Insurance sales agents help an individual or a family to set up insurance policies for their property, lives, and health. They get to establish a relationship with their clients in which they can help them by analyzing their current situation and recommending the best insurance products for their clients. Not only do they recommend insurance products, but assist their clients with their finances by selling mutual funds, securities, annuities, and other financial packages, including state planning and retirement.
The salary of insurance sales agents vary depending on the type of employment, the company, and the type of pay they received. Many independent agents work on commission only, other agents receive a salary plus commission, other are paid only a salary and other agents a salary plus a bonus. Agents under commission must produce new clients and much of their income will depend on their own efforts and results if they sold products. Bonuses are given by the employer when the insurance sales agents reach their sales goals. Other incentives depending on the employer are also included in a package.
These may include education, group insurance plan, education and training to become licensed, office and clerical support, automobile or transportation reimbursement, seminars, conventions and meetings attendance, retirement plans, and promotional and marketing materials. The availability of these perks depend on the type of company and the type of employment. Overall, salary for insurance sales agents range from the low $20s to $113,000+. Many experienced agents who handle a large and established based clientele do well and get many referrals from their clients. Financial planning agents may charge a fee for their services, but these are independent agents.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
The relationship between an insurance sales agent and his/her clients may develop a strong bond due to the nature of the job. Recommending products for a family or individual for a variety of their needs, requires the agent to get to know the client well. Many agents will develop a professional bond and will assist a family throughout their many phases in life to obtain the best coverage for many types of insurances and other financial products such as investments and retirement packages. They will get to know the entire family, and serve their kids as they grow as well. They get to be recommended to other families and friends as well.
Not only do agents recommend and sell products to their clients, but also they offer valuable information and education to the entire family on the best products tailored to them and ways to minimize risks. Insurance agents will also prepare many reports, assessments, record keeping, prospect for clients, and help their clients to settle insurance claims.
An agent can work for one type of company and specialize in one type of brand of product or sell many types of insurances and brands. They may represent many companies at once. There is much competition in this field, especially due to the advances of technology which makes it easier for a client to look for free insurance quotes online and contact the insurance provider. This has cut the time the agents spend looking for new business, as many leads initiate the contact. It has also provided the opportunity for sales agents to dedicate more time to their clients. However, many companies use customer service representatives (24/7) to assist clients with questions and direct them to products. This has taken some of the previous tasks away from insurance sales agents, but has open also more time to grow more business and more volume. This could be good or bad, depending on the agent, but it is up to him/her to establish a professional bond with existing clients so he/she can continue to recommend products, service the entire family, and obtain referrals and new leads.
Training and Education Requirements
Licensing is required if an agent is going to sell, solicit, or negotiate insurance. The license is issued by the state and the candidates must take insurance related courses and pass several exams. College graduates are preferred when companies are hiring, but if a high school graduate has a good track sales record and experience, a company will overlook the lack of college. A background in business, finance, and economics is preferred. Many employees offer continuing education and on the job training. In many cases, companies will assign a new recruit to an experience agent to help with training and learning the field.
Insurance sales agents should be well informed in any changes in laws that will affect their industry. They should possess good communication skills, people skills, time management skills, good attitude, assertiveness, as well as excellent sales skills and techniques. They will have to attend seminars, meetings, and activities to further their education and promote their business.
As mentioned above the state requires insurance agents to be licensed. Many organizations offer certification programs for insurance agents to get credentials. Furthering their education and credentials is up to them, but it will establish a great professional image and will increase the trust and confidence in new clients who are looking for knowledgeable agents.
Many insurance sales agents opt for obtaining more credentials and become affiliated with many professional groups in the area. Some credentials are Certified Planner credential, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (FUTCF). These are just a few of the credentials an insurance agent can pursue.
This field will continue to grow in the future as technology and new laws create the demands for new insurance products. Candidates with college degrees will have priority.
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