Shantell Bishop-Turley’s love of learning was one of the many reasons she chose a career in insurance.
Her willingness to explore new opportunities is a lifelong practice. A dedicated writer of journals and stories, Bishop-Turley majored in English language and literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. When her work at a day care changed her mind about a career in teaching, she took a temporary assignment as an underwriting assistant.
“That month turned into years,” she says, describing how she was swept into the insurance industry without realizing it would become her calling. “It was like a whole other world that I didn’t know about.”
Bishop-Turley, underwriting manager for lawyers’ professional liability at Argo Pro and a member of the steering committee for the Midwest Chapter of PLUS, values the opportunities the industry provides to build a career, meet new people, and participate in community outreach projects.
Customer service focus
Working at a theme park during college revealed just how much Bishop-Turley enjoys helping people. Insurance has given her a chance to put her customer-service skills to frequent use.
“I love the fact that it’s a relationship-driven business,” she says. “I love people. I love customer service. You are getting to know people, not just on the surface, but you are becoming friends with them – and you can be friends for life.”
The opportunity to build long-term relationships is one reason why work in risk management is so rewarding, Bishop-Turley says. Another is that it often affords a perspective into entirely different career fields, as it has for her in working with lawyers.
“Seeing how it can go so wrong so quickly for the attorneys we work with, because of the smallest things, makes it clear how important it is for us to give them the coverage they need as individuals and as a firm overall,” she says.
Don’t be discouraged
Those new to the insurance industry should be patient and realize it takes time to develop contacts and feel confident, says Bishop-Turley, adding that the resulting relationships will be strong and the effort will be worth it.
“In the beginning it was hard for me to find new business and get a grasp of what I was doing,” she says. “Eventually I began to meet interesting people, and I started learning more and more about the insurance industry, which is ever-changing. It takes time to learn it. I’ve got it – and I’m still getting it.”
“I have had some amazing mentors helping me along the way by introducing me to brokers, recommending and encouraging me to sign up for industry programs, classes and conferences. Having their support and guidance helped me navigate and develop in this industry.”
Placing a premium on family time
Although the self-described Army brat was born in Würzburg, Germany, Bishop-Turley grew up mostly on Chicago’s South Side. She studied German in high school and college and occasionally reads books in her second language to maintain her skills.
Bishop-Turley continues to journal, a habit she began as a child, and she hopes to publish a book of her own one day. She draws inspiration from her husband and three children, two teens and a 1-year-old, and relishes family game nights and her extended family’s annual camping trip in Indiana.
“It’s so much fun being a part of nature,” she says. “It’s just family time, singing songs, telling stories, and playing games.”
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