Episode #8: Life Insurance – a Hidden Gem of a Nonclinical Career

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If you like using your clinical knowledge but need a change from patient care, Life Insurance Medicine could be for you. In this episode, you’ll hear the story of how a burned out internal medicine physician hit the breaking point and how she found a new career she loves. You’ll also learn why Life Insurance medical directors find so much satisfaction in their work that they often stay until retirement.

In this episode we’re talking about:

  • The steps a burned-out physician took to find a nonclinical job she loves.
  • What physicians do in Life Insurance Medicine.
  • What kind of physicians make a good fit for this sector.
  • Compensation for Life Insurance medical directors.
  • Tips for exploring a career in Life Insurance Medicine.

Links for this episode:

AAIM American Academy of Insurance Medicine
Insider’s Guide to Life Insurance Medicine

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Heather Fork

8 Comments

  1. Meg Weiss on December 10, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Every time I hear the story of another physician who has successfully made the transition out of clinical medicine, it helps make the process seem more possible. The podcast provides a view into the Life Insurance Medicine field. To me, this field sounds like a good opportunity for a physician to work primarily with the clinical science of their field within the business environment. From my research so far, this is a unique field. Thank you, Heather and Megan!

    • Heather Fork on December 10, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      How lovely of you to share this super nice comment Meg! I’m so glad that Megan’s transition story helps you feel that transforming your carer is doable. I’ve seen it happen so many times now, and in quite a variety of ways and time-frames, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is entirely possible. Full stop. Here’s to your own successful journey to the right career fit for you. Thanks again for listening and commenting.

  2. Modupe Oladeinde on December 10, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you Heather and Megan for this great podcast about Life Insurance Medicine! I learned so much from Megan’s story, especially when she said “listen to yourself”, that is so true and it’s often where the journey begins.
    The podcast was extremely informative, hearing about a ‘representative case’, upward growth potential, compensation, etc.
    Congrats on landing the new job and wishing you the best for the future!

    • Heather Fork on December 10, 2020 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Mo! Thank you for all your kind words for Megan’s interview on the podcast. I agree! She did an excellent job in sharing the details of her transition as well as the role physicians play in Life Insurance Medicine. I feel so blessed to have former clients such as yourself and Megan and others who are coming on the podcast to tell about your journey and new careers. Your stories are invaluable! I am beyond grateful.

  3. Leigh Anne Schwietz on December 11, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for airing this interview with Megan. It is encouraging to hear her leap of faith didn’t just allow her to escape what wasn’t working, but also inspired her to continue to grow. The resources you provide are greatly appreciated too!

    • Heather Fork on December 11, 2020 at 11:21 pm

      Thank you Leigh Anne! It was our pleasure to do the interview and I thought Megan did a fantastic job. My mom listened to the episode and said so as well! I’m glad to have you as a listener and really appreciate your sharing your nice comments. We’re happy to provide the resources for you and hope they are helpful. Have fun carpey’ing that diem!

  4. Jerry Wehr on December 17, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Oh what a relief it is!!! (Sounds like a Rx Ad). Great to know: No need to “be trapped” or to “feel guilty” by wanting to try nonclinical medicine.
    One thing that I enjoy about your podcasts, Heather, is your frank interviews with real physicians with real struggles and sharing their stories
    with us. Thanks Heather and Megan for your mighty work on this podcast.

    • Heather Fork on December 17, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      I loved that commercial! Jerry Wehr thank you for your super supportive comments! One of my goals was to do exactly what you said, bring on real stories of physicians making changes so others would not feel so alone, would have hope, and be able to see the steps that were actually taken. I could not do this without my fantastic guest who happily volunteer to tell their stories. Megan and my other guests are all rocking it and I’m deeply grateful. Thank you again Jerry for being such a positive member of the community.

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Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Anesthesiologist
Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician
Steve

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

Today...my wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Pathologist
Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon
LI

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician
Amie

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
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"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach
modupe

"Heather’s approach was great! She would listen to me and helped me appreciate who I am."

I remember when she said ‘do your resume before our next meeting’, I was about to push back but she gently nudged me along and I’m glad I did exactly what she wanted me to do. We also did interview prep via Zoom and I was offered a great job in UM. She has continued to follow up even after I was offered this job, helping me with pointers about negotiating. I will totally recommend the Doctors Crossing and Heather to anyone feeling stuck like me and looking for a great coach! Thank you Heather!

- Modupe Oladeinde, MD

Family Medicine
IMG_05-22-2021_9-11-9

"Heather was my source of hope during a time when I felt stuck and confused. She gave me the permission and confidence to reach higher than I believed I could."

After graduating from residency and starting a family, I lost sight of why I became a physician. I struggled to convince myself to stay in a career that was clearly the wrong fit for me and my family. My anxiety about work was at an all-time high when I reached out to Heather. She provided something that my mentors, friends, and family could not – rather than just offering career advice, she changed the way I think about my life so that I could understand how my career would fit into it. I realized I wasn’t ready to give up on medicine and eventually found a job in academic medicine. I finally feel that excitement for medicine that I used to feel when I was in training. More importantly, I feel like I can be the role model to my young daughter who may one day also face similar challenges between career and family. Thank you, Heather, for all your kindness, support, and skillful coaching! The experience was life-changing!

- Yuri Shindo, MD

Internal Medicine Physician
Camille Gardner-Beasley

"As a Physician, your personal and even professional needs are often overlooked. I learned how to prioritize my career goals by working with Dr. Heather Fork."

She taught me how to put into practice what I knew in theory, that taking care of myself was a priority. I learned to give myself permission to make the career choices that would give me the work-life balance I desperately craved and needed. The process of confronting fears and insecurities was a bit scary, but well worth it in the end. I am now a happier version of myself with a non-clinical job that I truly enjoy!

- Camille Gardner-Beasley, MD

Family Medicine