Shawn Morrison, 49, of Charlotte, North Carolina is a Licensed Insurance Agent who started his profession in life insurance after working in the Tech industry since the early 1990’s. One of his missions is to help people understand the importance of Living Benefits, especially in the tech industry, where health is often a major concern.
It was the early 1990’s and the World Wide Web had just become a world sensation. Shawn had been introduced to computers before the internet was a big deal.
“My best friend’s father worked for IBM. If we weren’t friends, there’s no way I would have become exposed to computers. I started doing help desk work for an insurance company while in High School. I worked as an intern through a program called INROADS, a program for minorities that allowed us to go to school and work an internship through the Summer. It was there that I had my first start in the corporate world.”
After graduating high school in 1991, he went to NC State University. He later transferred, graduating from North Carolina A&T State University. “While in high school, I figured I would go into some kind of engineering because it made the most money without becoming a doctor or something like that.”
In a survey conducted by Grand Canyon University, 81% of Americans chose their major based on what they loved to do. The same survey stated that 65% of graduates eventually changed their occupation to a role different from their major due to the bump in salary. After looking at a list of majors and their projected salaries, he chose Computer Science. He thought it was the best option considering he had already been working as a computer technician and was good at math & science.
While attending North Carolina A&T University, he continued his internship with INROADS. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science, he moved to Washington D.C., where he began a job with Ernst & Young.
“Typically, people know Ernst & Young for accounting. I was a part of a tech group which was known for working with and developing leading edge technology and innovation. I was competing against kids from MIT, Cornell, Duke and Harvard to name a few. My friend Eric came in as an intern, and I was the first permanent hire. In fact, out of all the schools I mentioned, imagine little North Carolina A&T had the most hires in several recruiting classes. “
He later moved to a company called Wisor, a telecom company. This is where he and another friend from college became partners, eventually starting their own company together called CompareNow. He says today’s compare.com shares the same vision they had back when they first started in the mid 90’s.
The CompareNow Tech Startup
“We started a company called CompareNow. Initially, the idea was that you could compare phone rates. Back then, you had landlines through many different companies, and we were asking them to provide us with the data so that we could provide it to our customers. No companies would give us the data back then; it wasn’t like today where many companies are transparent. They really didn’t want you to know.”
Through this venture, which eventually ended, he learned valuable lessons, including the importance of knowing who to go into business with and keeping in with the times.
After leaving Wisor, he started working as a government contractor. Within four years, he had more than doubled his salary, making over $100,000 annually. A feat that would take the average person in his occupation 10 or more years. He says that having an understanding of the business allowed him to negotiate a salary with the company owner.
“I knew people in this line of work, so when I negotiated the salary, I already understood the game. I knew the billing rate that they were receiving from the government. So, when I made the phone call to ask for more money, I explained to them that they could still make a significant margin even if they paid me what I was asking for. It was a bold move, but they agreed.” He has worked as a Sales Engineer for EMC, where they develop hardware and software programs. Working for EMC taught him how to deal with executive-level people and conduct business on his own. He then began his journey working independent as a consultant and project manager, after the World Trade Center incident of 9/11 that caused him to be laid off.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, he is also a Chef and has owned food trucks, catering companies, and consulted restaurants in developing menus and business practices.
“While working at a private event as a Chef, I met a couple of people and three of them happen to be millionaires. I built a relationship with them by talking about basketball because they hooped, and after doing another event for them, I just had to know what they were up to. They explained everything to me and that they were in Life Insurance.”
Making a new Start outside Corporate
Currently working as a contract Project Manager but wanting to leave the corporate world behind, he found an interest in Life Insurance. He also began consulting others looking to establish themselves in business, having gained experience while in the world of corporate and private business. His “Business Startup Weekend” helps people registering an LLC, obtaining an EIN number, gathering necessary licenses or permits, digital marketing, a CRM, and systematizing their business to align with today’s way of doing business.
Most people know the basics of life insurance. Pay a monthly fee for an insurance policy which promises a certain amount of money to your beneficiaries upon death. A survey conducted by the Insurance Information Institute showed that 54% of Americans have some type of life insurance policy. But did you know that there are millions of people who are not aware of the Living Benefits that come from having the right insurance policy?
As a Life insurance agent, Shawn Morrison wants more people to know about the Living Benefits that are available with premium life insurance.
“The reason why I’m so passionate about this is because I was that guy that didn’t know these things growing up, so I wanted to not only take care of myself, but my community as well. When I look back on it, I lived in a 6,000 sqft house at 28. Why? I later found that’s not the way. If you really want to get it right, while in your 20’s stay focused, keep working and put your money where it can grow and you’ll reap the harvest later. It could be that easy.”
Teaching people is his goal. He believes that educating people is the first step. Once we understand insurance, then we can focus on developing a strategy that will allow us to “live life, leave a legacy…and protect them both.”