Secrets to Employee Retention

Kevin Curtis, AFLAC Regional Sales Coordinator/Director, has managed to keep a 94 percent employee retention rate for the past four years despite a booming job market. According to a 2015 BenchmarkPro Survey, voluntary and non-voluntary employee turnover in the insurance industry is 12.2 percent. What’s his secret?

Curtis credits the low turnover rate to several reasons. It all starts with providing a supportive work  culture. As a leader, his philosophy is to make sure his team has the potential to be successful and then supplying them with the tools and an environment that enables them to achieve their goals. His work ethic is deeply rooted in his first career, the military, where he spent 21 years in the Navy. During that time he put a foot on each continent and learned about the power of culture. In 2012, he came to AFLAC through the Wounded Warrior Program.

AFLAC values community involvement. Curtis’ team are members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Builder’s Alliance, Nevada Human Resources Association, the Wounded Warrior Program and the National Association of Health Underwriters among others. Being involved in the community creates lasting connections and their deeds don’t go unrecognized. AFLAC recently received accolades for being Company of the Year for Social Responsibility.

Curtis manages 48 agents in five districts. By the end of 2017, he predicts he will have seven districts. He believes strong leadership is the key to building an impactful sales force who love what they do. As a leader, he empowers his employees to achieve success in both business and in their personal lives. According to Curtis, “The economy is changing and we grow with it. We meet our clients where they are at. We do this by educating them about our benefits plans and then helping them select the right option for them. AFLAC has a policy of not changing pricing once you sign up for a benefit and clients seem to like that.” The lifelong connections between agents and clients greatly enhances employee retention.

AFLAC is a Fortune 125 company providing supplemental insurance in the event of a serious accident or illness to
more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fairly, promptly and directly to the insured. According to Curtis, most people can’t afford deductibles and copayments when they are out work as the average American lives paycheck to paycheck. AFLAC has the ability to educate their clients about what coverages are available and how they could potentially benefit the client. Even though it’s a nationwide company, each customer is matched with a local agent who is backed by a regional team. Curtis and his team of benefit consultants work with insurance brokers and business owners to determine the best solution for individuals and companies of any given size.

AFLAC has been recognized as one of the best 100 companies in the nation to work for. Although it’s a publicly traded company, it has been family owned since 1955 and still has the look and feel of that. This kind of work environment keeps both Curtis and his employees fueled and motivated. He knows that by helping his employees be successful at work it impacts their family life too. Knowing this allows him to state with confidence that AFLAC is his second and final career before he retires.  Curtis shared an impactful story about one of his first clients.

Curtis has a neatly organized office filled with awards and memorabilia. But there’s one piece of recognition that holds a special place in his heart even over the photo of him with former President George H.W. Bush when he was in the secret service.
His most cherished gift is from a little girl he first met on his second week at AFLAC as a case manager. Curtis was making a service call to a client who had recently been laid off. It was a Wednesday when he approached the home and introduced himself. The couple noted they could not afford to extend their coverage and had until Friday. Curtis did not know what that meant until later in the conversation.

He was there to educate them about their AFLAC supplemental insurance package and see if they had any claims to report. The woman asked if their coverage included a cancer plan for children. Just then their young daughter came to the door. Curtis describes her as being “bald as the sun was bright that day.” It turned out they did have this coverage in their plan and didn’t know it. Because of the astronomical medical bills they were two days away of losing their home. Friday was the date they were slated to lose everything.

AFLAC prides itself on customer service and Curtis soon learned the importance of timeliness when he submitted the claim on that Wednesday morning for the medical bills and then AFLAC overnighted a check in the amount of $40,000 enabling the family to avoid foreclosure one day before it was to happen.

To show their appreciation, the young cancer survivor drew and autographed a picture which is now framed and prominently placed on the wall to the right of Curtis’ desk. For Curtis, it’s a reminder about what an impact he and his team can make in a client’s life. Curtis notes, “Of all the awards I’ve received, this is the most valuable to me. I will have only two careers in my lifetime. My first career was in the military where I set foot on each and every continent. My second and final career is at AFLAC. You never know who is going to get sick. You need to be prepared for it because when you do life will be that much easier. There’s comfort in knowing that your health can change but the life you love doesn’t have to.”


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