Member Spotlight: Jackie Letts

In Memoriam: Pat McLaughlin

NMAHU has lost a good friend and strong supporter, Pat McLaughlin.  Pat passed away January 18, 2016 after a long battle with cancer.
After attending several WMAHU meetings in Grand Rapids years ago, he decided that it would be a big benefit to Northern Michigan agents to be able to be a part of the NAHU organization.  Pat and a few others got together and decided to make it happen, so the Northern Michigan Chapter was formed over 20 years ago. 
Pat continued to support the organization serving in all the Board positions  or as a committee chairperson over the years.  He attended many Capitol Conferences and Annual Meetings - some at his own expense, to bring new and timely information back to the Chapter.  While he recognized that we were all competitors by the very nature of our business, it was also important to him to share ideas and help his fellow agents have access to the tools and information they needed,  in order to make all of us stronger and better agents.                           

What made you decide to go into the business of health insurance?

I started out as an administrative assistant in a life/health agency and after 12 years, decided I’d like to try my hand at sales.  Fortunately, I had a very supportive boss and mentor, Pat McLaughlin, who not only offered me the opportunity, but guided me and helped me believe I could achieve that goal.

 What has been the largest change to the industry in your career?
Definitely the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which has brought huge changes to the way we conduct our business.

What is the greatest accomplishment you’ve had in health insurance?
There are so many!  Overall, I’d say my successful career is the greatest accomplishment.  Helping people protect their families and their assets for over 25 years, through ups and downs of the economy and our industry, to me has been a huge accomplishment.

What do you like the most about your career?
Meeting people, helping them find the best solutions for their health care needs, enjoying the friendships that have been formed along the way.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in your career?
I had no idea that I would gain so much personally from this business.  The friendships you form in our industry are like no other.  From the people we work with in our agencies and on the carrier side, to clients, to fellow agents.  That’s sort of a hidden treasure going in.  It’s not something that is obvious as one considers our business as a potential career, but what a huge benefit and blessing it has been to me! 
Back in the beginning when I was apprehensive about switching to sales, I didn’t know there would be so much help available when I needed it.  Our carrier partners offer a wealth of information, training and educational opportunities.  NAHU membership has been an invaluable tool to me and my business for the same reasons, and many more. It gives you the opportunity to see the “big picture” when you interact with members at the local, state and national level,  and the camaraderie of such a fine group of people  - locally, statewide and nationally, is unparralled.  Those are things you won’t find in any training manual, that I would emphasize to someone new to the business.

 Outside of your work life, what do you like to do?
Just spending time with family and friends is at the top of the list.  I’m definitely a “summer person”, so I love to be outdoors – preferably at the beach!  My husband, Robb, and I love to travel.  I speak fluent Spanish, so we enjoy visiting Mexico and I’d love to go back to Barcelona, Spain.  Being grandma to six is pretty fun, too!