Being an insurance sales professional is just one of many paths to consider if you’re looking to establish a career in sales. An insurance sales career can pay well while offering a measure of security for candidates who’ve worked toward having the right qualifications, background, and temperament for the job.
If you’re browsing insurance jobs and wondering how to become an insurance agent, there are specific steps you can take to boost your hireability. Many employers that hire for insurance sales jobs look for a set number of qualifications that often (but not always) include education, experience, and, for candidates just starting out, trainability.
Here are a few factors to consider if you’re starting an insurance sales career.
How to Become an Insurance Sales Agent
A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement in most cases, though many employers give preference to candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, especially in fields like business or finance.
Generally, you’ll also need to be licensed to sell insurance in the state where you work, based on your chosen specialty or “line of authority.” Enrolling in pre-licensing courses while you complete your education can help you get your foot in the door. For more information, check with organizations like the National Insurance Producer Registry, a national not-for-profit insurance licensing clearinghouse.
As somebody exploring an insurance sales career, you’ll need to present well, both in person and over the phone. That means being well-spoken, courteous, a good listener, and responsive in conversations. It helps to know what to expect in a job interview. Remember: you’re selling yourself first and foremost.
Employers will also try to suss out your knowledge of the industry. Be upfront if you’re just beginning on your insurance sales career path. If you have experience as an insurance sales agent, be prepared to talk about your background, your past sales successes, and salary expectations, including asking (preferably not too early in the interview process) what the employer’s top agents earn.
Insurance Sales Agent Salary
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for insurance sales agents was $50,000 in 2018. There was a wide range between the salaries of lower-level agents and top earners: less than $27,500 a year for the bottom 10%, and more than $125,000 for top-tier professionals.
Motivated independent insurance sales agents who are paid by commission only may be more likely to be among the highest paid. Agents who are sales workers only may be paid a salary, or they can earn a salary plus commission, a salary plus bonus, or some combination of the two. An individual agent’s drive, initiative, and analytical skills also factor in to annual earnings.
Types of Insurance Sales Jobs
Your targeted specialty area and insurance licensure can guide you as you explore how to become an insurance agent and the types of insurance sales jobs. Many insurance jobs fall under these general categories:
Life insurance sales agents sell life insurance policies and annuities that pay beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. The pay is often on a straight commission, often at a high rate compared to other insurance sales jobs, in part because life insurance can be difficult to sell and prospective customers can be harder to find.
Property and Casualty Insurance
The role of property insurance agents involves helping customers protect property, including homes, vehicles, jewelry and other valuables. Casualty insurance specialists offer clients liability coverage against financial losses related to accidents involving their property, and includes auto, homeowner’s, and renter’s insurance. Property and casualty are usually combined into one general area of expertise.
Health and Long-Term Care Insurance
A health insurance sales agent works on behalf of health insurance companies, selling health-related products and services to consumers. By contrast, a health insurance broker works on behalf of consumers, assisting them in finding and enrolling in qualified healthcare plans. This category can also include agents who help clients find long-term disability insurance and coverage for assisted living care.
Categories of Insurance Agencies
Knowing what kind of employer you’ll be working for is essential for one’s insurance sales career. Insurance companies fit into one of these two categories:
If you work for an independent insurance agency, you will likely be selling policies from a variety of different insurance companies. Often referred to as brokers, independent insurance agents work primarily on behalf of consumers, matching the best policies and products to clients.
Direct Writer/Captive Agent
An insurance sales agent who’s a direct writer (also called a captive agent) usually works for a single major insurance company (Allstate, Farmers Insurance, State Farm Insurance, and The Hartford, to name a few). A direct writer sells policies and products on their employer’s behalf.
If you are motivated, persistent, and able to communicate clearly, an insurance sales career path may be right for you. And luckily, we can help! Use FlexJobs to find a flexible or remote insurance sales job that let’s you work full-time or on a part-time schedule.
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