Featured New York Life Insurance Agent: Yerania EspindolaYerania Espindola
- To speak with Yerania regarding her services, please contact her here.
Yerania Espindola, a sales intern who works in the Yakima Valley area in New York Life’s Eastern Washington General Office, isn’t your average life insurance agent. Nor is she a typical college student.
“I’m 35 years old, and I have a family to support,” she says.
Yerania immigrated to Central Washington from Mexico in 1994. She hardly spoke any English and, like many immigrants before her, Yerania worked in orchards harvesting cherries, plums, and asparagus. Several years later, she enrolled in Heritage University to learn English. Today she is a dean’s-list senior studying business administration with an emphasis in marketing.
Yerania’s path from orchard to a career in life insurance started three years ago when her mother-in-law died.
“She passed away around 4 in the afternoon, and by noon the next day the funeral home was asking for $10, 000,” Yerania recalls. “The family didn’t have the money, and the funeral home said if you don’t pay us, the only the thing we can do is freeze the body. It was a horrible position to be put in.”
Fortunately, family and friends were quick to raise $10,000 so that the funeral could proceed.
Yerania points out this type of situation is not uncommon in Central Washington, where many Hispanics immigrate for agricultural work but often earn as little as $12,000 annually per household.
“So many families don’t have money for funeral costs, and when someone dies they have to hold different events, such as car washes and selling food, and ask friends and relatives for donations to pay for the funeral,” she says.
The event proved pivotal in Yerania’s decision to join New York Life almost two years ago. “I really saw the need in my community,” she says. “
Before starting at New York Life, Yerania had no previous experience in sales. Since then she has taken advantage of the company’s comprehensive training programs for new agents.
And that training is paying off: Yerania has won New York Life’s national college intern sales contest two years running. “I sold more than 100 policies in a year, and I was the first college intern in the company’s history to achieve that,” she says.
Working as an agent for New York Life presents Yerania with the perfect balance of opportunity and service. She notes that most Hispanics who immigrate to Central Washington are either unfamiliar with life insurance or have misguided preconceptions.
“It’s not part of Mexican culture to have life insurance,” she explains. “Hispanics feel that buying life insurance is bad luck, that somehow you are calling death.”
And then there is the “Sancho.” Yerania says the typical Hispanic man fears that a Sancho, which roughly translates to “the other man,” will come along after he dies and steal his wife, children, and money. “There is a lot of machismo in Latino culture, and men think the life insurance will go to the Sancho,” she says.
Yerania corrects this misconception by explaining how life insurance will benefit the wife and children by providing for lost income. “I tell them that, if you die tonight, your family will be protected financially,” she says. “And if the wife brings another man into the family, it will be because she loves the person, not because she needs help putting food on the table.”
Yerania acknowledges that selling life insurance is an unusual part-time job for a college student, but she explains it provides an uncommon flexibility. “I’m my own boss, and I can schedule appointments any day I’m available,” she says.
Yerania says she will continue to work as a life insurance agent after graduation. “One reason that I have been successful at New York Life is that I have a lot of passion for what I do,” she says. “I see the needs.”
But Yerania doesn’t plan to remain an agent her entire career, noting that she aims to become a New York Life manager in the future.