Insurance sales agent essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $48,150
- 2012, number of jobs: 336,740
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 22 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Insurance sales agents; what they do:
Purchasing insurance can quickly become confusing with so many companies and packages to choose from; insurance sales agents works with people to help them navigate the world of insurance policies and find the most appropriate forms of insurance for each individual, family or business.
Insurance sale agents may specialize in one specific type of insurance or sell a variety of insurance types, such as property, casualty, life, and health and long-term care.
Insurance sales representatives engage in multiple steps of the process, from cold calling potential new customers, to interviewing prospective clients, to working with and following up on already established customers. Insurance sales agents must know their product inside out, as they must clearly explain it to potential customers, knowledgably answer any questions, and make helpful suggestions as to which policy to select or any policy changes a customer should make. An Insurance sales agent career includes helping customers with the claim process.
Captive agents work for one specific insurance company. Independent insurance agents work for insurance brokerages, selling policies from more than one company.
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Insurance sales agents job titles:
- Independent Insurance Sales Agent
- Business Insurance Agent
- Insurance Sales Representative
- Sales Agent
- Insurance Broker
- Account Executive
- Sales Representative
- Underwriting Sales Representative
- Account Manager
Insurance Sales Agents Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in an insurance sales agent career typically need at least a high school diploma, although a growing number of agents now have a Bachelor of Business, Economics, Finance, or a related degree. Upon hire, insurance sales agents typically shadow an experienced insurance sales agent to receive on-the-job training.
Insurance sales agent programs cover subjects such as:
- Public speaking
- Insurance laws
- Consumer protection
- Technical details of various insurance policies
Insurance sales agents need to have a license in every state they work. Agents selling life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance must obtain separate licenses. Most state licenses require the insurance sales agent to take continuing education courses every two years.
Insurance sales agents may obtain voluntary certifications demonstrating expertise in specific areas.
Some insurance sales agents opt to become certified to sell additional financial planning services in order to meet consumer demand. Insurance sales agents can obtain these additional certifications through the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) which includes the Series 6 exam (for selling only mutual funds and variable annuities), and the Series 7 exam, which qualifies the individual as a general securities sales representative.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
Insurance sales representatives may advance in their career to a managerial position after obtaining experience and perhaps additional education.
Insurance Sales Agent Job Outlook
Forecast: 22 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for insurance sales agents, faster than the average for all occupations.
The health of the economy greatly influences the growth of the insurance industry; when the economy is doing well, more people purchase insurance, increasing the demand for insurance sales agents. The BLS expects federal health regulations to increase the number of individuals seeking insurance, thus increasing the demand for insurance sales representatives.
Independent sales agents, specifically agents selling health and long-term care insurance, are expected to have the strongest employment growth because insurance companies rely more on brokerages than on captive agents.
Insurance Sales Agents Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $48,150
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $73,010
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $34,230
Insurance Sales Agents Major Employers
- Insurance brokerages
- Insurance carriers