers with her local MSU Alumni Chapter working with organizations like the Salvation Army and Helping Hands, a board member of United Way. She is also active in her church and helps with their bookkeeping.
In her free time, King enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and reading motivational books and books by local authors. She is currently reading “Put Your Money to Work: A Woman's Guide to Financial Confidence” by NAIFA-CO Past President Kathleen Owings. She always checks out the books recommended in the NAIFA Live webinars, she says.
Thank you, Priscilla, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.