Career, Salary and Education Information
What They Do: Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance.
Work Environment: Most insurance sales agents work in offices, although some may spend time traveling to meet with clients. Some sales agents meet with clients during business hours and then spend evenings doing paperwork and preparing presentations to prospective clients.
How to Become One: Although most employers only require agents to have a high school diploma, many agents have a bachelor’s degree. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.
Salary: The median annual wage for insurance sales agents is $50,940.
Job Outlook: Employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Many clients do their own research and purchase insurance online. However, agents will still be needed to help clients understand their options and choose a policy that is right for them.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of insurance sales agents with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as an insurance sales agent with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Top 3 Insurance Agent Jobs
- Licensed Insurance Agent – Allstate – Everett, WAAs an Insurance Agent with Allstate, you will independently work to drive new business by selling our products to protect our customers. Luxury Norms – here’s what every agent gets to enjoy
- Licensed Life Insurance Agent – Exclusive Leads (License Required) – Assurance – Los Angeles, CA… insurance ” when acquired by Prudential Financial for $3.5B in 2019. As an independent agent , you will benefit from the $300 million per year Assurance spends in acquiring in-market, high intent
- Sales Insurance Agent – Bankers Life & Casualty Company – Santa Barbara, CASales Insurance Agent – Growth and Opportunity! Launch your career and life to new heights with Bankers Life Bankers Life is looking for passionate and determined professionals who want to build
What Insurance Sales Agents Do
Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance. Insurance sales agents explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/MNCpob3fZHk?rel=0
Duties of Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance sales agents typically do the following:
- Call potential clients in order to expand their own customer base
- Interview prospective clients to get information about their financial resources and discuss existing coverage
- Explain the features of various policies
- Analyze clients’ current insurance policies and suggest additions or other changes
- Customize insurance programs to suit individual clients
- Handle policy renewals
- Maintain electronic and paper records
Insurance sales agents commonly sell one or more types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, and long-term care insurance.
Property and casualty insurance agents sell policies that protect people and businesses from financial loss resulting from automobile accidents, fire, theft, and other events that can damage property. For businesses, property and casualty insurance also covers workers’ compensation claims, product liability claims, or medical malpractice claims.
Life insurance agents specialize in selling policies that pay beneficiaries when a policyholder dies. Life insurance agents also sell annuities that promise a retirement income.
Health and long-term care insurance agents sell policies that cover the costs of medical care and assisted-living services for senior citizens. They also may sell dental insurance and short-term and long-term disability insurance.
Agents may specialize in selling any one of these products or function as generalists providing multiple products.
An increasing number of insurance sales agents offer their clients—especially those approaching retirement—comprehensive financial-planning services, including retirement planning and estate planning. In addition to offering insurance, these agents may become licensed to sell mutual funds, variable annuities, and other securities. This practice is most common with life insurance agents who already sell annuities, but many property and casualty agents also sell financial products.
Many agents spend a lot of time marketing their services and creating their own base of clients. They do this in a variety of ways, including making “cold” sales calls to people who are not current clients.
Potential clients often use comparison shopping tools online to learn about different policies and get information from insurance companies. Clients can either purchase a policy directly from the company’s website or contact the company to speak with a sales agent.
Insurance agents also find new clients through referrals by current clients. Keeping clients happy so that they recommend the agent to others is a key to success for insurance sales agents.
Insurance agents may work for a single insurance company or an insurance brokerage.
Captive agents are insurance sales agents who work exclusively for one insurance company. They can only sell policies provided by the company that employs them.
Independent insurance agents work for insurance brokerages, selling the policies of several companies. They match insurance policies for their clients with the company that offers the best rate and coverage.
Work Environment for Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance sales agents hold about 501,300 jobs. The largest employers of insurance sales agents are as follows:
|Insurance agencies and brokerages||61%|
|Direct insurance (except life, health, and medical) carriers||9%|
|Direct health and medical insurance carriers||4%|
Most insurance sales agents work in offices, although some may spend time traveling to meet with clients.
