Do CISSPs make good life insurance agents?

In January, I updated my profile on a popular job board. While the information security space is quite hot and my inbox was quite busy, I also got a number of emails from left field. Over the course of a few weeks, I also received over 25 emails from some of the most prominent life insurance firms in the US, including:

  • Bankers Life
  • Aflac
  • Prudential
  • Allstate
  • New York Life
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • State Farm

The emails from the life insurance firms attempted to stroke my ego with statements such as:

  • 'We came across your resume posted online and are very interested in you as a possible candidate'
  • 'I'm in charge of reviewing top local resumes and yours stood out to me'
  • 'We found your resume on and we are very interested in you as a possible match for our Account Representative position'
  • 'We believe you possess the skills necessary to join the Career Management Program'
  • 'It is not every day I read a resume and think WOW!'

Did these firms see my CISSP and think: this guy was born to become a life insurance agent? Three of the life insurance firms wrote that I have unlimited earning potential. Which domain of the CBK is that?

In fact one firm that reached out to me thought that I had the skills since I once worked at a life insurance firm, albeit in an information security role.

[ IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN IN THE SECURITY FIELD: IT careers: Security talent is red-hot ]

Selling life insurance requires a unique set of skills that most people don't have. A fantastic article elucidating this point is Multilevel Mischief by Norm Brodsky. While the article is about multilevel marketing (MLM), those companies use essentially the same formula as the life insurance firms. They sign up sales representatives by offering them the opportunity to go into business for themselves with little or no start-up capital -- and to make millions if they're successful. How? Mainly by selling and recruiting other salespeople.

So is a CISSP eminently qualified to sell life insurance? That's nonsense. Based on my experiences and in speaking with others, these firms simply send emails to many people, irrespective of their qualifications.

The unemployment rate among information security people is very low, which is a good thing. In other sectors it isn't and people may be tempted enough by the promise of unlimited earning potential to spend time pursuing a job they are not qualified for.

If you have a friend who may be desperate for work, unlike some information security people who dangle a number of offers, tell them to beware. That unlimited earning potential may really be unlimited frustration potential.

So clearly, the CISSP is a terrible criteria alone that certainly won't indicate that a person would make for a good life insurance agent. But if you are looking to purchase life insurance, be in touch. My friend Abbe Kaplan is a broker with over 15 years of experience who can review your needs and provide solutions. He's not a CISSP, or even a CEH, but that just fine.

Ben Rothke CISSP is a Senior eGRC Consultant with Nettitude, Inc. and the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know.

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