Pauline Ruff is an Independent Insurance Agent at Next Step Solutions, LLC – a firm that provides affordable health and life insurance solutions to individuals, families, Medicare eligible, small businesses and the self-employed. Pauline takes great pride in providing a high level of expertise and personal service to all her clients. Hence, she only represents top insurance carriers to ensure her clients have high-quality coverage at an affordable rate.
In this edition of Advisor Spotlight, we speak with Pauline to learn more about her and her approach to being an insurance agent.
What inspired you to become an advisor?
Funny you ask this question; I was looking for a career change without even realizing it.
I always had a passion for helping people, but I just needed that extra boost to make me take that next step. Back in 2006, when I was introduced to the financial arena, it was a shift from what I was used to doing, but I knew that I was in the right place. I was in a position to help bring comfort and “peace of mind” to many families when they needed it the most.
What do you feel is your greatest competitive advantage?
The ability and commitment to building a great rapport with each family. The First Rule for me is to get my clients to the place where they know, like and trust me. My greatest competitive advantage is our Golden Rule: We are committed to teaching financial literacy to all that will listen—sharing the simple steps necessary to create and maintain a concept of how to turn their monthly expenses into income, therefore leaving a legacy for generations to come tax-free. This strategy is exclusive to our agency’s agents and much more powerful than the other products that agents are sharing, such as Infinite Banking, for example.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing? What excites you about the industry?
You asked a good question here, and I must say that the virtual online platform has become a game-changer for sure. There is a saying that states: Crisis brings on opportunities, and the Pandemic was one of the biggest crises that the world as a whole ever encountered. We had to make many shifts in life, and in the financial industry, the virtual platform became our new norm. The Pandemic was an ugly gift wrapped in a beautiful package that shook the world. I liked the idea that we have many options of how we can conduct business, for example, e-app or phone enrollments versus paper applications. Less underwriting for higher coverage for family protection. One that I really like is that I can work from my on-location office or from home. I can only imagine positive happenings in the financial industry, and I am glad to be a part of it.
How do you think digitization will affect the future of the industry?
Digitalizing will play a major role in the future of our industry due to all the new concepts of being able to self-enroll without initially talking with the client, but instead, you reach out to them, thanking them for enrolling on your website. You must have a website and lots of social media accounts to stay competitive in this industry. The old way of doing insurance is done.
What do you think the insurance industry will look like in 10 years?
Ten years in the future, the insurance industry will probably be one of the most sought-after career opportunities for people who are looking for a stress-free home-based business that rewards them handsomely.
What is the biggest misconception clients have about the process of getting insured?
People perish for lack of knowledge. They fear that it may cost them too much money to purchase a plan when actually it will cost their loved ones much more when that time does come because it’s not a question of if but when that time comes, who will be left paying the bills. This is why I rather build a level of trust with my clients first and then educate them on the value of taking care of their future financial responsibilities in the present.
What is the major takeaway you’d like to leave your clients with when choosing you for their insurance needs?
I work for my clients, not for the insurance company(s). I was given two ears to listen and one mouth to talk. I want to hear their story and find out what their wants and needs are. I work for them, so less talk about me and all focus on them. With the desire, determination and an open mind to make it happen, we will bring dreams to reality, our strategy works, and we have a proven track record to back up our claim. Everyone is unique in their own way. If you do your part, we will show you how to leave a legacy for generations and generations tax-free.
What’s something about being an advisor you wish you knew earlier in your career?
There is always something new when it comes to being in the financial arena, so it is kind of hard to really pinpoint one area, you know. I started this business back in 2006 as a captive agent (only working for one company). I was trained and had to learn fast because it was very fast-paced. Later I learned more about being an independent agent (working with not for multiple companies), giving me the opportunity to offer multiple lines of products to my clients. So maybe I will say knowing more about the different ways that were available for me to take care (service) of my clients would be my answer. I love learning, and I stay updated on what’s going on in my industry.
What are some personality traits that make for a great Advisor?
Being a people person is key! You may start out as an introvert, but to survive here, you must be able to deal with many different personalities for sure. People are sometimes rude without knowing it, so you must learn how to get around that and help them with their needs. Be a listener, not a talker and eventually, you will become their hero.
What was one of the most meaningful moments of your career?
Being able to assist my client with a death claim, ensuring them that their policy will pay off and that I will be there for them from beginning to end and beyond. I take care of all my clients with love.
Pauline’s client-centred approach fuels her commitment to building trust and helping her clients. Her dedication to clients and their families and her understanding of how digitization will affect the customer journey makes Pauline an insurance professional that will keep clients happy for a long time to come.