The insurance covers a wide range of losses and damage, such as fires, vehicle wrecks, business interruptions from cyber attacks, and death.
Insurance agents offer services and products to people and companies to manage the risks of events that can cause losses and damage.
In the article below, you will find information about the knowledge and skills required for an insurance agent job as well as responsibilities, and other details.
Article Table of Contents
What Does an Insurance Agent Do
Selling insurance is only one side of the insurance agent’s job.
They inform clients of coverage they need and find the insurers that provide such services.
Insurance agents need advanced customer service and relations-building skills to succeed in the position.
- Provide premium quotes and options on insurance products.
- Assess the current coverage of the client as well as their needs to recommend the right product.
- Perform cold calls to attract new clients to the agency.
- Find insurance companies to provide the coverage that the client requested.
- Provide applications to insurance companies and underwriters to process applications.
- Deliver insurance binders, certificates, and policies to clients and other parties requiring this information, including lenders, government agencies, and owners of construction sites.
- Receive claims on policies and premium payments.
- Create and execute local and regional advertising, and other marketing forms to advertise the insurer and its products.
- Offer financial products, annuities, and bonds for certain individuals, such as fiduciaries and contractors.
Agents should analyze the needs of the client and potential risks to recommend the right products.
They should gather information about the client’s activities, business size, property values, and life expectancy.
For some type of insurance, such as automobile, they also need to analyze daily travel routes and driving records.
Agents need to provide relevant, accurate, and prompt information to clients.
They should also listen effectively and make informative blog posts or newspaper columns on insurance products and issues.
They should also make cold calls, so they have to speak confidently and persuasively.
Agents cooperate with insurers, clients, and underwriters to find policies.
They should be able to provide prompt and courteous customer service, as well as maintain credibility to stay in business.
Insurance agents need to present the product and brands of insurance companies in the best light.
How to Become an Insurance Agent
The education, training, and licensure required for an insurance agent are determined by the types of services they provide.
Aspiring insurance agents need a fundamental knowledge of the insurance field as well as financial concepts.
Those dealing with specialized products and financial services need specific expertise and licensure apart from the standard ones to sell insurance.
Training and Qualifications
The minimal educational requirements for an insurance agent include a high school diploma.
According to O*NET, one out of three insurance agents have a high school diploma, but no higher education.
About 46% of them have a bachelor’s degree.
The courses that insurance agents should take cover finance, economics, and business.
Insurance agents also need a license issued by the state where they work.
For selling various types of insurance, such as life, property-casualty, health, etc., agents need separate licenses.
In many states, only agents with a special license can place insurance with surplus lines insurance companies.
These are the types of companies that don’t have the right to offer insurance in particular states if they don’t have brokers.
To obtain a license, you need to be knowledgeable about the insurance laws and regulations, as well as the fundamentals of the insurance industry.
Candidates may also be required to meet certain moral and character standards and pass the criminal background checks by the licensing board.
Some agents can engage in financial planning and investment products.
If they wish to offer bonds, stocks, interest in an investment or mutual funds, or other financial products, they need to be certified by the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA).
To obtain this certification, you need to pass the Series 6 exams to be able to offer variable annuities and mutual funds.
Insurance agents usually receive on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed agent.
Most often, you can find these opportunities in multi-agent insurance businesses.
Insurance agents can gain experience at an insurance office.
At the start, they can work as office managers, receptionists, or administrative assistants to learn how an insurance office operates, as well as about its forms, claims procedures, billing practices, etc.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, one of seven insurance agents were self-employed.
Even if you are self-employed, the experience is what will help you build trust with clients.
Independent agents can start their practice by offering smaller-scale insurance products for residences or individuals.
While having experience and providing competent customer services, agents can build a good reputation in a community or region where they offer insurance products.
Insurance agents usually work full-time, sometimes over 40 hours a week.
Approximately 1/5 of agents reported that they worked beyond the regular 40 hours.
Most agents, especially independent ones, can set their own schedule.
Some agents work in the evenings or weekends to meet with clients and accommodate their schedules.
In some communities, insurance agents arrive at clients’ homes to have a meeting with them.
The typical working day of an insurance agent usually involves client appointments, paperwork, such as required forms or applications, and calling potential or existing clients.
In the evenings, they may spend some time preparing for sales-oriented meetings.
At that time, the office is typically closed for phone calls or in-person appearances by clients.
The employment of the insurance agents across the United States should increase by 509,500 positions by 2024.
This translates to a 9% increase compared to the 466,100 positions that were occupied in 2014.
The median salary of an insurance agent is $37,073 per year.
There are multiple opportunities provided by independent agencies.
Insurance companies hire fewer in-house agents to reduce costs.
The strong prospects exist for agents handling health and long-term care.
The demand for insurance agents should remain stable because of the laws that require citizens to have health insurance.
Even if those laws weren’t active, the need for healthcare and insurance would remain high with the increasing elderly population.
Younger people are expected to obtain long-term care insurance due to the rising costs of nursing homes.
Agents will also keep the high demand because of the motorists who are required to carry liability insurance by law.
Technology may slow down employment growth a bit.
Insurers now allow customers to pay premiums, fire loss claims, and obtain quotes and policies online.
Since customers now can conduct their insurance affairs instantly with mobile devices, some of the traditional tasks of insurance agents may disappear.
They will have to learn about emerging risks for businesses.
Insurers can deliver services and messages directly to customers thanks to online and mobile technology.
With personalized knowledge and assistance, insurance agents can find growth opportunities for their businesses in this environment.