What Do Insurance Agents Do
As a licensed agent, you are contracted with an insurance company to sell a variety of products, including auto, home, life, business and long-term care insurance, to match the needs of your customers. Some insurers use exclusive or captive agents who represent a single company. Others, like Erie Insurance, use independent agents, who may represent one or multiple insurance companies.
Acting as a liaison between the insurance company and the customer, you work with each of your clients to understand their needs, evaluate their potential risks and their budget to put together an insurance plan. You prepare quotes, explain coverage details and complete the policy application process for your customers. You need to be familiar with different types of insurance policies, forms and coverages.
The relationships that you develop with people in your community are the foundation of your business. Your professional reputation in your local community makes you a natural first point of contact for your customers when they need to file a claim or update their coverage because of a life event like buying a new home or having a child. You need to proactively develop a network of clients through numerous channelsreferrals, cold calling, email, social media, advertising, mailings, business events and community activities.
As the owner of the insurance agency, youll also have a variety of other responsibilities, such as:
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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc…
Written byLeslie Kasperowicz Farmers CSR for 4 Years
Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his familys insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years . He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. Hes also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco.He reviews content, ensuring that ex…
Which Types Of Insurance Licenses Do You Need
Depending on what type of insurance agent you want to be or what types of policies you need to sell, you will need to choose what type or types of insurance licenses you need to get.
These are examples of the types of insurance policies you can sell with each type of license:
- Life & Health Insurance License Life Insurance, Annuities, Health Insurance, etc
Most insurance agents choose to get both of these licenses, but if you will only sell one type of policy then you just need to choose which license fits your needs.
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What Is The Best Insurance Company To Work For
To find out who the best insurance company to work for is in your area, we recommend looking at sites like Glassdoor, Fortune, or GreatPlaceToWork for company and employee reviews.
Now you should know all you need about how to become a licensed insurance agent.
If you are ready to be an insurance agent and want to learn more about rates, entering your ZIP code below gives you access to auto insurance quotes from Americas top providers.
Those Who Love Pets Or Owns Pet
Actually, if you are a pet owner or maybe you love pets, you will definitely have topics to discuss pets, you wouldnt run out of discussion because you stay with them, therefore you have things to say always about their behavior, health, food and much more.
This is because you stay more often with them, so you have first-hand experience in buying the Insurance plan and will not hesitate to fill out the claims.
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Earn A Bachelor’s Degree
While a high school diploma is technically the only requirement for an insurance sales agent, most companies prefer that insurance agents hold a college degree. Aspiring insurance agents should consider taking courses in business, economics or finance to be more effective in selling insurance as a product. They may also want to study marketing or psychology to become better at promoting their insurance products and selling them. Some colleges and universities offer courses in insurance or risk management that teach students insurance theory, security analysis and the basic principles of risk management. A major in risk management and insurance or business with a concentration in risk management is particularly useful if you want to become an underwriter.
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How To Become A Licensed Insurance Agent
Exactly how long does it take to become an insurance agent? Most people can become one in only a few weeks. If you choose to take an online course that requires a certain number of study hours, your ability to complete it will largely determine your licensing time. There may also be a week or two of waiting for the license to be issued once your exam and background checks are complete.
If youre ready to jump into the world of insurance sales, consider these steps to becoming an insurance broker or agent.
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License Application And Background Check
Each state has its own license application process. These applications can generally be filled out online and have a fee ranging from $30 to $200. Some states require this before your exam, and some after, so be sure to check your individual states steps.
All states will run some form of a background check while reviewing your application. Some will also require fingerprint data to be taken prior to licensing. This is normally run through a third party and carries a fee of around $30, give or take.
If you have questions about the background checks or any other detailed license questions, you can find your states Department of Insurance contact information on your states license page.
Launching A Career As An Independent Insurance Agent
To become an independent insurance agent is to basically start your own business. Youll need to have a fairly extensive knowledge of insurance, including the market and your states laws and regulations, as youll be working with a variety of insurance companies and finding the best coverage for specific clients.
