Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance.
What they do
Insurance sales agents explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.
Insurance sales agents typically do the following:
- Call potential clients in order to expand their own customer base
- Interview prospective clients to get information about their financial resources and discuss existing coverage
- Explain the features of various policies
- Analyze clients’ current insurance policies and suggest additions or other changes
- Customize insurance programs to suit individual clients
- Handle policy renewals
- Maintain electronic and paper records
Insurance sales agents commonly sell one or more types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, and long-term care insurance.
Property and casualty insurance agents sell policies that protect people and businesses from financial loss resulting from automobile accidents, fire, theft, and other events that can damage property. For businesses, property and casualty insurance also covers workers’ compensation claims, product liability claims, or medical malpractice claims.
Life insurance agents specialize in selling policies that pay beneficiaries when a policyholder dies. Life insurance agents also sell annuities that promise a retirement income.
Health and long-term care insurance agents sell policies that cover the costs of medical care and assisted-living services for senior citizens. They also may sell dental insurance and short-term and long-term disability insurance.
Most insurance sales agents work in offices, although some may spend time traveling to meet with clients.
Some sales agents meet with clients during business hours and then spend evenings doing paperwork and preparing presentations to prospective clients. Most agents work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to become an Insurance Sales Agent
Although most employers only require agents to have a high school diploma, many agents have a bachelor’s degree. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.
A high school diploma is the typical requirement for insurance sales agents, although a bachelor’s degree can improve one’s job prospects. Public-speaking classes can be useful in improving sales techniques, and often agents will have taken courses in business, finance, or economics. Business knowledge is also helpful for sales agents hoping to advance to a managerial position.
Insurance sales agents learn many of their job duties on the job from other agents. Many employers have new agents shadow an experienced agent. This practice allows the new agent to learn how to conduct the company’s business and to understand how the agency interacts with clients.
Because changes in tax laws, government benefits programs, and other state and federal regulations can affect clients’ insurance needs and the way in which agents conduct business, employers often expect agents to take continuing professional education courses. Agents can enhance their selling skills and broaden their knowledge of insurance and other financial services by taking courses at colleges and universities or by attending conferences and seminars sponsored by insurance organizations.
Insurance sales agents must have a license in the states where they work. Separate licenses are required for agents to sell life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance. In most states, licenses are issued only to applicants who complete specified courses and who pass state exams covering insurance fundamentals and state insurance laws. Most state licensing authorities also require agents to take continuing education courses focusing on insurance laws, consumer protection, ethics, and the technical details of various insurance policies.
As the demand for financial-planning services increases, many agents also choose to get licensed and certified to sell securities and other financial products. Licensing and certification require substantial study time to pass an additional exam—either the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, both of which are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Series 6 exam is for agents who want to sell only mutual funds and variable annuities. The Series 7 exam is the main FINRA series license, which qualifies agents as general securities sales representatives.
The median annual wage for insurance sales agents was $50,940 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $125,500.
Employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Because the profitability of insurance companies depends on a steady stream of new customers, the demand for insurance sales agents is expected to continue. Employment growth will likely be strongest for independent sales agents as insurance companies rely more on brokerages and less on captive agents as a way to control costs.
Similar Job Titles
Account Executive, Account Manager, Accounts Executive, Insurance Agent, Insurance Broker, Insurance Sales Agent, Sales Agent, Sales Associate, Sales Representative, Underwriting Sales Representative
Agent and Business Manager of Artists/Performers/Athletes, Personal Financial Advisor, Loan Officer, Copy Writer, Sales Agent-Financial Services
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- America's Health Insurance Plans
- American Council of Life Insurers
- American Insurance Association
- Group Underwriters Association of America
- Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America
- International Association of Insurance Professionals
- Million Dollar Round Table
- National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
- National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
Magazines and Publications
Insurance Business America Magazine
National Underwriter Property and Casuality
Whether for your car, your house, or your life… protecting assets in case of accidents or other harm is the purpose of insurance… and insurance sales agents help people get the right insurance for their needs. Insurance sales agents sell different types of insurance coverage. For people and businesses, they sell policies that cover financial loss due to accidents, fire, theft, and other events. Life insurance is sold to be paid to beneficiaries when the covered person dies; health and long-term care insurance cover medical care costs. Agents hold meetings with current and prospective clients to discuss finances, analyze clients’ circumstances, and explain different options. They make calls and advertise to attract new clients, and maintain detailed electronic and paper records. Earnings for insurance sales agents are often structured differently than many jobs: most independent agents sell policies from a variety of companies, and are paid based on what they sell. Those employed by agencies or insurance carriers are paid a salary, and may earn a bonus for meeting sales goals. Insurance sales agents usually work full time, and often schedule evening and weekend appointments. A high school diploma is typically required for insurance sales agents, although a bachelor’s degree can improve job prospects. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH httpss://www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop httpss://www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online httpss://www.onetonline.org