How to Become an Insurance Agent

By
Anne Kinsey
- January 09, 2018

Build Relationships as You Build Your Income

How to Become an Insurance Agent
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If you are a people person and love helping others plan and solve problems, a career as an insurance agent could be an enjoyable way to provide for your family. You will spend your days building relationships with people and helping them make wise decisions about life, health, automotive, liability, homeowners, renters or other types of insurance. Insurance agents generally enjoy a flexible work schedule, making it ideal for parents who want to volunteer at school or care for a child.

Job Description

Insurance agents depend on a large customer base to make their income, so a good amount of time is spent connecting with potential clients in person, online or by phone. They build relationships to get to know their clients' needs and resources and to be able to partner in their plans for the future. Clients look to agents to explain insurance policies, coverage types and to recommend changes to coverage based on their expertise. They handle renewals, keep up with paperwork and maintain detailed files for every client. Work hours are generally flexible, centered around client needs, which means you can often schedule your work around your family.

Education Requirements

Insurance agents must have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, though many also pursue a bachelor's degree or coursework in business, finance and economics. Agents who wish to receive promotion to managerial positions often seek master's-level work in business or management. Insurance agents must acquire state licenses for every type of insurance they want to sell, which normally requires attending specific classes and taking an exam. Depending on circumstances and laws, an agent may also have to pass Series 6 and Series 7 exams. They can earn additional specialty certifications through The Institutes or The American College of Financial Services. New agents learn on-the-job skills by shadowing experienced insurance agents to learn how they acquire clients, how to interact with their clients, and how to maintain files and conduct business.

The median salary for insurance agents is $49,990, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $128,070, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $27,430. Agents in health and medical insurance earn the highest median salary, at $58,920 per year.

Industry

Roughly 54 percent of insurance agents work at insurance agencies and brokerages, while another 24 percent are self-employed. Most insurance agents are based in offices, though they spend a good deal of time traveling to meet with clients. Positions are often full-time and offer good benefits, as well as the flexibility to meet with clients both during the day and in the evening.

Years of Experience

Years of experience and a growing client base mean salary increases for insurance agents. One projection suggests income growth that looks like this:

  • Entry-Level: 

    $22,453‒$52,749
    * Mid-Career: 

    $25,342‒$64,550
    * Experienced: 

    $27,683‒$70,972
    * Late Career:

    $29,533‒$108,058

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for insurance agents are expected to increase by 10 percent over the next decade, which is faster than in other industries, with the fastest growth predicted for independent agents. Growth is due in part to an aging population with more need for insurance. Strong social skills, an excellent understanding of business, and familiarity with insurance terms make you more likely to succeed and meet income goals in the industry.

About the Author

Anne Kinsey is a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and missionary, residing in rural North Carolina. She is the founding executive director of Love Powered Life, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating loving community for trafficking survivors and their families. Anne has enjoyed writing for publications like Our Everyday Life, Bizfluent, Career Trend, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle. She resides in rural North Carolina with her husband, three children and a house full of furry friends.