Insurance agent jobs are becoming popular with an increasing number of people looking towards it as a career option. These professionals can work for agencies, brokerage firms, insurance companies, or independently. An understanding of job description is necessary for aspirants, before taking the plunge into such careers.
They provide help to individuals and companies to choose a policy suitable to their needs. Insurance can be grouped into categories such as life, medical, property insurance, etc. These agents are not only involved in selling policies but also prepare reports, maintain records, and seek new clients along with other works. Their main role is to help beneficiaries make claims when the policy matures or the insured person passes away. They work as agents, selling products of an insurance company, or sell different policies for different companies. They can specialize in particular fields such as life, property liability, health/disability, and other such policies. They also sell related financial and other products.
Insurance companies hire people with college degrees, but high school graduates who have a proven sales track record are also considered. Those candidates who are multilingual, with a strong knowledge of related subjects are mostly preferred. Agents have to clear an exam conducted by licensing authorities of different states, who provide licenses to them before they can start their work. They have to obtain separate licenses to sell different types of insurance. The agents require a separate license from the state authority to sell financial products such as mutual funds, securities, etc. These companies also provide the opportunity of higher education, so that they can advance their career along with the evolving industry.
Finding a Job in this Industry
The simplest way is to consult experienced insurance brokers and agents who are already in the business. Different choices that need to be made will be easier for a freshman, if they get advice from the experienced ones. Licensing authorities can also provide information for specialization as they are the ones who conduct tests for license purpose. Prospective agents can apply to related companies, agencies, or brokerage firms that deal in specialized subjects.
Opportunities for Career Advancement
Special courses are provided to new and experienced agents to improve their skills and grow in their jobs. They advance to their next level of employment after clearing exams, which are conducted by the state licensing authorities. These professionals can rise to the position of underwriters and grow to become managers, agency heads, or start their own agencies.
These depend on the type of insurance that the agent deals in. There are different approaches for different types of policies. Agents dealing in life insurance can make a sale-oriented approach. Clients for property and health insurance need lesser convincing than other clients. These professionals mostly work outside their offices, at places convenient for their clients. Sometimes, they have to work on weekends, and their work time can extend beyond forty hours per week. Those who work part-time earn on the basis of their commission, and they can put in extra hours to earn a higher pay.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a median earning of USD 43,870 yearly in 2006 was observed in the US. Their salaries usually depend on their capabilities and selling skills. Independent agents earn commission according to the number of policies sold. Those who work for agencies and insurance companies earn a salary, with or without commissions and bonus. Those who work for firms or such companies receive benefits that are extended to employees in similar professions. The special benefits usually include support for continuing education, training for licensing, office space, or clerical support.
Thus, all in all, this career option can prove to be rewarding in the long run. However, prospective candidates should start finding information related to it and decide whether it is suitable for them.