Become A Licensed Insurance Agent
You can get an insurance agent license in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the requirements in your state. Here are the steps to follow:
Learn about your states licensing process. The National Insurance Producer Registry or your states branch of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America can help you understand those specific requirements.
Accident and health or sickness.
The names of these lines of authority may differ in your state. You can be licensed to sell multiple lines of authority. Life and health are often offered as one package, as are property and casualty.
In general, most types of business insurance are property or casualty policies. With a property and casualty license, you can sell personal and commercial insurance. Most agents choose to specialize in one or the other, though.
Take a pre-licensing class. Your coursework should focus on the type of insurance you choose to specialize in. Courses can be done in person or online in most states.
Schedule your licensing exam. These are usually administered at testing centers run by third-party testing companies, which may immediately inform you of the results.
Apply for your license. Submit your licensing application to your states governing body. Youll need to provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth and residency information, and pay any applicable fees. If your application is approved, youll be able to sell insurance products.
How To Start An Insurance Company
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Starting an insurance agency is a lot like starting any business. Youll need to choose a business structure, register and license your business, get insurance and more.
But youll also need to become a licensed insurance agent and learn how to navigate a highly regulated field.
Heres how to get started.
Insurance Degrees And Career Paths
Workers can enter the insurance industry with anything from a high school diploma to a graduate degree. According to an O*NET survey, 35 percent of claims adjusters who responded had a bachelors degree compared to 81 percent of underwriters. Yet unlike with some fields, in which higher educational barriers to entry equate to greater demand and job growth potential, this is not necessarily true in the world of insurance. Underwriter jobs, for instance, are shrinking due to computer automation. Meanwhile, sales jobs, which rely on interpersonal skills more than formal education, are anticipated to grow at a rate of 10% this decade. The industry, then, welcomes a variety of people with a mix of backgrounds, knowledge and skills. A few of the more common career paths are outlined below.
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How Do You Buy Life Insurance
Once you have selected a life insurance company and policy, you can buy your life insurance policy. The first step in the policy purchasing process is to complete an application with the company you select. Many insurance companies offer online quotes. Depending on the company and your situation, you may be asked to get a medical exam or participate in a phone interview to discuss your medical history. Once approved, you will review and sign the policy and pay the premium. After that, your life insurance coverage will be active.
Term Life Insurance Plan
Term insurance is the most popular one in life insurance category. It has a specific period and expires at the end of the term. The best things about a term plan are the premiums are quite affordable. These plans can be bought by people who have just started their career as the premiums are low. Some of the best term life insurance plans offer critical or terminal illness cover that means the policyholder will be paid a lump sum amount on diagnosis of life-threatening diseases to help them cover the medical expenses.
Learn more about Term Insurance Plans.
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Insurance Sales Commission Example
Uni the insurance agent sells Ryan a whole life insurance policy that covers Ryan for the rest of their life . Uni’s insurance company pays a 90%/5% commission on whole life policies, which means the selling agent receives 90% of the first year’s premium and 5% of future renewals.
The policy costs Ryan $100 per month or $1,200 per year. Thus, in the first year, Uni will make a $1,080 commission on selling this life insurance policy . In all subsequent years, Uni will make $60 in renewals, as long as Ryan continues to pay the premiums . An agent selling one or two policies per week at this commission level could make $50,000 to $100,000 in their first year as an agent.
What To Do With Your Policy Documents
Depending on the insurer, your policy documents will either need to be electronically delivered or mailed back. Keep a hard copy and digital copy of your policy in a safe place and let your beneficiaries where to find it. If your beneficiaries donât know about the policy, they wonât know how to claim the death benefit.
Getting life insurance can feel overwhelming, but if you know what to expect and work with a knowledgeable broker, you can get the coverage you need quickly and efficiently.
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How To Get Started
If youve made it this far, youre very interested in learning how to sell life insurance and wonder what the next step is.
Its pretty simple.
First, learn how to get your insurance license if you havent already.
Not sure how to get it?
Read this article on how to get your insurance license. Itll answer all your questions.
Once you pass the exam, find an agency or insurance IMO to partner with.
Do your due diligence. And dont be in any rush to get going.
In most cases, it takes time to find the right insurance agency. Many jump into the first opportunity presented without comparing.
Overview Of The Insurance Field
While there are many kinds of insurance , the most lucrative career in the insurance field is for those selling life insurance. Agents focusing on this end of the insurance market help families, businesses, employers, and other parties protect against a financial loss when someone dies.