Some insurance agents who are already employed by private companies choose to funnel their experience into a career as an independent agent. For those who are starting with no industry knowledge, there are many classes available to learn the basics. These courses may be offered by trade schools or online in a virtual setting. One important thing to consider if not working for a private company is that youll need to land your own business.
Requirements for doing business as an independent insurance agent include:
- Registering yourself as an agency with your states Department of Insurance
- Obtaining an insurance license
- Purchasing an Errors & Omissions policy and a Producer Bond to protect yourself and your business
- Choose an office locationit is not recommended that independent insurance agents work from home
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Get Appointed With An Insurance Company To Sell Products
You must be appointed by an insurance company before you have the authority to sell its products. You will need to complete an application with each insurance company you plan to sell products for and be granted an appointment and binding authority, which is recorded on your state insurance license.
Find And Maintain Clients
You have a license. Now what? Youll want to begin prospecting for clients. Many agents begin by writing their own insurance and prospecting to friends and family. This is a great way to get a good feel for how the systems work and become comfortable quoting new coverage.
At this point, its a good idea to begin marketing your agency. You may want to join the local chamber of commerce, create a website and promote your business online, or explore local advertising options. Many options are available, and most will require some trial and error until you find what works best for you.
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What Is A Health Insurance Agent
A health insurance agent is an insurance professional who is responsible for selling health insurance to clients and helping them settle claims with the insurance company. Health insurance can help insured people cover part or all of their medical expenses, including the cost of surgical procedures, prescription drugs and more. Health insurance agents can work as independent brokers or work as part of insurance companies. Often, health insurance agents can earn commissions for selling health insurance plans from insurance companies that they represent.
Health insurance agents usually form strong relationships with their clients so they can help them make the best possible decisions, choose the right policy and settle claims with the insurance company. Good health insurance agents are honest, and they care for the needs of their clients.
Becoming A Life Insurance Agent
There are only a small number of industries outside of the financial services industry that offer the potential for relatively inexperienced professionals to make significant income within their first year of employment. And within the financial services industry, there are few careers that offer newcomers the opportunity to earn as much as a life insurance agent does right off the bat. In fact, a hard-working insurance agent can earn more than $100,000 in their first year of sales.
But, success as an insurance agent doesn’t come without a cost. It’s a tough field and most participants burn out sooner rather than later. Insurance agents hear the word “no” far more than they hear the word “yes.” And it’s not uncommon for the word “no” to be delivered with a fair amount of obscenities and the proverbial door in the face. Additionally, many people hold insurance agents in low regard: Some people even equate them to glorified con artists. But, for those who can stomach the potential rejection, the paycheck and flexibility of being a life insurance agent can be worth the effort.
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Get The Right Education
The first important step towards becoming an excellent independent insurance agent is getting the right education. You dont need a college degree to qualify, but a college education will boost your chances of getting licensed and running your agency correctly. You can study subjects like marketing, business, economics, finance, mathematics, accounting, business administration, etc. You can even study insurance in some colleges.
Common Questions About Being An Insurance Agent
How Can I Find A Job In Insurance?
The best place to find a job or begin your career in insurance is to use our insurance job board. If you need to update your resume before applying, check out our guide on how to write an insurance resume.
Do Insurance Agents Get Paid Hourly?
This is dependent on your arrangement with your agency. Some agents are paid hourly, some by salary. These can also be combined with commission splits or bonus structures. There are many ways to compensate an insurance agent, and there doesnt seem to be a prevailing method.
If you are an agency owner, it is almost certain that you will be paid a commission split with your insurance company. This may be supplemented based on your agencys age or performance.
Can You Sell Insurance Without A License?
No. All states require a license to sell insurance. You must also hold the correct license for the type of policies you are advertising.
Example: if you have only a life insurance license, you cannot sell car insurance, but you can sell a term life insurance policy.
Is The Insurance License Exam Hard?
The national pass rate average for first-time test-takers is right at about 50%. Success rates vary by state, license types, and test prep company. We see that folks who study with a pre-license education course tend to fare better on the exam than those who use lesser study materials.
