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Meet Jamie Nielsen

Jamie Nielsen has been an agent at Hanson & Ryan for the past 13 years where he specializes in life, health, and Medicare insurance. He has been an active Big I NJ member since joining his family’s agency, currently run by his wife and her sister, and has been serving on the board of directors for the past four years.

Find out how Jamie’s family influenced him to become an agent in the family business and why he’s come to love the industry despite being a second-generation union carpenter.

Why did you choose a career in insurance? What initially brought you to the industry?
Before becoming an insurance agent, I was a Union Carpenter. When work slowed and the union shifted causing uninspiring changes, I began in looking at another career path.  
Over the years I had many interactions from the outside with my wife’s family’s agency and I found that I was comfortable speaking with people about just about anything. That’s when my wife and her family suggested that I go to school to get my insurance licenses believing it may come in good use for the future.  I took that advice, received all my licenses, shifted gears earlier than planned and have been working at the agency for 13 years.

What would you share to others about how joining the association can impact their career? 
Being an active member of the association provides the opportunity to create relationships with others in the industry to collaborate on ideas, inspire each other, and offer various perspectives on the same issue to help broaden solutions.  This network expansion of like-minded individuals, and accountability standards, sets the bar higher than going it alone.

What do you see as the greatest opportunity for our industry over the next 5 years? 
I am hoping for positive changes in the health market over the next five years.  Life Insurance and Medicare are certainly on the rise and helping to protect clients and their assets should be top priority.  

At the same time, many industries are merging and becoming commodities so establishing a personal and service focus differential will create great opportunity.  The need for protecting what a person has built independently, or corporately, creates the greatest opportunity.

What technological breakthrough, device, or innovation, do you think will have the greatest impact on insurance over the next 5+ years? 
Let me flip that on its head. The streaming and computerization of everything is great, and it’s clearly not going anywhere. But allowing someone like me to do paper applications is necessary and unfortunately it looks like some carriers are doing away with that. That’s going to have a huge impact on the 65 and older policyholders who still don’t like to use computers for everything. Technological advancements, such as AI, will automatically provide the knowledge for everyone that we have worked so hard to achieve.  We have to learn to collaborate and use these systems to our advantage instead of demise. 

What advice would you share with individuals just starting out in the industry?
Make yourself a hybrid and sell all lines of insurance. That doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) have a niche, but it will allow you to be able to talk about and answer questions for all lines of business. It’s also important to build your knowledge base, be social, and make sure your clients know that there is a person present behind the technology.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time on the board?
I want to bridge the gap between P&C and Life/Health and develop a greater knowledge within the industry on those lines and the value.  

What one hidden gem – as it relates to benefits/resources - do you think more Big I NJ members need to be taking advantage of? 
The networking. Get involved, show up to the mixers and outings, meet other agents and pros around the industry. We all have one goal in common and the Big I NJ events really help us share our knowledge with each other. 

Who is your mentor?
Terry Ryan, Joe Parisi (who recently passed), my wife Carrie, Danny Wood (a Sandler sales trainer), and anyone in the industry who has something to offer. I am happy to listen to anyone who is willing to impart some advice, share a solution, or who simply has a better way of doing things than me. I am never opposed to trying something different.

What is your greatest motivator?
Failure. Or someone telling me I can’t do something.

What is the best professional advice you have received?
Find your clients’ pain and then let them to do talking.

What's something that most people are surprised to learn about you?
Insurance wasn’t my first career choice. I was initially a second generation union carpenter.