Insurance agents selling this type of coverage are either “captive” agents, which means they only sell insurance from one company, or “non-captive” agents, meaning they represent multiple insurance carriers. Either way, the typical insurance agent is going to spend the majority of their time engaging in some type of marketing activity to identify people who might be in need of new or additional insurance coverage, providing them with quotes from the companies they represent, and persuading them to sign the new insurance contract.
Typically, a life insurance agent receives anywhere from 30% to 90% of the amount paid for a policy by the client in the first year. In later years, the agent may receive anywhere from 3% to 10% of each year’s premium, also known as “renewals” or “trailing commissions.”
Let’s look at an example of how a life insurance agent earns:
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Voluntary Payroll Deduction Business
Ive got a friend in the life insurance business who does what we call voluntary payroll deduct business
He targets large employers like school systems and grocery chains.
His company helps his clients employees navigate benefit options. And through that service they make life insurance sales.
And every year like clockwork, they write millions upon millions of new life insurance premium and commissions.
VPD is lucrative because of the scaling factor.
If you can win over a corporate benefits manager to sponsor your VPD company, you have an exponentially larger pool selling life insurance prospects compared to traditional, 1-on-1 selling.
The benefit is more life insurance policies faster!
What Are Some Insider Tips For Jump Starting A Life Insurance Brokerage
Leading life insurance business owners offer the following advice:
- Never be afraid to take risks, but always have a backup plan.
- To assist in your marketing strategy, contact your carrier representative. Most have pre-approved marketing materials available to you.
- If you decide to create your own marketing materials, seek prior approval from your insurance carriers compliance department. Unapproved marketing materials could result in hefty penalties and fines.
- Speak less, listen more. Take the time to truly understand your clients needs. Sell a products value, not the price.
- Make sure your clients have access to the information they need, regardless of day and time.
- Evaluate and quantify every sales activity, both successes and failures. Those who treat every situation as a learning experience realize the most significant successes.
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How To Start An Insurance Company In 6 Steps
Starting an insurance company can be incredibly lucrative, but it can also be a challenge to break into the industry. Discover the steps you should take if you want to open your own insurance business.
Are you an ambitious entrepreneur looking for a business venture that can stand the test of time and is recession-proof? If so, look no further than the insurance industry.
Insurance is an essential part of day-to-day life for the majority of Americans, from driving their cars to protecting their homes. This means that insurance companies don’t necessarily need the economy to thrive to achieve profit and success.
Interested in starting an insurance company? While it can be a lucrative market to enter, there are a few steps you need to take first to lay the foundation of a successful insurance company.
Tip #: Know Your Product
You must be knowledgeable of the life insurance products you sell to be effective in a sales presentation. Review all of the policy options thoroughly and be prepared for any questions the client may ask you.
For example, be prepared to explain all the different types of term and permanent life insurance and what the advantages and disadvantages are for each type.
Some talking points include the costs and benefits of term and permanent life insurance policies. For instance, term life insurance is less expensive, while permanent life can be more expensive but it also provides a cash value.
You can also stress the benefits to young couples of purchasing life insurance while they are young and healthy and qualify for cheaper life insurance premiums.
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What Are Some Skills And Experiences That Will Help You Build A Successful Insurance Agency
As an insurance agent, you must have a fine balance of skills. While you spend your day selling policies, its important to genuinely care about your clients. You should possess a thirst for knowledge, as youll need to consistently stay on top of the latest changes and trends. Strong verbal and written skills are critical in building relationships with insurance carriers, underwriters, and customers.
As with everything in life, knowledge is power. The insurance industry is dynamic. While underwriting and claims processes change all the time, the basic principles remain the same. Before opening your own agency, its important to gain real-world experience. Most agents start out as an employee for another agent. This is an opportunity to gain a clear understanding of each element of the business and achieve the licenses needed to successfully run your own agency. The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research has a curriculum to cover every aspect of the business and offers both self-directed and instructor-led classes.
The knowledge you gain will not only help you build a successful agency, its also what ensures youre able to open your doors. To sign a contract with most captive carriers, youre required to have a certain level of experience with their company. As an independent, theres an appointment process. Most carriers wont appoint an agent without several years of experience.
Best Ways To Market Life Insurance
Lets say youve picked a niche in selling life insurance and are ready to proceed.
Before you do, you must put in place a marketing program thats proven to get results.
Many people learning how to sell life insurance do not think about their long-term life insurance lead strategy.