Can Insurance Agents Work From Home?
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How To Become An Insurance Agent In Canada
Insurance sales may not be a glamorous or high profile job, but insurance agents provide products that aid consumers in all stages of their lives. For someone with a knack for selling, a career in insurance sales can be lucrative. In order to protect Canadian consumers, insurance agents and brokers are licensed and regulated by provincial governments. While the specific process for becoming an insurance agent will vary by province, the general process is similar across Canada.
Complete your education at least through the high school level. Insurance can be a competitive field and most employers will not be interested in applicants who do not have a high school diploma. Many will prefer to hire agents who have completed college.
Become employed by a company willing to sponsor you. Typically, you must be sponsored by an employer to become licensed as an insurance agent, and your license is only active while you are employed. Search for an insurance agent position at insurance agencies, financial agencies, or brokerages. Often positions will be listed in regular job listings, but you can also call employers of interest to you and inquire about current job openings.
Apply for a license to sell insurance in your home province. Be prepared to provide documentation proving that you completed the required coursework and to pay an application fee.
Choose The Right Course Provider
Once youve found about the licensing requirements in your state, its time to enroll in your pre-license course. There are thousands of course providers online, and more and more agents receive complete their training on the internet. Studying in a classroom environment, however, provides you with multiple benefits.
If you have a family or work long hours, studying online will help you achieve your goals without committing to full-time education. You can study in your own time at a pace that suits you and access digital content wherever you live perfect if you are far away from a college.
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Does One Need License To Sell Pet Insurance
If you want to sell any insurance product as an agent or broker, then you need the Property and Casualty license to do so. The essence is that you become qualified to sell other insurance products aside from Pet Insurance which is better leverage.
It also means that you are open to greater opportunities when you must have accumulated your customer base. But if you sell Pet Insurance through an affiliate program by sending traffic to the advertiser to let them do the buying and selling, then no license will be required. Everything is done majorly online.
Work Environment About This Section
Insurance sales agents held about 507,200 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of insurance sales agents were as follows:
|Insurance agencies and brokerages|
|Direct health and medical insurance carriers||4|
Most insurance sales agents work in offices, although some may spend time traveling to meet with clients.
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Free Ebook: Launching Your Insurance Career With Confidence
As an aspiring insurance professional, wouldnt it be great if you could sit down with a room full of successful insurance veterans and ask them for their advice? The Kaplan Financial Education team interviewed over 100 insurance professionals to develop this exclusive eBook for those who are considering the insurance industry.
Decide On A State And Find Out Its Requirements
Now that you have a basic idea of what you need to do, its time to decide whether you want to sell insurance in your home state or some other state. As you saw in Step 2, each state regulates its own insurance licensing process, and each states regulations or rules are slightly different, so this is why deciding on where is so important.
After youve made your decision, check with the department of insurance in that state for the rules. The state bodies of government that regulate insurance have different names, so a good way to find out the name of the states insurance body is to go to the official website of the state and search for the insurance licensing rules. Most state insurance web pages are quite helpful and often have handbooks you can download and read to get all the information you need to become an insurance agent in that state. Youll find out exactly how many hours of education you need, how to register for the exam, where to go for the exam, how youll get your score, andif you passhow youll get your license.
Each state website will also tell you what kind of continuing education you need to keep or renew your license.
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Take Continuing Education Courses
Some local insurance agents make the mistake of relaxing after getting licensed and getting a few employments. This is one mistake you should never make. Some states require that agents take continuing education courses regularly to keep their license. Even if this is not the case in your state, try to learn more and develop yourself in the field. You should be confident, flexible, enthusiastic, and disciplined. You should also be ready to learn more about how to improve your business.
Depending on the qualifications you have at the moment, becoming an independent insurance agent can be pretty straightforward. Follow the few steps in this post diligently, and you will make a great agent.
Are you ready for the most important step in the journey? Learn more about how to become an independent insurance agent with Bluefire Insurance.