One Birmingham-based company provides peace of mind for countless families—here’s how

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Protective call center, helping people with life insurance
Protective staffed up during the pandemic to handle increased call volume. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

If you’ve lived in Birmingham for more than a minute, you’ve probably heard of Protective, but you may not know a whole lot about what they actually do. They help millions of people across the country protect their loved ones via life insurance…in case something happens. To learn what this has looked like during the pandemic, we talked with Cissy Williams, Chief Customer Officer. Here’s what she said. 

Some fun facts about Protective

Cissy Williams at Protective
Cissy Williams is Protective’s Chief Customer Officer. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

But first, let’s give you an idea of what a presence this company has in Birmingham. Here are three fun facts about Protective:

  • Their Birmingham campus is HUGE—660K square feet, including three connected buildings—with a walking trail, green space, onsite cafeteria, outdoor dining area, fitness center, health clinic and more. 
  • They’ve got lots of jobs here in Birmingham, including several customer-facing roles like: 
    • Billing
    • Helping customers buy insurance
    • Paying claims
  • A total of 1,260 employees are based out of Birmingham—this includes office-based, hybrid and virtual employees located in Birmingham.

“We always get tremendous feedback on our employees from customers, who really appreciate what good listeners they are, as well as how empathetic and caring they are. So many of those employees grew up in Birmingham, live in Birmingham and work for Protective in Birmingham or know someone who has.”

Cissy Williams, Chief Customer Officer, Protective

Life insurance during the time of COVID

three women sitting outside at Protective in Birmingham
Outside on Protective’s Birmingham campus. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Nobody wants to think about not being around to take care of the people and things they love, but the pandemic made denial or avoidance pretty much impossible. 

With the arrival of the novel coronavirus back in early 2020, Protective started seeing more people buying life insurance for the peace of mind it offered at such a vulnerable time, knowing their loved ones would be taken care of if something happened to them. 

“Life insurance doesn’t ease the grief of losing a loved one, but it certainly gives you more options, as you sort through arrangements including the burial, the funeral, the estate. It provides more stability and peace of mind than if you didn’t have it.”

Cissy Williams, Chief Customer Officer, Protective

Does this sound like a place you’d like to work? Protective is hiring. Visit their careers page today.

Life insurance lessons learned

women in a call center at Protective having a discussion
At the call center. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Early in the pandemic, Williams saw a real richness in the conversations they were having with their customers. 

“We’d been in a very divided time, and all of a sudden, when customers called to talk to our employees, it was more about ‘What’s it like where you are? Is everybody in your family OK?’”

Because so many people have seen family members, neighbors, colleagues or friends pass away due to COVID, there has been a heightened awareness of the need for life insurance and a clear difference in the way we connect, according to Williams.

Protective really had to think about how to meet their customers where they were during the pandemic. Whether it was increasing staffing to stay on top of the increased volume of claims, improving digital self-service capabilities, or being flexible by extending grace periods for missed payments, Protective adapted to customers’ evolving needs.

Life Insurance 101

I asked Williams when people usually buy life insurance. She said it’s typically around major life events that cause them to start being intentional about preparing for the future. 

Here are a few examples:

  1. Getting married: How will you have the resources to continue to support your partner, if something happens to you? 
  2. Having a baby: How will the tuition plan continue to be funded? How will you continue to support your children?
  3. Buying a house: How will your mortgage be paid? 
  4. Seeing family or friends go through a loss: This also raises awareness for people to ensure their loved ones and assets are protected. 
  5. The pandemic: This was a real awakening for a lot of people about how vulnerable we all are. 

Common misconceptions about who does + doesn’t need life insurance

Myth #1: It’s expensive

When you’re young and healthy, Williams says it’s generally less expensive to purchase life insurance, which makes it the best time to buy. 

Modest monthly premiums are a small price to pay for peace of mind. 

Myth #2: The life insurance my employer provides is enough

Group life insurance that workplaces provide usually doesn’t offer much coverage. Williams said it’s typically not enough to continue to pay a mortgage long-term or fund a tuition plan. Also, it doesn’t go with you when you leave your employer. 

An individual policy can provide greater coverage and is yours, no matter where you work. 

Myth #3: You only need it if you have children

While children do need protection, you may want to think about protecting other people or things financially. For example, your home, real estate or even a partner or spouse—particularly if you have a lifestyle that relies on two incomes. 

How to buy life insurance

three women sitting at a table outside at Protective
Some of the people behind the scenes at Protective. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)
  1. Talk to a financial professional.
  2. Ask your family + friends how they bought their life insurance.
  3. Visit the Protective website to get a free quote for the Protective® Classic Choice term life insurance or call 1.844.733.5433 to explore options. 

The Protective trademarks, logos and service marks are property of Protective Life Corporation and are protected by copyright, trademark, and/or other proprietary rights and laws. Protective is a registered trademark and Classic Choice is a trademark of Protective Life Insurance Company.

Protective refers to Protective Life Insurance Company (PLICO), Nashville, TN, and its affiliates, including Protective Life and Annuity Insurance Company (PLAIC), Birmingham, AL. Protective® Classic Choice (TL-21) is a term life insurance policy issued by PLICO in all states except New York where it is issued under form (TL-21-NY) by PLAIC. Policy form numbers, product features, and availability may vary by state. Consult the policy for benefits, riders, limitations, and exclusions. Subject to underwriting. Up to a two-year contestable and suicide period. Benefits adjusted for misstatements of age or sex. Each company is solely responsible for the financial obligations accruing under the products it issues. Product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing company. 

Interested in working at Protective? They’re hiring. Check out their Careers page today.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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