How to Become an Insurance Agent
An insurance agent finds the best insurance product for their client, based on their needs. They work one on one with a client, to learn about their financial situation and lifestyle, and then look at options for property, health, car, and life insurance and find them the best products at the best rates.
If you have an interest in finance, are good at math, and enjoy working with people then you may be well suited to a career as an insurance agent. To succeed as an insurance agent, you'll need excellent interpersonal skills also. Much of your time is going to be spent attracting new clients and convincing them that a product is the right thing for them.
Education Requirements to Become an Insurance Agent
While you're still in high school, taking courses in math, business, and English will all be helpful. Concentrate on getting good grades so you can be accepted into the college of your choice. It's also a good idea to learn about the different types of insurances that people and businesses apply for.
While you will need a bachelors degree to become an insurance agent, there is no set courses you need to take. As long as you have a major in business administration or finance, then this will be fine later on. Taking elective subjects in English can be helpful as you will need finely tuned communication skills.
Try and get a part time job working for an insurer. Many companies look to employ college students in their customer service departments. Some companies will also run programs where college students can work part time and learn on the job before they graduate. Internships are also a good idea at this stage.
In almost every state you are required to have a license to be an insurance agent. Depending on where you live, you may need to sit a state set exam in order to be granted your license. You can find more information at the Professional Insurance Association website.
Insurance Agent Job Description
An insurance agent works to meet the insurance needs of their clients. This could include property, liability, vehicle, health, or life insurance. An insurance agent may specialize in one, or all of these areas. Some will be employed by an insurer to attract clients and sell them products. Others are independent, and will work with a range of providers, and negotiate the best rate for their client. Here are some of the tasks of an insurance agent:
- Meeting with clients and discussing their needs
- Educating clients about insurance and products
- Keeping in contact with insurance providers
- Having an up to date knowledge of current insurance products
- Having an up to date knowledge of insurance law
Insurance Agent Salary and Career Path
Most people in the insurance industry start with an entry level job for a large company. This may be in customer service, or over the phone sales. With a bit of experience, they may be promoted to insurance agent. An insurance agent may be employed by a firm or brokerage, or by an insurance provider. They may also work for themselves as an independent broker.
Most states require insurance agents to take part in continuing education. Every two years, a minimum amount of training must be completed. Many insurance agents move into similar areas such as estate planning or financial planning. Further certification is required to move into these areas.
Growth in this field is expect to be average in the coming years, comparable to that of other industries. While getting a job as an insurance agent required you to have a few years of work experience behind you, getting a related job in the same industry is not too difficult once you have the right college qualifications.
The median wage when you first become an insurance agent is around $45,000 a year. Those on entry levels salaries earn closer to $35,000 a year. The top 10% earn over $110,000. Insurance agents can be paid in a range of ways. Some will earn a salary, some a salary plus bonus, while others will earn commission only. While not secure, commission roles offer the opportunity to earn an uncapped income.
There are good salaries available for those that can be good salespeople. For those with outgoing personalities and a good head for finance and numbers, a career as an insurance agent can be a rewarding one.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics