Insurance is a vital necessity for everyone, and as an insurance agent you can play an important role in advising clients on the best and most affordable options available to them among the different varieties of insurance – life, home, personal, auto, etc. Some career tips and helpful information on how to become a successful insurance agent are covered in this article.
When it comes to buying insurance, very few people contact an insurance company directly; it is the insurance agent’s role to solicit and sell insurance policies to the general public and in this role, you can work for a single insurance company/provider, specialize in one type of insurance or work across the board for different companies and sell different types of insurance.
Apart from selling insurance, many successful insurance agents operate as personal financial advisors and their selling may not be confined to insurance products alone; among other financial products, you can sell securities, mutual funds, loans, etc.
Other activities include helping customers in making claims against respective insurance policies, pension planning, providing investment advice, maintaining records, etc. An insurance agent needs to be honest, trustworthy and be able to interact and communicate across several levels, with a variety of people.
If the job description sounds good to you, then you may be wondering how to become an insurance agent. Perhaps the most important prerequisite for becoming a successful insurance agent is the ability to sell; while a college education is not mandatory, many insurance providers or agencies do prefer their agents to have some post-secondary education, to help facilitate a better understanding of financial products, insurance basics, laws, rules and regulations which are amended frequently.
More than educational qualifications, an insurance agent needs to be licensed according the state regulations in which (s)he resides and works before starting an insurance career. Basic licensure requirements are as follows:
- Complete specified insurance career training and examinations as prescribed by the respective state insurance authorities;
- Complete any special requirements for selling a particular type of insurance, for example, life or health insurance;
- Upon obtaining a license to sell insurance, comply with state requirements on re-certification and continuing education;
- Complete training courses and tests required by individual insurance companies as per their respective agency and selling policies.
In-depth information on insurance agent licensing requirements is available with the respective State Insurance Commissions or departments. Some other resources where you can find more information on becoming a successful insurance agent and advanced career opportunities are listed below:
Career outlook and opportunities
As an insurance agent, you can choose to work as a self-employed agent or as a salaried employee for insurance companies directly, or for agencies which have an independent sales staff for a specific or multiple insurance companies. As an independent agent, your income is primarily commission-based, i.e. a percentage of the value of the policies sold by you; as a salaried agent, income could be a combination of salary plus commission, commission only or salary plus performance-linked incentives. Different rates of commission may apply, based on the type of insurance sold, whether the policy is new or a renewal and so on. The qualifications and requirements for independent insurance agents may vary slightly from other insurance agent careers.
We hope that the above information on how to become a successful insurance agent helps you to launch a new career path in the field of insurance.