How to Become an Insurance Agent

Insurance Agent

An insurance agent works within insurance companies or on a freelance basis to sell their policies. They market different types of insurance to prospective customers and create a base of clients for future sales.

An insurance agent works as an intermediary between potential clients and insurance companies. They advise clients on insurance policies and find the most suitable type of insurance for them.

Insurance agents are similar to insurance brokers, although there is one crucial difference. Insurance brokers represent their client, while insurance agents represent the insurance companies. Therefore, insurance agents work with just one or a few companies, whereas insurance brokers are affiliated with multiple.

The duties of an insurance agent will include: 

  • Obtaining information from clients and considering their insurance needs. 
  • Looking at the policies of different insurance companies and finding the best insurance for individual clients. 
  • Maintaining a friendly rapport with clients, and telling them if and when they need to make a claim.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies to create a special type of insurance for particular cases.
  • Speaking to clients about risk management and working out methods to mitigate risks with them. This might include, for example, parking a car on a driveway instead of on a street, which can reduce car insurance costs. 
  • Keeping up to date with the insurance market, including any changes that may affect insurance policies. An insurance agent will be expected to be able to quickly answer any of their client’s queries about anything in the field. 

The most common steps to becoming an insurance agent are acquiring vocational experience in sales and a relevant degree. Business, economics, or finance are all suitable, but marketing and psychology will also help with the customer service side of the job. While tertiary education in the topic isn’t essential, a strong knowledge of sales and marketing, specifically digital marketing, is crucial.

Candidates should have strong customer service and sales skills, as this is a very customer-orientated role. They should also have an entrepreneurial spirit and be good learners and leaders. Working well as part of a team is important, but so is being independent and having the confidence to work alone when necessary. 

While a background in insurance is undoubtedly beneficial, it is not essential, as many insurance companies will offer in-house training. Depending on where the insurance agent is based, they may need to partake in a licensing class and pass a licensing exam. 

The hours can be long, as insurance agents will be expected to be on call when their clients need them, including in emergency settings. The work can also be frustrating – especially at first when the insurance agent is trying to locate customers and persuade them to use their services. 

However, insurance agents who can accept criticism and setbacks and be persistent in their search for new business can thrive in this work setting. Many insurance agents enjoy the perks of being their own boss and the possibility of uncapped earnings.

Some insurance agents receive a small salary, but it is mostly a commission-based role. The longer someone has been in this profession, the bigger a database of clients they will have, and generally, the more that they earn. Some insurance agents earn very well, but it takes a while to reach this level.

What degree is most commonly held by an Insurance Agent ?

  • High School Diploma
  • General Equivalency Diploma (GED)

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: Low
Being an insurance agent is a customer-focused role, so candidates may struggle with customer service in other countries as they will need to really know the local culture. Plus, candidates must have a keen understanding of local insurance regulations, which may be difficult if they are working in another country.

What is the Salary of an Insurance Agent ?

Experience Average salary | year
Insurance Agent 1-3 yrs $32,000 £30,000 $31,874
Insurance Agent (Senior) 3-5 yrs $45,000 £32,500 $69,920
Insurance Agent (Director) 5-10 yrs $68,000 £34,500 $75,000

What skills are needed to become an Insurance Agent ?

  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Insurance
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Commercial Insurance
  • Microsoft Office
  • General Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Marketing
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Account Management
  • Team Building
  • Strategic Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Microsoft Word
  • Property & Casualty Insurance
  • Business Development
  • Public Speaking
  • Sales Management
  • Negotiation
  • Liability
  • Time Management
  • New Business Development
  • Training

Insurance Agent Courses

Insurance agents should have many skills; sales, marketing, and finance are but a few. Prospective professionals in this field can hone in their skills by taking some relevant courses. We have plenty on offer at FutureLearn.

  • Finance Fundamentals: Financial Planning and Budgeting

    With household budgets feeling the pinch this course shows how to bring order to your finances and make good financial decisions

  • Introducing Personal Lines Insurance

    Explain the importance of personal lines insurance how it works and the market in which it is sold

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