Insurance Sales Agent Work Schedules
Some sales agents meet with clients during business hours and then spend evenings doing paperwork and preparing presentations to prospective clients. Most agents work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to Become an Insurance Sales Agent
Get the education you need:
Although most employers only require agents to have a high school diploma, many agents have a bachelor’s degree. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.
Education for Insurance Sales Agents
A high school diploma is the typical requirement for insurance sales agents, although a bachelor’s degree can improve one’s job prospects. Public-speaking classes can be useful in improving sales techniques, and often agents will have taken courses in business, finance, or economics. Business knowledge is also helpful for sales agents hoping to advance to a managerial position.
Insurance Sales Agent Training
Insurance sales agents learn many of their job duties on the job from other agents. Many employers have new agents shadow an experienced agent. This practice allows the new agent to learn how to conduct the company’s business and to understand how the agency interacts with clients.
Because changes in tax laws, government benefits programs, and other state and federal regulations can affect clients’ insurance needs and the way in which agents conduct business, employers often expect agents to take continuing professional education courses. Agents can enhance their selling skills and broaden their knowledge of insurance and other financial services by taking courses at colleges and universities or by attending conferences and seminars sponsored by insurance organizations.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance sales agents must have a license in the states where they work. Separate licenses are required for agents to sell life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance. In most states, licenses are issued only to applicants who complete specified courses and who pass state exams covering insurance fundamentals and state insurance laws. Most state licensing authorities also require agents to take continuing education courses focusing on insurance laws, consumer protection, ethics, and the technical details of various insurance policies.
As the demand for financial-planning services increases, many agents also choose to get licensed and certified to sell securities and other financial products. Licensing and certification requires substantial study time to pass an additional exam—either the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, both of which are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Series 6 exam is for agents who want to sell only mutual funds and variable annuities. The Series 7 exam is the main FINRA series license, which qualifies agents as general securities sales representatives.
A number of organizations offer certifications that show an agent’s expertise in insurance specialties. These certifications are not required for employment, but they can give job candidates an advantage over other applicants. Certifications also can be a source of continuing education credit. For details on specific designations, contact The Institutes and The American College of Financial Services.
Important Qualities for Insurance Sales Agents
Analytical skills. Insurance sales agents must evaluate the needs of each client to determine the appropriate insurance policy.
Communication skills. Insurance sales agents must be able to communicate effectively with customers by listening to their requests and suggesting suitable policies.
Initiative. Insurance sales agents need to actively seek out new customers in order to maintain a flow of commissions.
Self-confidence. Insurance sales agents should be confident when making “cold” calls (calls to prospective customers whom they have not contacted before). They must speak clearly and persuasively and maintain their composure if rejected.
Job Outlook for Insurance Sales Agents
Employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.
Because the profitability of insurance companies depends on a steady stream of new customers, the demand for insurance sales agents is expected to continue. Employment growth will likely be strongest for independent sales agents as insurance companies rely more on brokerages and less on captive agents as a way to control costs.
Many clients do their own Internet research and purchase insurance online. This practice somewhat reduces demand for insurance sales agents because many purchases can then be made without an agent’s services. However, agents will still be needed to interact with clients to help them understand their options and choose a policy that is right for them. Many customers lack the time or expertise to study the different types of insurance to decide what they need and will continue to rely on advice from insurance sales agents.
Agencies are also implementing “marketing automation,” a set of software tools that allow agents to maintain contact with their clients more efficiently. Although this is expected to improve insurance sales agents’ productivity, it is not expected to substantially reduce employment demand. Agents will still be needed to reach out to new, prospective clients and sell different insurance policies.
Job Prospects for Insurance Sales Agents
College graduates who have sales ability, excellent customer-service skills, and expertise in a range of insurance and financial services products are likely to have the best prospects. Multilingual agents may have an advantage, because they can serve a wider customer base. In addition, insurance terminology is often technical, so agents who have a firm understanding of the relevant technical and legal terms also should be desirable to employers.
Many beginning agents fail to earn enough from commissions to meet their income goals. These agents may eventually transfer to other careers. Many job openings are likely to result from the need to replace agents who leave the occupation or retire.