The Man, the Myth: Lyall Bell

Kevin O’Hare, Education Manager & Lead Instructional Designer, IBAO

Lyall Bell has been with the IBAO since 2008. In his 33 years of teaching, he has taught over 25,000 people. He is also co-author of Becoming an Insurance Broker, IBAO’s amazing licensing textbook. At the end of this year, Lyall is retiring from teaching to enjoy a well-deserved rest and retirement.

Looking back, what would you be doing today if you didn’t go into teaching?

When I started my career in 1979, I was a truck driver and started as an underwriter to make my grandpa happy as he recommended what he was doing for 40 of his 60 years in the biz. And we lived in a house that he paid for. So, every roof I’ve lived under and all the food on my table has come from the brokers’ side. That’s why I came up with that slogan—Brokers Rock!

What have you learned about the people coming into the industry today versus when you started?

Well, that is a loaded statement! At first, we had to learn from bottom-up rating, but today underwriters have package policies that have made it simplistic even though insurance is not. Learn your wording and be able to explain coverage and concepts in clear terms that people will understand.

What do you want employers to know about training their staff?

Your staff is your capital investment. Invest in your staff’s learning and promote education like CAIB and then CRM designations and you will increase your business’ equity.

If you were to meet your younger self, before you started on this path, what advice would you give?

Find a mentor, who will support you professionally and personally in your life’s journey. These are people who know how they got to where they are today and support people of like mind and purpose. I’m here because of people who cared.

I have to ask—you’re famous for your Hawaiian shirts, where did that style begin for you?

Some 20 years ago I started wearing them to be different from other facilitators training insurance people who wore suits and ties—boring! Make insurance fun!

On behalf of the Education department and the IBAO, thank you for all you’ve done for the broker channel and for all IBAO’s Members. Your impact was wide and far, and you will be missed! Our best to you in your retirement Lyall, it’s well-earned!

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