What do they do and how much do they get paid?
While being an insurance agent may not be the most glamorous job around, it’s certainly one that is needed in today’s insurance-driven market. This is because the insurance agent is a liaison between the company they work for and the people that they insure. As such, it’s important that the agent has a strong understanding of the business principals behind the insurance industry, as well as some basic knowledge of the legal issues that surround the different types of insurance that are available for purchase.
Education and Training
Many times, the only specific training that potential insurance agents are required to undergo is a pre-certification course, typically offered by the state. Once you’ve passed the course, you’ll be eligible to receive your license, although you’ll still be required to attend yearly continuing education classes to keep it renewed. Outside of this training, there’s also a variety of different school and programs options to help you become more acquainted with this field.
Recently, many insurance agencies have begun recruiting applicants with college degrees. While this isn’t required, an applicant with a degree in business will be able to command higher salaries and better jobs than those with high school diplomas.
Even if you don’t have a full college degree, taking a few of these courses will help you be better prepared for the field you’re about to enter. Dealing with statistical analysis and contract terms can be daunting if you’ve never before dealt with these financial matters. That’s why many employers consider a solid business foundation to be important, even if a candidate doesn’t have a full bachelor’s degree. If you’re limited in when you can take courses, see if your local university or community college offers online courses that allow you to study business principles on your own time.
Another aspect of the job that you’ll need to be skilled in is customer relations and good salesmanship. While you’re still technically working to help your employer make money, you’re also working to provide peace of mind to the people who contact you regarding their insurance policies. You’ll need to be able to deal with this public interaction on a daily basis – whether it’s in writing up a policy for a new customer or handling claims from established clients. If your communication skills aren’t that great, you may want to consider taking a class on presentation methods and public speaking.
If you’re really interested in pursuing a career as an insurance agent, you can also choose from an array of optional courses offered by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. These classes are strictly voluntary, but they do help potential employers to see that you’re serious about working in the field. It also demonstrates to prospective clients that you’re learning as much as possible in your specific field in order to better address their needs and concerns. You may even find that these additional classes allow you to command a higher salary or move up within your current company.
If you’re considering working as an insurance agent, there are a few important facts you should be aware of regarding the industry’s job market and how it will ultimately affect you. First of all, because the United States is a very insurance-dependant society, there’s little threat of the job market suffering any significant decline in the near future. In fact, over the next ten years, it’s projected that career opportunities in this field will expand by 13%. If you’re thinking about going into field, it should still be a growing and expanding option if you choose to take some classes before pursuing a career as an insurance agent.
Typical Insurance Agent Salaries
It’s important to note that trying to estimate an independent insurance agent’s prospective salary is very difficult, since most agents work on a strict commission-only basis. Therefore, the amount of money you’ll make is directly proportional to the sales you make in a year year. However, if you’re considering whether or not to become an insurance agent and are simply looking for some generalized median averages of what people in the field are making, consider the following figures to help give you an idea of what you can potentially earn in this line of work.
In 2016, the average earning of insurance agents was around $45,000/year. However, many of the people whose salaries went into this figure made anywhere from $30,000/year to $70,000/year. This may seem like a pretty big variance between the high- and low-level earners, but much of that is due to the problems associated with trying to pin down an accurate salary range based on commission. Earnings in this field can fluctuate quite a bit – good salespersons’ find that they can make a great part-time income working just a few days a week. Others may put all their effort into the job and come up with quite a bit more money to show for their effort.
In addition, the survey demonstrated that the lowest 10% of insurance agents earned less than $25,000/year, while the 10% earned more than $115,000 in a single year. The difficult part is discerning what reasons may lie behind these numbers in order to accurately predict where your income might lie on this spectrum if you choose to go down this career path. There are many different factors that impact your potential earnings, including where you live, what type of insurance you sell, whether you work full- or part-time and whether you work for an established company or start your own office.
Typically though, the better you understand the complicated legal jargon and contract terms, the better you’ll be at explaining them to your clients. This can up your sales and make it possible for you to earn more money. In addition, you’ll find that personality matters. Most people claim that they just want a personable and reliable individual to be their insurance agent, so that when they go to the insurance company, they feel as if they have an ally – not a barrier – within the company.