They randomly try different life insurance leads and ultimately never settle on one strategy.
In this section, Ill describe proven life insurance marketing strategies you can implement in the life insurance careers mentioned above.
Lets jump right in!
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Building A Profitable Book Of Business
Over time, you develop a clientele with regular renewals. A book of business refers to these clients and their policies. Every year, your book grows. While you are active, this book forms your income. When you choose to step back, this book forms the value of your company or your legacy for succession planning.
Tip #1: Thoroughly Explain The Options And Premium Costs
In making your sales presentation, be sensitive to how much life insurance your client can afford. Not everyone is in the same financial situation. Donât pressure a prospect to buy a life insurance policy that’s out of their range. You’re not doing your client any favors.
That customer may run into money trouble down the road and won’t look favorably upon you for putting them into a financial bind. Life insurance is available in many different varieties, and there is a policy available to suit every type of family budget and financial situation.
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How To Compare Life Insurance Companies
When youre researching insurers, its important to get the whole picture on what each offers.
Take the time to find the right policy now, ensuring that your family stays fully protected. You cant always switch life insurance while keeping the same coverage and premium.
Two areas to consider:
Riders are add-ons to your life insurance policy that create wider coverage, and different life insurers offer different riders.
For example, a conversion rider on a term life policy lets you convert to a permanent policy without taking another medical exam.
Customer ratings and financial strength
Check out J.D. Power rankings and customer reviews to see how easy it is to work with a company. Too many complaints may mean a headache when managing your policy or worse when your beneficiaries file a claim.
Look into each life insurers financial strength from independent agencies like AM Best to understand how it manages its cash reserves. A company with an A rating or higher can offer loved ones financial peace of mind.
Payments and cost
Check your billing options and how long the application process will take. If you want immediate coverage, you probably should look for a policy that doesnt require a medical exam.
Sign The Documents And Pay For Your Policy
Once the underwriting process is complete, youâll be issued a policy offer. If you agree to its terms, all that is left is for you to sign the policy documents and pay your first premium. Your policy isnât in force until you do so â a policy offer from the insurer doesnât mean you have coverage.
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Does It Matter If My Location Is Near Another Insurance Agency
Commercial locations like malls or business centers may limit the number of agents. Otherwise, common-sense rules. Check a map of your area and see where all the agencies are now. Look for a glaring gap. If there isnt an obvious hole, do what you can to slide between the others. Get as far away as you can and still stay near customers.
Join Cluster Groups Or Remain Solo
Your insurance agency has the option of joining a group of independent insurance service providers or staying solo.
Some of the interesting benefits of joining a cluster group are: access to agency management software, increased negotiation commission rates, and the ability to quote specialty insurance. To join a cluster group near you, you will need to reach their minimum requirements and pay the entry fee.
You can explore the possibilities of both before deciding on which is favourable for your startup insurance agency. However, if the cluster group is trying to cash on your desperation by asking for a part ownership of your business then you need to take a long walk.
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Research & Refine Your Business Idea
If insurance is what you know and you want to set up your own insurance agency, its going to be important that you do it the right way. There are a number of goals that have to be met in order to get started efficiently and legally.
Things like courses, certification, personality and more can play into whether or not youre likely to succeed in starting this kind of a business. So lets take a deeper look into the expectations, what you need, the things youll need to consider and what kind of paperwork to expect.
What Happens During A Typical Day At An Insurance Agency
Whether its assisting clients in making insurance decisions, filling out the paperwork to write a policy, or working to gain appointments with new insurance companies, agents spend much of their day in sales-mode.
Insurance is a very volatile business, so caring for your current book of business is just as important as gaining new clients. Insurance illustrations for prospective clients must be prepared and customer questions and concerns should be addressed, in order to keep both new and existing customers satisfied.
When policies come up for renewal, premiums generally change. If youre an independent agent, youll want to review their policy and determine if a policy with a new company is a viable option. Each independent carrier has their own claims department and way of processing a claim. As their agent, youre there to take down the initial loss information and provide them the details of what will happen next. At that point, most adjusters ask that you exit the process and allow them to handle any questions or concerns.
If youre a captive agent, youll want to review their policy so you can explain any rate changes, should the customer inquire. As a captive agent, youll also often be the first person a client sees or talks to after a loss. Youre there to take the claim and will often be the middle man between the client and the claims department. Your day is, simply put, about building and maintaining relationships with both customers and insurance companies.
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