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How to Become a Insurance Agent

When people are in need, do you often wish you could help them? By learning how to become an insurance agent, you could be the one who delivers that much-needed check to someone whose home just burned to the ground or whose partner just passed away.

As an insurance agent, you can help people find solace in the wake of unfortunate accidents by ensuring they get the support they need.

What Is an Insurance Agent?

Insurance agents, or insurance sales agents, sell different types of insurance plans to people. These can range from home, life, and health insurance. These individuals work on behalf of insurance carriers and negotiate different plans for nearly any occurrence.

What Does an Insurance Agent Do?

Assists Clients in Purchasing Insurance Products

This is the central aspect of working for an insurance company. The insurance agent accesses their list of unique clients and helps them buy comprehensive coverage for any part of their lives.

Calls Potential Clients for Coverage

Insurance agents are adept salespeople who know how to strike a deal. Insurance agents will hit the pavement seeking new clients in need of coverage. This is a combination of sales, marketing, and advertising.

Develops Great Working Relationships with Clients

The ideal insurance agent maintains healthy relationships with clients. Clients will need assistance with their plans when buying and renewing them, and most importantly, when claiming them. Good rapport with clients can create fruitful business relationships that last for years.

Essential Insurance Agent Skills


The perfect insurance agent needs to communicate clearly with clients. Any sort of miscommunication can leave clients uncovered by the insurance policy. Insurance agents should be natural communicators and be able to clearly explain complicated subject matter.

Understanding of Finances

Since you will be making your living by selling insurance plans, you need to have a firm grasp of both finances and numbers. You are going to tailor specific insurance plans for clients and their respective financial situations.

Customer Service

Your clients are the people who keep you in business, so you need to make sure everything is going smoothly for them. This is where good customer service skills can save the day. Knowing how to deal with frustrated and confused customers can make the difference in successful business transactions.

Insurance Agent Salaries and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an insurance agent's average salary is $50,940 per year or $24.49 per hour.

The highest-paid insurance agents are those who sell life insurance, with a median of $65,180. If you work your way up to the top 10 percent of insurance agents, you could easily make upwards of $115,000 per year.

Jobs for insurance agents are looking good for the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that insurance agents will be in high demand over the next decade. The field itself will grow by five percent, which is faster than the average of all other occupations.

People will always need insurance, and by extension, insurance agents. While people can purchase plans on their own, talented insurance agents offer opinions and advice that will always be in high demand.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Insurance Agent?

There’s no concrete time frame to become a fully-fledged insurance agent. Requirements vary from company to company, and would-be agents need to complete a licensing course beforehand.

To get a better idea of how to become an insurance agent, look at all the necessary steps you should take. If you think this is a long-term career, it’s a fantastic idea to get your bachelor’s degree or attend business school to add some impressive credentials.

How to Become an Insurance Agent: A Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Get Your High School Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree

The main qualifier for being an insurance agent is having a high school diploma. Requirements vary, but having a bachelor’s degree is also a solid way to start a career as an insurance agent.

Step 2: What Kind of Insurance Agent Will You Become?

There are two main types: independent insurance agents and captive insurance agents.

Independent Insurance Agent

These agents sell insurance from multiple companies. This type of agent provides clients with options from different insurance carriers to ensure they find the best plan. Independent insurance agents enjoy more job freedom and aren’t tied to one company.

Independent insurance agents sell insurance and list prices from Farmers Insurance, State Farm, USAA, and Geico, for example.

Captive Insurance Agent

These insurance agents work with one insurance carrier. Where independent insurance agents get freedom in their work, a captive agent is limited to just one company’s quotes and prices. For example, a captive insurance agent works strictly for Farmers Insurance and operates only within their parameters. However, the insurance carrier the agent works for will back them up, train them, and give them valuable resources to work with.

Both agent types are appealing for their unique reasons, and you have to determine what fits your style best. Overall, captive agents sell for one company but get a ton of benefits from their parent company. Independent insurance agents have the freedom to list prices from multiple companies, but have little to no assistance from companies.

Step 3: Take the Insurance License Exam

The pre-license course designated by different states requires people to learn the insurance industry's ins and outs. Pre-licensing courses aren’t too demanding and require, at most, 40 hours of your time. You can find these exams online and in person.

It’s then time to get your state licensing. This exam is pretty straightforward, with multiple questions presented to test-takers on a computer. Just schedule an insurance license exam, take the test, and get licensed.

Step 4: Background Checks, Licensing Application, and Work

This is where your insurance license exam pays off. All you have to do now is submit your background checks to the department of insurance. Once approved, you can act with the full capacity of an insurance agent.

Did you choose to be a captive or independent insurance agent? This is where you act on your decision, choosing to work for an insurance company or yourself.

Whatever your decision, it’s time to get a list of clients. This is where your sales skills will be crucial to your success. If you are an independent insurance agent, you are going to need to market yourself to people.

Should You Become an Insurance Agent in 2020?

It depends on the kind of person you are. If you see yourself as a people person, becoming a life insurance agent can be an easy choice. They have great earning potential right off the bat.

For the highest pay, becoming a life or health insurance agent is preferable due to higher income. There is always room for advancement and growth, giving you more opportunities.

Insurance agents need to know the ins and outs of conducting sales, building relationships, and serving the department of insurance to the best of their ability.


What types of insurance do agents sell?
There is a form of insurance for nearly every significant aspect or event in one’s life. There’s life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, and disability insurance.
Why use an agent to purchase insurance?
Since people have the freedom to explore types of insurance policies at their own pace, there are many benefits to enlisting an insurance agent's help. Agents sell insurance, but they also offer expert advice. Although a policyholder can buy insurance, having an agent is universally recommended if someone has to file an insurance claim. It’s all about assistance, guidance, and making things run smoothly.
Do I need a bachelor’s degree to become a life insurance agent?
Not in all cases. The main requirement for all life insurance companies is that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. It’s always a solid idea to receive your bachelor’s degree to increase your chances of getting hired and open the door for career advancement. However, since requirements vary, you need to determine if the company you’re interested in has strict requirements.
Is it difficult to get state licensing?
No, licensing requirements can be met easily. The pre-license course and insurance license exam are relatively simple to take part in. The pre-license course takes anywhere from 20 to 40 hours to complete, and the following test is a proctored multiple-choice computer test.
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