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Insurance agent opens new office

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Takyla Smith, right, owner of Key Insurance Solutions, talks with administrative assistant Quadira Lynch on Friday as they finish planning for the grand opening event at the new business at Franklin Square Offices in Rocky Mount.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Monday, January 21, 2019

Takyla W. Smith said being an insurance agent is like being a doctor in needing to have a good bedside manner.

"You know, people do business with people who they like," Smith said. "So they have to like you and trust you."

Smith, 36, after having worked approximately 12½ years for MSH Insurance, opened her own business, Key Insurance Solutions, in Rocky Mount’s central business district.

Smith said she wanted to be able to control her schedule and be able to help more people. She opened for business at the start of November.

Key Insurance Solutions sells disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance and Medicare supplement Part D insurance. The business also sells dental and vision insurance.

Smith said the name of a business is in reference to the word key being about what’s important.

She said in the insurance business, what is key for her is being able to build a rapport and trust with a customer and understand his or her needs.

She described opening for business as both exciting and scary.

"It actually happened pretty quickly, within a short time frame," she said.

She said probably the frightening part was going from a salaried job to having to earn income totally from commissions.

She also noted the intricacies of having to set up her business in line with laws, procedures, regulations and rules, with the pattern more than once being, "Before you could get this done, this had to be done."

At the same time, she said she had been taking classes through Nash Community College, N.C. Wesleyan College and the resource hub SpringBoard NC.

"And I was able to get directions through these organizations to help me move along," she said.

She said with a laugh that one of the hardest tasks was getting Internet search engine giant Google to have the Google map include the location of Key Insurance Solutions so Google viewers could readily locate her business.

"I don't know what the problem was, but I think they just don't want fly-by-night companies or companies that aren't truly businesses setting up shop," she said.

She said it took probably a month and a half before Google would accept any documentation to put the business on the Google map.

She said one asset at Key Insurance Solutions is customers aren’t going to have to call a 1-800 number for a faraway place and encounter elevator-like music while waiting for a person to come on the line.

She said to be accessible to people who must work until 5 p.m., Key Insurance Solutions is open until 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

"So we're still open and we're still here," she said, also noting appointments can be made.

She said except for a stint with N.C. Farm Bureau Insurance in Raleigh, she has been working in the Twin Counties.

She's a 2000 Northern Nash High School graduate, but prior to earning her diploma she had joined a youth apprenticeship program and began working for Rocky Mount-based Boddie-Noell Enterprises, which owns and operates numerous restaurants.

She eventually ended up applying for a full-time job with an on-site risk management company and started out as a workers compensation adjuster.

Her resume also includes having worked in registration at Nash UNC Health Care's emergency department.

She presently doubles as a real estate agent with Keffer Reams.

Key Insurance Solutions is located at 120 N. Franklin St., Suite G and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Key Insurance Solutions can be reached by phone at 210-4539 and Smith noted the office phone system is design to accept text messages.

Smith also can be reached by email at takyla@keyinsurancesolutions.com. The business also has a page on Facebook.

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