What do you like most about working for Symetra?
The dedication to “VTS” throughout Symetra, and the entire team’s genuine desire to deliver a superior service experience.
What's been the biggest change in the industry you've seen in your career?
The speed of information. Everybody wants answers NOW! When I started in the business we didn’t even have a fax machine, much less e-mail. Business was conducted in person or via “snail mail”. Of course there are positive and negative impacts to technology – we are more efficient, but we risk losing the personal connection with the customer if we are not vigilant about nurturing those relationships.
What's the most important quality in an insurer?
Trustworthiness. My team talks often about maintaining our trusted advisor role. It is important that our customers view us as a partner, not a vendor.
What’s the most important thing you've learned in your career?
Admit mistakes quickly, apologize, learn, and make things right. An initial mistake rarely sinks you, but ignoring the mistake in the hopes that it will go away always comes back to bite you.
Do you have a personal quote we can feature or any last thoughts to share?
“Work hard and be nice” – I’d like to send that sign to all of our elected officials!
Jeff Farmer is vice president and national sales director of life, disability and Select Benefits for Symetra Life Insurance Company’s Benefits division.
Farmer’s career spans over 28 years in the insurance industry. Before joining Symetra five years ago, he spent 12 years on the insurance carrier side in various sales and management positions followed by 11 years in consulting/brokerage management. He earned his degree from Boston College where he studied Communications and English.
- First job: Agent services representative (customer service for career agents) at John Hancock in Boston
- How he takes his coffee: Cream. When in Seattle, LOTS of cream!
- Hidden talents: Absolutely none, sadly! I like to think I just haven’t discovered them yet
- Favorite book: The Golf Omnibus, by English humorist P.G. Wodehouse (check it out even if you don’t like golf!)
- Favorite movie: Forrest Gump
- Pets: Always! Current residents are Jack (Jack Russel/Rat Terrier mix), Buddy (Miniature Schnauzer) and Larry, an Albino Leopard Gecko (handsome!)