Tessa Wiggins, agency owner of the Mobile franchise for Goosehead Insurance, is Mobile Bay Real Producers’ Spotlight vendor for August.
Wiggins was born and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, attended private school and excelled academically.
” I participated in a math club called Mu Alpha Theta, in honor society, and was involved on our Catholic diocesan youth board, where we planned all the youth events. I also skipped first grade and was younger than anyone else in my class all through school.” Tessa said.
Wiggins also made a name for herself athletically.
“I was a cheerleader in junior high but didn't make the cut going into high school, so decided to twirl the baton instead.” Wiggins said.
“I ended up really doing well. I was Miss Majorette of Louisiana a couple of years in a row, and at the University of Notre Dame I competed in a world competition. There were three different divisions of twirling, and in one I placed third in world for my age group.” she continued.
Not slowing down, Wiggins decided to graduate early from high school and embarked on her journey quickly as a young adult.
“I left half a year early, during my senior year, through an early admissions program and soon after moved to Austin, Texas. I lived there about eight years, finishing college at Concordia University with a degree in business and then worked in marketing.”
After nearly a decade away, Tessa returned to Louisiana.
“An opportunity in the oil and gas industry for a company in Mandeville was available when coming back home. I have always been a math and science kid and it was an opportunity with a chemical injection pump manufacturer, a very interesting sales job.” Wiggins said.
“I ended up being a sales manager for them and had nine salespeople working underneath me. I was the top salesperson several years and worked there successfully until the COVID-19 pandemic came around.” she added.
Tessa pivoted during the pandemic, parting ways from a position she had no desire to leave.
“COVID took a bad turn for the industry and our business slowed a lot. Our CEO downsized and decided to move the executive sales team to Dubai, leaving the production facility in Mandeville. I was laid off.” Wiggins said.
Divine providence soon intervened, however, and put her on a path towards a successful second act where she thrives today.
“Randomly, I had a recruiter contact me on LinkedIn from Goosehead Insurance before my current job ended. I didn't give it much thought until after being let go, and then reached out.” Tessa said.
Not sure what to expect, Wiggins held the news from family and friends.
“I kept the interview to myself, but before the appointment I was on the phone with my mom. She said that a family friend was having success in insurance, and perhaps I should check into becoming an agent. Later that week, before the appointment, I was visiting with a good friend, and she also randomly mentioned considering insurance as a career. The two of them had not spoken.”
The opportunity with Goosehead presented itself to Tessa as the unmistakable guidance of God’s hand.
“Goosehead has a model that offers ongoing training and support. The overall culture of the company was a good fit for me. Whenever I called other agents that were franchise owners for feedback, it was always positive.” she said.
Living in Slidell at the time, the decision also made good sense from a logistical standpoint.
“My husband works in Pascagoula, and he had been commuting back and forth for 9 years. Our twin girls, Jayci, and Jansyn were transitioning into high school. Both want to attend Auburn. We moved to Grand Bay, close to his work. I decided to open my agency in Mobile because the market seemed better than some of the surrounding areas.” Wiggins said.
New to the industry, new to the market and making a career move deep in the throes of a worldwide pandemic, Tessa rose to the challenge.
“When I opened in August of 2020, I was scared to death. In January of 2021 I went back for added training and my business took off from there. In July of 2021, I became the top agency in Alabama out of 17 locations and have maintained that position ever since. For 2022, we were also recognized as one of the top 10 offices for the Gulf Coast states, which includes over 100 agencies spread out between Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.” Wiggins said.
One month prior to her one-year anniversary, Tessa made her first agent hire. In November of 2022 she brought on her second producer.
Tessa’s business horizons have also broadened considerably since first opening her office 3 years ago.
“I initially thought it was just going to be me with a small, boutique agency, mostly working from home. I quickly realized that there was a need for what we do and fell in love with insurance. Now, I want to have at least 10 agents working in the office, in the next three to five years, and expand our product lines to offer commercial insurance as well.” she said.
“The thing that sets us apart is we really build a relationship with our clients, as well as try to help educate them. Reviewing insurance isn't fun for most people. We're able to explain their policy and break it down to where they can understand it and know about their coverages. The other thing is being responsive. We're going to call you back that day. You're not going to wait to get a call back from us in a week.” she added.
When asked what insight she could provide others who might want to start (or pivot) into a career selling insurance, she offered a bit of advice.
“Get your insurance policy. Read it. If you fall asleep, this work is probably not the job for you. If you find it interesting, it might be something you'd really love and be successful at pursuing.”
For questions or comments about Goosehead Insurance, contact Tessa at (251) 999-6931 or firstname.lastname@example.org