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Why Becoming an Insurance Agent Is a Great Career Choice

Fran Majidi
May 21, 2019
becoming an insurance agent

While the chances of becoming a millionaire are slim for most insurance agents, the average insurance agent makes almost twice the national average salary. An income of $90,000 or more per year is not uncommon in insurance sales. Here's everything you need to know about becoming an insurance agent and why it's a great career choice.

Education and Experience for Insurance Sales

Becoming an insurance agent also doesn't require very much experience and, although a college education is advised, it’s not a requirement for most insurance agencies and insurance companies. As long as you have a high school diploma and pass the pre licensing exam, you can be well on your way in starting a career as an insurance agent!

You can take online courses or in-class courses to prepare for the licensing exam. It will only cost you a couple of hundred dollars!

Captive Agents and Independent Agents

You'll get training from the insurance company if you decide to become a captive agent. This training will help you learn all about making sales, how to market yourself and how to keep clients long term. You can also join networking groups to see how an independent agent can succeed. You have more freedom as an independent agent but less direct support from the insurance company than a captive agent. Decide which type of business better suits you.

What Personality Suits Insurance Sales?

The candidate who succeeds as an insurance professional offers superb customer service and loves to meet new people as often as possible. You must begin marketing yourself as soon as you get your insurance license, whether you own an agency or are working for an agency owner. Your success will depend on how well you sell services and products to potential clients and how easily you get over rejections.

The sales agents who excel in their career want to serve their customers and protect them from life's mishaps in a long term relationship. Whether you're selling casualty insurance or health insurance, becoming an insurance agent comes with a heavy responsibility so it's important to know your products inside and out. Insurance agencies like to hire agents with the ability to not only meet insurance sales quotas but also to retain existing clients. If you don't have a client's back, you may lose their business!

Perks of Being an Insurance Agent

Aside from an unlimited income potential, there are plenty of other good reasons to consider a profession in the insurance industry. For instance, you’ll never get bored because there’s always something new to be learned and a new network to tap into. The industry also has trends, Cyber Insurance being the most recent one to see spikes.

Unlike other types of sales, insurance sales is a little more dignified because it’s not a tangible product you’re selling; you are selling security. As people grow older and buy a house to raise a family in, making sure their future remains secure becomes a number-one priority. Whether they secure this future with life insurance, health insurance or even home insurance and car insurance, they all need guidance from an insurance agent in choosing how to protect their future and the future of their loved ones.

Being an insurance agent can be a wonderful way of helping people and spending your days getting to know the people in your neighborhood and beyond. We’ve listed some of the best reasons to become an insurance agent below.

Helping People Protect Their Assets

Insurance products do one thing only: they protect people from unforeseen disasters in several areas in one’s life. If used properly insurance can help individuals and families by mitigating risk and preventing financial disaster. For instance, having car insurance prior to getting into a car accident may not heavily impact someone’s life, whereas having no insurance would result in disastrous consequences which include a financial setback.

Most captive agents and independent agents sell insurance products to their family members and friends once they learn how it can really benefit them. There are instances in which the death of a loved one, or their disability can really put an enormous financial strain on a family. Life insurance agents help arrange financial structures that would alleviate survivors of the financial burden they’d otherwise inherit.

Consider how life insurance payments would help in making mortgage payments if the breadwinner passes away. Consider that having auto insurance will pay for an accident that was your client’s fault, saving them tens of thousands of dollars. When you really care about people, selling life insurance becomes easy. The same goes for home and auto insurance.

Your community will take notice when you do right by clients, and you will begin to sign business based on referrals from happy clients you’ve protected. You’ll be building relationships every step of the way as an insurance agent. When it comes time to branch out and start selling insurance outside of your local 5-mile radius, you can buy leads to help you expand beyond your warm market.

