Since the 1950s, economists have used the phrase “creative destruction” as a name for the concept of a job or industry destroyed by something else. This destruction, the theory goes, enables people to do something else that can add value to the world. Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter popularized the argument, who derived it from Karl Marx. Marx had a different name for it, however: annihilation.
Cindy Trahin (pronounced like “Try-hin”), worked in marketing and sales positions at Lincoln Life Insurance Company in Fort Wayne from 1981-2002. From 1981 – 1994 she worked in the corporate office in various marketing positions. From 1994 – 2002 she moved to the sales agency. She was the Director of Long Term Care and Disability Income until the company no longer offered these products. Finding the moment less creative destruction and more annihilating, she found herself in a similar spot she hadn’t been in since graduating from IU Fort Wayne with a marketing degree.
Discovering work in long-term care, disability income, Medicare brokerage markets and becoming a Continuing Education instructor for five years, she proved the merits of creative destruction. She made the jump to running her own insurance agency in 2007. Today she specializes in Medicare, life, and long-term care insurance.
In 1981 the idea of running an agency with her name on the door seemed far-fetched. “I was still going to school”. Through time and deliberate practice and education, she’s proven to herself and colleagues an immense amount of competence and expertise.
In 2008, just a year after opening the Trahin Insurance Agency, she joined Health Underwriters. “In the first year I was secretary of NEIAHU,” she says with a slight chuckle. She moved into a professional development role with NEIAHU after that before becoming President in 2010.
Trahin has been on the local board until last year when she decided it was time for new people to alternate into new roles. “Health Underwriters has really helped with networking. When you’re by yourself in your office, you miss the camaraderie. Plus the CE, ability to learn from experienced agents, and friendships,” she says.
Recognizing the responsibility leaders have to raise new talent, Trahin encourages people to seek out leadership positions of their own. “Being on a board means you build relationships that you might not just by going to the meetings. Bouncing ideas off each other has been helpful. We have a small enough group locally that if we have an issue, we can check with each other to see if they’ve had a similar issue,” says Trahin.
Three people are working for Trahin today. Two are part-time, and a full-time agent also works alongside her to handle the overflow of work. “I see business increasing as more people retire and turn 65. I see this growing,” she says, bucking a misconception that private insurance agencies are a dying breed.
That growth is in no small part to NAHU. “Because NAHU protects our careers and monitors and creates some of the Bills that are being addressed by the government, it’s important to belong,” she says. For someone just starting or thinking about a career in insurance, Trahin says, “You’ll be able to get more information and education from experienced agents.”
After nearly 40 years in the insurance industry, Trahin is now the experienced agent others seek to learn from. Her energy with Health Underwriters has put her in the spotlight at state conferences and panels, including the ISAHU INSure Expo rescheduled for this August 2020.
“Starting today might be a little more challenging because of the regulations and the fact there is so many types of insurance,” says Trahin. “I recommend people specialize or niche down, like in property and casualty, group health or individual insurance.” And in every niche, Health Underwriters helps agents connect with people in other niches, benefiting customers and agents alike.
Ready to become a member and learn from agents like Cindy?