Professional Development As A Tool To Stay Connected

The marketplace is not the only thing in constant movement: Current events evolve, laws change and technology advances. A good financial professional is both a steady and trusted resource for clients, and one who keeps developing and honing their skills and market know-how along with the times.

The social distancing guidelines designed to keep us safe are also affecting how we conduct business. While they have challenged how we build a personal feel into our business relationships, the guidelines have also gifted us with a valuable resource: Time. Conducting business from home offers us a chance to restructure and rethink our work schedules. It makes allowances for the educational investment that can prove profitable in the short and long term, enriching our industry knowledge.

No matter where your business is located, if you are a licensed financial professional, you are likely expected to fulfill a continuing education (CE) requirement to maintain licensures in the states in which you sell. But it is more than just a requirement. For those of us learning to navigate a global pandemic, it presents an opportunity to stay connected.

Rather than shying away from the challenges that the virtual world poses in 2020, OneAmerica is doubling down on its commitment to provide industry-leading external and internal training during this time. We are doing this by redirecting our attention to three key goals: Increasing the amount of CE opportunities we offer, upping the number of sales representatives who can facilitate such courses and maximizing opportunities for professionals to connect with one another through other professional development events and resources.

Turning Requirements into Opportunities
In response to the pandemic, we conducted a broker survey earlier this year. About one-third of surveyed brokers identified regular check-ins with sales representatives as the most helpful support during this time. Providing virtual training and learning opportunities about industry topics was also suggested by brokers as one of the most effective ways we could support them to attract new business.

As a result of that survey, we significantly—and intentionally—increased the number of CE courses held by 88 percent this year. We also ensured that all our sales representatives became approved CE facilitators in 2020, which allowed us to host CE sessions in the third quarter with 100 percent of the facilitators being internally sourced. The big victory here is that we are now able to host virtual CE options for brokers in every area of the country in which we sell. This is huge.

Expanded virtual offerings now replace typical in-person education that was made difficult to conduct due to the pandemic and the resulting social-distancing mandates in many cities. Our focus on staying connected has turned out to be key for our business during this time.

Expanding our CE offerings encourages agencies to make time to reach out to their brokers and be intentional about their growth together. Professionals who have not sold our brand before are now benefiting from our virtual classes and building relationships with our sales representatives. At a time when there are plenty of things out of our control, enabling you to hone your skills from the comfort of your couch or kitchen table gives us something we can control, while we empower you to own your career path and stay sharp in your industry knowledge.

Our new reality may feel daunting; however, those interested can ask their local representative for more available CE courses, to schedule their next instruction session or simply to catch up. We are embracing our ability to meet brokers wherever they are. The feedback has been wonderful so far.

New Resources and Events to Grow and Connect
In addition to the CE courses, OneAmerica also offers training webinars on product and service topics focused on thought leadership, including leaves of absence, auto-enrollment and premium allocation. Whether professionals sell with OneAmerica or not, they can sign up for upcoming webinars or watch recordings of past webinars on-demand and review supporting resources 24/7 at

We are also in the middle of a new and exclusive speaker series called Leading Tomorrow. It offers financial professionals several opportunities to learn from, be inspired by, and connect with, carefully selected thought leaders such as America’s IRA Expert, Ed Slott, and the president of The American College, George Nichols III. You can also sign up for this series at

Associates are educated on the most current industry changes so they are equipped to address questions from financial professionals or clients regarding coverage or eligibility during this pandemic. We are also constantly updating our COVID-19 Business Response Page, which includes our position on several pandemic-related topics and short-term disability guidelines.

Helping brokers reach their best potential is one of our goals at the sales level, but also a responsibility as insurers. This new environment is forcing us to stay on our toes as situations out of our hands continue to develop. But it also motivates us to stay on top of the things we can control. We believe focusing on your professional growth and becoming top industry leaders in your area is not only a worthy pursuit, but also a wise investment in this pandemic era. Do not hesitate to reach out via email or LinkedIn to have a conversation on this topic, or simply to connect. Let’s talk.

OneAmerica® is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica. Products issued and underwritten by American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL), a OneAmerica company. Not available in all states or may vary by state.

Steven Lynch is vice president of Employee Benefits, National Sales and Service, OneAmerica. Under his leadership the division continues to experience record-breaking sales and book of business growth. Lynch is responsible for strategic hiring and building the talent pipeline as OneAmerica has accelerated its distribution footprint nationally. Driven by a passion to connect people with insurance products to help take care of themselves and their families in the event of a crisis, the 30-year industry veteran joined OneAmerica in 2015. His previous experience includes successful leadership and sales experience with Mutual of Omaha, Reliance Standard, Prudential and Unum. In addition to his professional credentials, Lynch is a graduate of Susquehanna University.