Insurance sales agents may specialize in one of these areas or function as generalists, providing multiple products to a single customer.
The Responsibilities of the Insurance Sales Agent
Increasingly, people with insurance agent jobs are offering comprehensive financial planning services, including retirement and estate planning, and setting up pension plans for businesses. This is very common among people with life insurance careers, but many property and casualty agents also sell financial products. Insurance sales agents are also responsible for preparing reports, maintaining records, and seeking out new clients. People with this job then must help those clients settle claims and offer clients financial analysis and advice on how to minimize their risks.
An insurance sales agent may be either a captive agent working exclusively for one company or a broker who represents several companies and matches client policies with the companies that offer the best rates and coverage for their needs.
Educational Requirements for a Job as an Insurance Sales Agent
Insurance sales agents must have a state-issued license, although the requirements vary from state to state. Obtaining a license for this career typically requires completing insurance-related coursework and passing several exams.
Some insurance sales agents are hired right out of college, but most are hired by insurance companies as customer service representatives and later promoted to the position of insurance sales agent. Still, many colleges and universities offer courses in insurance, and some offer bachelor’s degrees in the field. Completing this coursework can make it possible to launch a career in the field in a much shorter period of time.
College courses in accounting, business law, finance, mathematics, economics, marketing, and business administration help insurance sales agents understand how social and economic conditions relate to the insurance industry. Courses in psychology, sociology, and public speaking can prove useful in improving sales techniques. Perhaps most important in today’s market, however, is a familiarity with computers and popular software packages as these provide instantaneous information and greatly improve agents’ efficiency in this job.
A great deal of learning takes place after college as many employers have their new insurance sales agents work under an experienced agent for a period of time, thus allowing the new agent to learn the ropes while having an experienced backup. Continued professional education is also becoming more important as changes in tax laws, benefit programs, and other state and federal regulations are constantly happening. Options for continued education include conferences and seminars, often sponsored by the insurance organizations themselves.
Insurance sales agents need to be confident, enthusiastic, hardworking, and willing to solve problems. People with this job need to communicate effectively and inspire customer confidence. Since they normally work without supervision, sales agents need to be able to plan their schedules well and take the initiative to locate new clients.