What does an insurance agent do?
Insurance agents help people, families, and businesses choose insurance policies that meet their needs and provide the best possible protection. They sell one or many types of insurance including health, life, property and casualty, long-term care, and disability. These insurance policies protect people from financial loss resulting from accidents, injury, illness, disasters, property damage, loss of life, and other detrimental events.
Insurance agents also look for new clients, maintain records, and prepare reports. When a client who has a policy experiences some type of loss, insurance agents help settle the insurance claim and provide as much assistance as possible. They gather the information regarding the loss and ask the client the necessary questions.
What kind of training does an insurance agent need?
Many companies and independent agencies prefer insurance agents who have a college degree. A high school diploma may be sufficient if the applicant has proven sales ability and experience in sales or other customer service field. Most employers provide on the job training and pair new employees with experienced sales agents. Many employers are starting to focus on continuing education for sales agents to keep up to date on the current issues in the field.
All insurance agents must be licensed in their state. Licensing requirements vary by state but usually require insurance coursework and receiving passing scores on many exams. There are separated licenses for different types of insurance such as health and life insurance.
What are the prospects for a career as an insurance agent?
Employment of insurance agents is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Growth will stem from the growing and aging population requiring additional types of insurance.
Job prospects are expected to be good, especially for insurance agents who have a college education and expertise in a wide variety of insurance and financial services. Many job opportunities will arise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the profession.
How much do insurance agents make?
As of July 2009, the middle 50% of the insurance agents earned annual salaries between $39,388 and $48,650, with the highest 10% earning annual salaries of more than $53,678 (2).
A career as an insurance agent is an excellent choice for individuals who have enjoy sales and have excellent sales ability and be able to inspire confidence in customers. Insurance agents should have great interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, flexibility, and confidence. Being self disciplined, having good time management, and having the willingness to solve problems are also useful skills.