This Young Professional Traded His NFL Dreams for a Career in Insurance … And Never Looked Back
The most impressive people are the ones who let you decide the caliber of their accolades without selling you on it. Keyson Dingle is not only impressive, Keyson Dingle is humble.
At 23 years old, he has just received his ninth insurance designation. That’s right, ninth. And he’s not stopping there.
The talent gap speaks for itself regarding how young people feel about insurance. It’s an industry that is widely known to millennials and Gen-Z’ers as unsexy, black and white, and fifty-something-male. Young professionals like Dingle are paving the way for the future of leadership.
“I think, as young professionals growing in this industry, it’s important [for us] to seek out opportunities where we get to try new things,” said Dingle, with his CPCU, RPLU, ARe, AU-M, P&C license, AIS, AINS, ARC and AIAF designations.
Trying new things is precisely how Dingle found a niche in insurance.
His Journey to the Industry
Growing up in urban Jersey City, New Jersey, Dingle saw that not all of his peers were granted the same opportunities that he was. Not only did he grasp every opportunity that came his way, but he also made the most of them.
Because of that attitude, he found himself playing collegiate football at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. When he eventually realized that his dream of someday playing professionally for the National Football League would not become reality, Dingle knew he needed to channel the lifelong effort he dedicated to football into a career.
“When I first came to the realization that I was not going to make the NFL, it was definitely disheartening,” said Dingle.
“But that’s also when I understood that I had a good resource at USLI … Why not channel all of that hunger into something that could be really beneficial in the long run?”
During his freshman year, Dingle curiously approached the College Help recruiter from USLI while walking through the student center. After learning of internship opportunities, Dingle interviewed with USLI before winter break and began his internship at the beginning of the next semester.
“That helped me start my journey of learning more about the insurance industry, getting the designations and it also helped me get a full-time opportunity and discover different business opportunities inside my office.”
Knowledge Is the Foundation for Success
Passion is the driver for success, but knowledge is the foundation; Dingle soaks up knowledge like a sponge.
“I love to learn,” he put it simply and genuinely. “When I was playing football, I practiced everyday; you run, lift, go to the gym, watch film. With insurance, I can read books, read an article. There’s always something more to learn.”
And learning is something that Dingle takes seriously. After graduating college in May 2018 and accepting a full-time position with USLI, he made the decision to pursue his third insurance designation, a chartered property casualty underwriter; the CPCU.
His colleagues tried to convince him to wait. They told him it was something that couldn’t be obtained so early, or with as little experience as he had. Dingle used the naysayers as motivation.
“I always try to be the best version of myself,” he explained.
“I wasn’t always an underwriting assistant, but as soon as I stepped into the role I tried to be the best underwriting assistant I could be. If I’m a policy issuer, I want to be the best policy issuer I can be. When I played football, I decided to be the best football player I could be.”
Tackling the CPCU
Dingle not only passed the CPCU, he passed all eight exams in eight months.
The recommended study period for each exam is 2-3 months.
In the wake of his incredible achievement, he was invited to be the 2019 Conferment Class speaker at the annual CPCU Society Meeting in New Orleans.
“My proudest accomplishment is completing the CPCU in eight months and being able to speak onstage at the annual meeting. After I gave the speech, a lot of people came up to me and told me how inspired I made them feel.”
Now, Dingle wants others to feel the same sense of confidence and has become the go-to person in his office for those studying for the exam.
“Being a guide for people and helping them accomplish their goals makes me feel really good.”
He approaches his everyday responsibilities at USLI with the same attention to detail that helped him earn nine insurance designations.
“I have a lot of technical background, so I think people depend on me when they need information,” he explained.
“Yes, I have the designations, but I also take it upon myself to pay attention to detail; making sure I look over everything twice, making sure I understand what the customer wants and that I can give it to them as fast as possible. We have to do things very quickly and very efficiently without error. That being said, the best thing I can be in my job is efficient and someone who pays attention to detail.”
Entertaining Young Talent
Dingle hopes to translate his technical knowledge and desire to help others into educating young people about the insurance industry.
“The biggest challenge companies will face in the next five years is trying to keep young talent within the industry. The insurance corporations are going to have to make sure they entertain, challenge and engage young professionals so they can grow within the industry. If we can do that, then we can grow together and help more people. We have to retain young talent to help take care of our policyholders”
One of the strategies that the industry can use to engage young talent is mentorship, which has influenced Dingle profoundly.
Dingle met his mentor, Pete Kidd, director of claims at Hartford Steam Boiler, while he was working a summer job at a Wawa convenience store.
“He’s guided me through my career so far, helping me to stay focused and further my learning,” said Dingle of Kidd.
“Any type of obstacle that I went through, he helped me understand the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone should have a mentor, because it’s something that you can utilize in your career as you grow.”
The Inspiration Behind the Drive
So where does the drive come from? As the eldest of six children, becoming the best role model he can be has always been Dingle’s prerogative.
“My dad always told me never give up and to always keep working, no matter what people say. Just keep your head down and focus on you. That was great advice. When you don’t focus on others, that’s when you improve yourself.”
When I asked Dingle if he would eventually go for a tenth designation, his response required no reaction or reservation: Yes.
His willingness, determination and palpable essence of decency are what make him such an invaluable asset to the insurance sector.
“You can shoot for the moon, and even if you miss you can land among the stars, but that’s still good progress. You can always dig deeper and give it even more.” &