By Orlene O. Arriola, CPCU, CRIS, AINS
I had always been interested in the financial industry, math and science, but after graduating from the University of California San Diego with a degree in management science (economics), I wasn’t too sure exactly what specific career I would take. I was finally hired to work in a small insurance agency here in Guam and realized, not only did I like insurance; I was actually really good and it. It was a natural fit for me. I started working toward the CPCU® when I was completely new to insurance, and it became my mission to try to know as much as I possibly could about the industry.
On a small island, we have to become knowledgeable about all the different lines of insurance, so my knowledge growth was really limitless. I began to gain traction toward my CPCU after completing the AINS® designation and just kept on the same track, basically dedicating every spare moment of mine toward my CPCU studies. I have a large blended family of seven, including our five kids. With a career, sports, activities and family events, it was no small challenge trying to squeeze in the necessary time to read and study. But I was more determined to finish after each exam I completed.
The last year, by far, was my most productive. I completed four of my requirements, and I was in the home stretch! Because the CPCU subject matter was interesting to me, I think I was more inspired to delve into the studies daily. Since there was only one CPCU living on Guam, it always seemed so unattainable, but I was determined to be the first woman to finish the accomplishment, so I just kept on. I have to say, earning the CPCU designation has been the single most rewarding professional accomplishment in my life. The respect and acknowledgement that comes with the achievement is unmatched. It has certainly changed my life for the better, and I know that I have positively inspired many other women here on Guam to go for the CPCU as well.
For those contemplating the CPCU or just getting starting, my advice would be to stay the course. The CPCU is one of the most challenging, yet most relevant, programs of study you will ever encounter in the insurance industry. Take each course step by step, stay focused, and don’t skip any reading. Being the first female CPCU in Guam is an amazing feeling! I have found it extremely rewarding to be a positive role model for many other women in the industry here. Many women have expressed how I am now an inspiration to them. To give back, I currently train, coach, and teach the AINS course to teams of underwriters, so you can expect a regular influx of new designees from Guam. I may be the first, but I know I will certainly not be the last!
Orlene O. Arriola is the owner and principal broker of Axs Insurance based in the United States territory of Guam. As a CPCU new designee, she is a new member of the CPCU Society International Interest Group (3iG). Arriola obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in management science from the University of California-San Diego’s Revelle College.
Post originally appeared on The Institutes Community