For TaLisa Hughes, family and church is center of her universe. But a close second is helping those around her figure out the complexities of insurance and investments.
Hughes and her husband own and operate American Senior Benefits in the Houston area, where they specialize in helping the elderly understand the importance of insurance for health needs and legacy wishes.
Hughes recently took the time to respond to the following questions for this week’s Women’s Insurance Network Producer Profile feature.
What drew you to a career in the insurance industry?
It all started when I was trying to help my grandmother find insurance. I had a friend in the business that came over to help her with insurance and that friend started talking to me about going to work for her. Being that I was in a transition in my life and I had been praying for direction and an opportunity to arise, I felt as though God placed me in her path for my new direction.
You’ve mentioned that helping the elderly is a passion of yours. How did that come to be?
My grandmother had a major health concern in 2006 and I tried helping her with getting her to the hospital emergency room. But because she did not have very good insurance, we had to go to the “free” hospital in Houston. It was an awful experience where we had to wait eight hours before seeing a doctor. I didn’t have a seat and there were people everywhere — all over the waiting room and all the way down the halls.
The entire time I was there I thought about how there had to be a better way; a place where she could go to a regular hospital in the event we needed an emergency room again. After we finally left, I started doing research on what was available for her and found there were many options that she wasn’t aware of. I found that she qualified for a low income subsidy. Therefore, her Social Security check was increased and she then had all of her medications reduced to where she was paying half of her check towards medications. I found that there were many people out there that qualified for extra help and didn’t realize it.
How do you help the elderly through your business?
As I just mentioned, I have come to realize that many elderly people qualify for more benefits than they are aware of. Also, I have found that most people are not aware of the many different types of life insurance and with the majority of them they will end by the time our clients turn age 80 or sooner, and they do not realize that. I have found that most people do not know how much coverage they have or when the coverage stops. Plus, people are living much longer now than we did many years ago. Therefore, the price of life insurance has gone down as the average life expectancy has gone up. So, many times we can give people more coverage for less money per month.
You offer insurance services throughout the Houston area. Do you know of many other women doing the same thing in this area?
I do know some but, unfortunately, there are not enough women taking advantage of this incredible opportunity; an opportunity to supplement their household income while still having flexible time to care for children and the home. Or by taking the bull by the horns and being the sole head of household because with the income possibilities with insurance and investments, the sky is the limit for you. Also, this career utilizes most women’s natural motherly instinct to simply help people.
What are some of the volunteer initiatives you and your husband are a part of?
I am the youth director of our church and he is the sound coordinator of our church. We also work with foster children — our home is a licensed foster home through the state of Texas and currently we have a young man that we are in the process of adopting that has been in foster care for the past eight years.
We also partner up with another church and every fifth Sunday we go to downtown Houston and pass out food and blankets and clothing to the homeless. Recently, we have been helping people who have lost their homes and belongings due to Hurricane Harvey. While I made sandwiches to pass out, my husband and the other men in our church used a boat to rescue more than 150 people — along with pets — out of their flooded homes. It has been devastating for many people in the Houston area.
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know has an inspiring story to tell, please reach out to email@example.com. And as always, we welcome your comments below.
Emily Holbrook is a former Editor in Chief of National Underwriter Life & Health and Retirement Advisor magazine. She has covered the financial, risk management and insurance industries for more than a decade, with her work appearing in Risk Management, National Law Review and Huffington Post. Emily graduated with dual degrees in Finance and English and worked in the financial industry as a fixed income trading administrator and analyst before becoming a full-time writer and editor. Emily now owns her own writing, editing and content strategy company, Red Label Writing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.