Insurance Agents Are in Control of Their Careers

This is true for independent insurance agents more so than carrier ones. An independent insurance agent works with several carriers by getting assignments independently. Captive agents work exclusively with one carrier and have less control over the rules they set for themselves. One of the pros of being a captive insurance agent, however, is a steady paycheck and free leads and oftentimes, an existing book of business. With that come quotas, so be prepared to work hard selling property and casualty products and even life insurance.

If you’re wondering how to become an independent insurance agent, it’s a little more challenging to get assignments from carriers. We show you how to do this if you’re just starting out in an article you can find here. We also delve a little deeper into how to become an Insurance agent, and particularly how to become an independent insurance agent, as well as the pros and cons of being a captive versus independent agent.

In general your success depends on your insurance sales and yours alone. You won’t be making lots of money unless you’re putting in the hard work and learning from trial and error what works and what doesn’t. Unlike most other careers, there is no ceiling to how much money insurance agents can make, so it all depends on how hard you’re willing to work. How great is it to know that the more you push the more you can earn? Not all insurance agents have a merit-based salary structures so do your research before choosing an insurance company.

Insurance Never Goes Out of Fashion

Sure, there’s nothing sexy about insurance but there is something soothing about knowing you won’t be out of a job tomorrow because no one is buying insurance. It just won’t happen. In fact, the more licenses insurance agents hold, the better off they are financially.

A captive agent usually needs to have a property and casualty license and a life insurance license. As an independent agent, you can choose which lines you want to sell. Becoming an independent insurance agent is a little more challenging, however, because of the assignments you have to earn from insurance companies, but if you have the will to do it, you can succeed. We show you how right here.

You’re Good in Bad Situations

If you know how to problem solve, you'll do well in the insurance industry. Think about how needed you will be as an agent. It’s a wonderful feeling to protect people but in doing so you may also be the person they turn to in the event of critical illness or disability. They may need you to keep them calm after they’ve had an accident or after someone near and dear has died. If you’re good with handling highly emotional people, you’ll make an amazing insurance agent. If human emotions make you nervous, this may not be the right job for you. It’s not all about numbers like you may have at first thought. It helps to genuinely care about people.

You’ll Have Flexible Work Hours in Your New Career

Many insurance agents are hard workers but hate clocking in and out at the same time every day. We're not saying that you won't have to work hard at insurance sales or that you won't work many hours, but you get to set your schedule and tend to tasks accordingly.

Once you become an insurance agent, you can juggle your time however you see fit, but if you get lazy, you’re the only one to blame when business takes a nose-dive. Also note that if you're a captive agent required to sell a certain number of life insurance policies per quarter, you may have to put in the extra hours and effort to sell these types of insurance policies. Some agents work weekends too, but it's really up to you to decide when and where you do your job.

Good Customer Service Skills Always Win

Just as selling insurance never goes out of style neither does good customer service. There’s nothing people hate more than being treated poorly when they have to buy insurance or have questions to ask about their current policy. If you’re good at giving guidance and clearing the cobwebs for your clients by simplifying the daunting insurance jargon, you’ll be a winner in your profession. There’s nothing like personal service to maintain client loyalty. Yes, people even pay more to be treated with respect and courtesy.

There Is a Demand for Insurance Agents

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2012 and 2022, the demand for insurance agents will go up 10%. Insurance agents who sell health, life insurance and long-term insurance will be sought after the most. In the next 10 years, about 40,000 jobs will become available in the insurance industry.

Becoming an insurance agent can be exciting, especially if you find the right insurance company or companies to represent.

Buying Leads to Grow Your Business

After the licensing exam and tapping out your friends and neighbors, you'll need to focus on marketing your agency in order to broaden your network of prospects. A marketing budget can be used for many things, but insurance leads top the list, even if you buy a successful book of business.

Insurance leads will be offered through your insurance company and you'll also be able to choose your own vendors. Some insurance companies offer their sales agents cost-share programs so you don't have to shoulder the entire cost of growing your clientele. It's always a good idea to buy from a reputable insurance lead vendor that is rated well by the BBB and has good reviews from other insurance agents.