Insurance sales agents serve as the primary point of contact between the general public and an insurance company. Their primary task is to provide assistance in selecting the policy that optimally covers an individual, family, or business.
In addition to sales activities, insurance sales agents prepare and maintain customer records and seek out new clientele. Insurance sales agents can also work as a mediator to assist clients with settling claims due to losses, sometimes even representing the client to the insurance company.
Life insurance agents specialize in selling policies that provide payment in the event of the policyholder's death, which often provide funds for the education of children, annuities for retirement income, and various other benefits. Health insurance agents sell policies that cover the cost of medical expenses or loss of income in the event of a medical illness or injury. A large number of insurance agents also provide financial planning assistance and are therefore involved in cross-functional selling and development of holistic accounts for clients.
An insurance sales agent working for a single company is often referred to as a captive agent, while an insurance sales agent working for multiple companies is referred to as a broker. Captive agents often work in small offices, while brokers tend to work in larger offices, providing services for corporations. Insurance sales agents also tend to work non-standard hours, largely due to the need to meet with clientele after business hours. Furthermore, insurance sales agents often spend a great deal of time in the evenings working on client documents and information.
Companies and independent agencies seeking insurance sales agents typically hire college graduates, primarily those with business or sales training. In addition, insurance sales agents must stay current with industry trends and offerings. Insurance agents must also obtain a license in every state he plans to work. Separate licenses may also be required for the different types of insurance policies sold. In a large majority of states, licenses are issued only after successful completion of courses and examinations.
Insurance agents must primarily be proficient in sales, and have confident and enthusiastic attitudes. Insurance agents must also be computer savvy, as recently many customers have begun communicating with agents through the internet. This has ultimately led to a shift in the client relationship from a more personal level to a technology-based interaction. However, this allows the insurance sales agents to more quickly process insurance policy applications and remain abreast of new products and options offered by insurance carriers. The growing use of the internet has further perpetuated the importance of satisfying clientele, as customer reviews now have a farther reaching effect.