According to the Insurance Institute of Indiana, there are approximately 2.4 million people that work in the insurance industry in the U.S. Of those, over half are women.1
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance’s first female agent was hired in 1974. Since then, the number of agents who are women has grown. They continue to pave the way of excellence and determination in sales for the success of our company.
In honor of Women’s History Month this March, we highlighted three women who are impacting our company and the communities they serve.
Dusty Wilhite, agency owner; Allison Stone, agent in Marshall County; and Riley Follett, agent in the Pacesetter Agency, are a few examples of women who exhibit the level of professionalism, expertise and ambition Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance prides itself on. These women believe in developing a reliable and trusting relationship with their clients, while also continuing to expand their knowledge of insurance.
Kate Keefer, marketing coordinator in Allen County, spoke with Wilhite, Stone and Follett about their experiences as women in the insurance industry and what their individual experience has been thus far.
How did they get started?
Wilhite began, “My road to Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance was a long one.” Her journey to a career at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance took time, but that time has paid off by getting her settled into her own agency today.
Wilhite has been insured by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance since she was 16 years old. After college, she worked in mortgages and found that she wanted something that was going to be more stable. She found that the insurance industry was just that.
Wilhite began her career with the company 12 years ago as an agent. As she excelled in her role and grew her business, she felt excited by the opportunity to open her own agency. After much planning, the Dusty Wilhite Agency located in Vanderburgh County opened in 2021. Owning and operating her Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance agency has been enlightening and provides new ways to grow her business.
Stone works as an agent and has been with the company for five years. She started her career in the Goshen office for her first three years and has been working from the Plymouth office for the last two. She resides in Plymouth with her husband and two children and enjoys not having to commute too far for a job she enjoys.
Before becoming an insurance agent, Stone was a teacher at a small rural Indiana school. There were going to be changes at the school, so she began to rethink her career.
When she found out about the changes to her teaching position she said, “Okay self, you’ve only been in the teaching world for five years; is this something you really want to continue with or is it time to explore what else is out there?”
After that, she had a conversation with her own insurance agent and found that she really enjoyed helping people. She saw that working in the insurance industry could be the perfect fit for her and her future aspirations.
Follett was a May 2020 Purdue University graduate and found that getting a job during the pandemic was not going to be easy. She found herself working a temporary job that would end up introducing her to Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.
She met employees who worked at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance through her temporary employment. They instantly saw that Follett had the kind of drive the company looks for in a promising insurance agent. They pointed her in the direction of Brad Loheide, manager, marketing and growth initiatives, who would then hire her as an agent in the Pacesetter Agency in downtown Indianapolis.
The Pacesetter Program was created to give new professionals, or those looking for a career change, an opportunity to train and develop in the insurance sales program before becoming agents in one of our offices.
Follett has been in the Pacesetter Agency for a year and will transition to be an agent in one of our Marion County offices in March 2022. Originally from the Indianapolis area, Follett is excited to serve clients in her own backyard and provide insurance protection to her fellow Hoosiers.
What are the challenges you have experienced as an insurance agent?
“There’s not a lot of us,” Stone said referring to the number of women agents at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. But she doesn’t see that there have been many challenges as a woman, just challenges to the career in general.
For Wilhite, the challenges began when she first joined the insurance industry. She had to adjust to being told “no” day in and day out.
“I had to change my mindset that it’s not a ‘no with a period behind it,’ but it’s a ‘no with a comma and a not yet,’” explained Wilhite, “As soon as I changed my mindset to a ‘no, not yet’ everything changed for me.”
Follett has seen challenges arise due to her young age and lack of personal life experiences. She has had to prove herself by educating herself and absorbing the knowledge that is being taught and shown to her at the Pacesetter Agency. Although this is a challenge, she sees it as an opportunity to relate to people her own age who are looking to purchase their first insurance policies.
What are some achievements worth noting?
Wilhite has had tremendous success at the company. She has earned many company-sponsored awards, including being named among the top 25 agents in the state three times. She was also one of the first women to become an agency owner at the company.
In the five years that Stone has been at the company she has achieved a lot. She is proud that her prospects and clients see her as a serious and knowledgeable insurance professional. Stone recalled a time that a client perceived that she was young and inexperienced. After she spent time reviewing coverages and the client’s unique insurance needs, she wrote the policy, and the client could not have been happier with her or her knowledge of insurance.
Although Follett has only been in the game for one year, she has had many little wins along the way. She shifted her career objectives from working in the medical field to joining the insurance industry. Not only that, but in her first year, she was able to help more than 100 people, a huge accomplishment.
Each employee and agent at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance has their own story and journey, and we are proud of each unique story.
Interested in becoming an agent? Check out our careers page for more information.
Looking for a free insurance quote online? Or would you like to start a conversation with one of our local insurance agents? Find an agent today or get a free quote now!
1. Atlas Magazine. (2018, April). The status of women in the insurance sector: an unfinished conquest. Atlas Magazine: Insurance News Around the World. https://www.atlas-mag.net/en/article/the-status-of-women-in-the-insurance-sector-an-unfinished-conquest