Even though she’s only worked in the insurance industry for 11 years, Leah Callahan says she often gets questioned about why she still enjoys insurance enough to stay in it, given the massive transitions health care has taken over the past five years.
“Serving in this industry for this amount of time has allowed me a chance to really observe others I compete with, how they interact with others – not just clients, but people in general,” she says, noting her style is to use her understanding and observations of human behavior and body language to connect deeper and listen more closely.
“I don’t do this to ‘get the sale,’ but rather to teach my client that first and foremost my desire is to make them comfortable in our conversation, identify their struggle and offer a way to ease the struggle though the simple and clear teaching of insurance,” she says.
At Nixa-based Insurance Group of the Ozarks, Callahan has spent more than a decade building and living up to the trust her clients place in her. That effort has resulted in 760 clients for Callahan and selling $2.6 million in premiums in 2017.
While clients easily can research insurance online, Callahan says she has to figure out a way to provide them with accurate and factual information in a simple, clear and efficient way.
“Presenting insurance to a client is about a puzzle – they’ve come to me in search of answers because they’re frustrated and confused by all the information they’ve seen, and they don’t want that information offered by me in the same way,” she says. “They’re counting on me. They’re trusting me to show them all of their options so that when we conclude, the stress of the unknown has lifted and they’re now able to make clear decisions.”
Noting many of her clients are business owners, Callahan says some are approaching retirement age and looking to transition into Medicare coverage. Others are weighing health insurance prices for their employees versus buying an individual plan for their own family. She says providing one less business burden for those owners by protecting their family’s health is an incredible joy.
“It isn’t enough to know the laws surrounding health insurance; it’s being able to read client to client, in different walks of life, financially and otherwise, and knowing about out of the box options when the standard isn’t sufficient or even affordable,” she says.
Callahan’s service to the Nixa area extends beyond the insurance office, as she’s actively involved with the National Association of Health Underwriters, Nixa Area Chamber of Commerce and Masterminds of Biz networking group, for which she served three years as the Nixa-area chapter leader.
Callahan says both the Nixa chamber and Masterminds of Biz have given more to her in professional business growth than she expected.
“Year by year, you must evolve – you must continue to be humbled by your mistakes and learn from it and, in such, become a better people person in business than before,” she says.
Her leadership skills also were employed over the last year, as Callahan served on Nixa’s Project Graduation committee as communication chair. In that role, she helped coordinate a post-graduation event for nearly 400 high school seniors. She’s also volunteered with numerous local charities, including Toys for Tots and Least of These Inc., and is committed to her church, First Baptist Nixa, where she sings on the praise team and co-leads a young adults group with her husband Rich.
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