Lee Kinney protects and helps people as manager of BankWest Insurance.

From insurance agent to agency manager, with hobbies included, BankWest Insurance's Lee Kinney has been in the insurance game for fourteen years now, counting ten years of manager experience under his belt. Born and raised in Estelline, Lee pursued an education at Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University. "You get smarter as you get older," said Lee.

Degree in hand, Lee accepted a position with Game Fish and Parks and located his family in Onida. He was working for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service when he was approached about joining BankWest Insurance.

Lee says that he initially dismissed the idea, but a conversation with his mother changed his mind. "She said, 'You might want to rethink that,"' said Lee, relating that his father had owned an insurance business in Bryant.

Lee enthusiastically expresses that he loves being in the insurance field. He was involved in sports during high school and college, and draws parallels between his time spent as an offensive lineman and his current career in insurance: both involve protecting people and helping them succeed. That same motive applies to his personality and his current career.

"I like coming in and saying 'You're fine' and being the shoulder to cry on," said Lee. “That's all a part of the deal. I like protecting people."

Multi-peril crop insurance, farm, commercial, home, auto, and life insurance are among the insurance categories Lee sells.

According to Lee, one of the more challenging aspects of being an insurance agent is the constant changes, particularly during changes in political administrations, new farm bills and new insurance products and plans for situations relating to fires, hail, and so forth.

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