September 26, 2023

By Kris Maccini, Head of Digital Distribution, Triple-I

Dale Sharpe Jenkins, M.S., CIC, AINS, principal/proprietor, The Jenkins Agency Incorporated, is fast to level out that she didn’t select a profession in insurance coverage – insurance coverage selected her. A primary-generation faculty graduate, Jenkins sought a career that would supply her and her household with alternatives. She started her profession in life insurance coverage at a small firm in Columbus, Ohio earlier than shifting on to Progressive Insurance coverage and opening its first claims workplace in Phoenix, Arizona. 

“Insurance coverage performs an vital function in our lives. The insurance coverage business has allowed me to make an incredible dwelling and assist individuals with their wants on the similar time.” 

Ultimately, Jenkins moved right into a senior building underwriter place at St. Paul Insurance coverage Corporations (now Vacationers) and made the shift from claims to underwriting. Whereas it was a rewarding place, Jenkins began a household and wished extra flexibility in her profession. In 1998, she leveraged her expertise in building to construct The Jenkins Company Included, an impartial company primarily based in Arlington, Texas, specializing in business underwriting for building, spiritual organizations, and different non-profits. 

“We write property/casualty, life, well being, and group advantages. Most of our clients are small Black-owned companies, and we’re minority licensed. I’m pleased with what our company has been capable of do for the Black enterprise neighborhood. Their success is our success.” 

Range has been on the epicenter of Jenkins’ profession. The Dallas Black Chamber has acknowledged the company for its work within the Black neighborhood; the Dallas-Fort Value (DFW) Airport named The Jenkins Company Included as its Range Champion of 2023 on the SOAR Awards this yr; and Enterprise Insurance coverage Journal has additionally acknowledged the company for its variety efforts.  

In 2008, Jenkins joined the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA), the place she was a member of the founding Board of Administrators and served as president of the Dallas chapter for 3 years. Since 2011, the NAAIA DFW Scholarship Foundation has supplied monetary awards to highschool and faculty college students serious about careers in insurance coverage, finance, and advertising. 

“I’m very centered on offering [insurance] business consciousness to younger individuals beginning out or making an attempt to find a profession for themselves. I used to be on the receiving finish early in my profession, and it’s good to provide again now.” 

The Jenkins Company Included celebrates its 25th anniversary this yr. Reflecting on the previous twenty years, Jenkins feels blessed to be in her present place. She based her firm on her personal with out a ebook of enterprise and constructed it from the bottom up, counting on referrals. Her husband, Jeff, joined the enterprise in 2000. 

“Within the early years, we have been in survival mode. We realized if we may make it to 5 years, we may make it to 10. Hiring our first workers was a spotlight, and most of them have been with us for over a decade.” 

Like each small enterprise, The Jenkins Company skilled challenges in its preliminary years. Jenkins remembers the tough transition from working in a big firm to operating her personal enterprise and sustaining a piece/life steadiness. 

“Whether or not working for your self or others, flexibility is essential if you end up working and elevating a household. Having my very own enterprise granted me that flexibility. I used to be capable of work round my daughters’ schedules and nonetheless handle obligations on the workplace. Having your individual enterprise doesn’t imply you’re employed much less; in my expertise, you’re employed extra however with the benefit is having the ability to handle your day.” 

To today, Jenkins cites her two daughters as inspiration, together with different up-and-coming professionals. Each of her daughters have profitable careers–her youngest daughter as a threat supervisor for a municipality in Texas and her oldest daughter as a enterprise proprietor in California and a university professor. Entrepreneurship runs within the household. Jenkins’ father was additionally a enterprise proprietor.  

Jenkins, who teaches threat administration on the College of Texas in Arlington, can be motivated by her college students. “My inspiration comes from the youthful era and the way they embrace variety and steadiness work and residential. I’m additionally impressed with their expertise.” 

Concerning the continuing efforts to push for variety, fairness, and inclusion within the business, Jenkins is cheering on this era and asks younger Black professionals to not lose floor.  

“My era needed to maneuver another way. We tried to slot in in any approach we may–from hair to speech. This era has a voice, and they don’t seem to be afraid to be heard. To them I say…Maintain your abilities sharp so there isn’t a query whether or not you are able to do the job and be pleased with who you might be.” 

Trying to take part in discussions round addressing disparities and dealing in the direction of a extra inclusive and equitable insurance coverage panorama? Join Empowering the Community: The Importance of Insurance in the Black Community, hosted on September 12 by The Black Insurance Industry Collective (BIIC).

Dale Sharpe Jenkins, M.S., CIC, AINS is an academic member of the Insurance coverage Info Institute by means of her affiliation with the College of Texas at Arlington.