Mt Pleasant News

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 23, 2017

Columnist shares a day in the life of an insurance salesman

Jan 16, 2013

By Curt Swarm


Not many people know I’m in insurance sales. I never write about it in this column, since the purpose of my column, for the most part, is to tell a story, not advertise. Once in a while I get off on a tangent, but that’s the exception.

My greatest pleasure in sales comes from the people I meet, most of which are the elderly. We always sit in the kitchen (my favorite room), the people are always friendly, and I usually get offered something to eat.

Whenever I have more than two appointments in a day, something unusual always happens, which is another reason I like sales. Everyday is different, there are no dull moments, and everyone has a story. Many of the stories I write come from the people I meet while on sales calls.

I had three appointments on this particular day. The middle appointment took me way out in the country. Most of my work takes place in SE Iowa, but I also travel the whole state, and also Illinois—which is another aspect I like about sales — the opportunity to drive around and look at stuff — camera at my side.

The farmhouse was a large, old, two-story affair, with attic—the type of house I grew up in. I liked it the moment I drove in the driveway. As I approached the door, I could see the elderly lady of the house fussing about the kitchen. I knocked on the door, and she let me in. The first thing I noticed was a stack of guns by the door, nothing unusual for a farm house. I pulled out my standard response, “Are those to run off salesmen?”

Belly laughs erupted, not only from the lady, but from an elderly gentleman sitting behind a stack of newspapers and magazines. Through the course of our greetings and conversation, it became obvious they were not married. They had met in Las Vegas and were “trying out life together.” Groovy.

As we sat at the kitchen table, and I presented the policy to the lady, I couldn’t help but notice stacks of guns all about the house. When I commented on them, she leaned forward and whispered, “He’s a gun dealer.”

My ears perked up. The phone rang and it was for the elderly gentleman. The conversation was obviously about a gun purchase.

I completed my business with the lady and asked the gentleman what type of gun he had been talking about. He told me and I wound up buying one myself, all perfectly legal. I have my papers, he has his.

I casually asked him if he had assault rifles. He did (dang). Two. I had been casually considering the purchase of one as an investment. There is no doubt, with what happened in Connecticut, the sale of assault weapons will soon be banned. He told me the price. I just about threw up. Could I justify the expense for the sake of an investment? I flipped my sobriety coin. It told me to stay away from assault rifles. (Thank you God.)

My stomach was making sounds like thunder. Something was smelling awfully good in the kitchen. The lady was cooking squash in January. She asked if I would like to stay and have squash with them. I said, “You bet.”

We all sat down and ate squash. It was delicious.

Just another day in the life of a salesman.


Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at, or visit his website at


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