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Working as an Insurance Sales Agent


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From health to homes to cars and everything in between, there's an insurance policy that goes along with it. But with pages upon pages of small print, the industry is nearly un-navigable to average folks. That's why the public relies on insurance sales agents to find them the most comprehensive insurance policy for their budgets.

What they do:

An insurance sales agent is essentially the go-between for insurance companies and clients. The insurance industry is enormous, so most insurance agents focus on a smaller number of policy types. Some may sell to individuals or families, while others focus on businesses. Some may focus on property while others stay close to health. In any case, the purpose of insurance is the same: to protect clients from financial ruin in the case of an accident or emergency.

While many insurance agents work in an office atmosphere, some can work as independent contractors, a benefit being they are more in charge of their own time. In either atmosphere, because they accommodate client schedules, agents can often work some nights and weekends. Like other sales jobs, agents can work beyond 40 hours each week. Travel is required for some roles.

What they need:

Most employers prefer to hire college graduates, specifically those who've studied economics, finance, accounting, business or other fields that inform the economic complexities of the industry. Those with a high school degree can also be hired, especially those with a sales background.

To sell insurance, every agent must have a state-issued license, a process that involves completion of coursework and exams. Licenses vary from state to state, and agents are required to have a license in all states where they plan to sell. Additionally, states often mandate continuing education coursework every two years, as insurance policies and laws change. Additional licensing such as a the Series 6 or Series 7 may be required to sell securities, mutual funds or other financial products.

Insurance sales agents must have an in-depth knowledge of the insurance world. From loopholes to cost-cutting measures, to retain a solid client base agents should have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of their area of expertise. (And while younger agents may still be learning the industry, they should have a mentor or source to turn to for answers.) Because of this, most employers offer or insist upon continuing education for their agents in addition to industry-mandated education.

Because being an insurance sales agent is essentially a sales position, you'll need to have great people skills, sales savvy and customer service.

What they earn:

According to, the average salary for an insurance sales agent is $52,549. The 25th and 75th percent of salaries fall between $29,208 and $63,179, respectively. 

Job outlook:

Job growth in this field is expected to increase by 12 percent by 2018, with many factors accounting for this increase. As population grows, so will consumer demand for cars, homes, and other big-ticket items that often require an insurance policy. Additionally, as the current population ages, there should be an increased demand for more extensive health and life insurance policies.

Last Updated: 05/01/2011 - 2:35 PM

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