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Career Overview

Insurance sales agents play a central role to everyday people who need insurance but do not have enough knowledge to find what is what is ideal for them. Insurance sales agents can work as independent brokers or work for insurance companies, selling different insurance products to consumers. The main function of insurance agents is to assist insurance agencies create more revenue, while helping customers insure a many different services by informing and selling various insurance products. Usually insurance agents will sell more than one type of insurance to people including life, property, casualty, and health insurance, but they can also choose to specialize in one type of insurance. Some of the main insurances include auto, life and health insurance. Agents selling auto insurance tend to sell policies that protect the client from automobile accidents, including financially assisting for repairing the damage done. Life insurance agents need to sell policies that pay beneficiaries when the policyholder passes away, and provide policies that promise an income after retirement. Agents dealing health insurance must provide policies that will cover medical expenses, possibly including dental and disability insurance. All insurance agents, however, must communicate with current or potential customers to try to renew or sell insurance policies. This includes analyzing and explaining different options that the customers have and assisting them choose the ideal policy for them. Recently, there has been a trend for agents to provide very thorough financial planning for the future to customers. The key for insurance agents is to provide excellent quality of service so customers can recommend other potential customers to the same agent.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
9.7 %

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
H.S. Diploma Bachelor's Degree in related field

The entry level education for insurance agents is a high school diploma, but many companies will require a bachelor's degree. Business courses, such as finance and economics, as well as a public speaking skills. Insurance agents must also obtain licenses for the state they are operating in, and each separate license's for life, health, property, and casualty insurance. To obtain these licenses, one must pass a set of state exams, as well as complete a set of required courses.

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Valued Traits & Abilities

Analytical Skills
Communication Skills

Career Opportunities

If you're interested in or experienced in insurance sales, there are other areas of the industry you could explore for job opportunities. Some are still within the insurance industry, but some just have similar tasks.

Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications in order to decide whether to provide insurance and if so, under what terms. They are the main link between an insurance company and an insurance agent.

Personal Finance Advisor

Insurance can be a personal finance issue, so some experience in insurance would be helpful in this career. A personal finance advisor works with individuals to understand their financial goals and challenges, and help them decide what to invest in.

Work Environment

Insurance sales agents will typically work in office settings. Around 78 percent of insurance agents worked for insurance carriers, and 19 percent were self-employed. Out of the insurance agents that worked for insurance carriers, little over half worked for insurance firms that sold multiple insurance policies, rather than one single policy. Insurance sales agents tend to have relative freedom to set up their own schedule depending on their clients.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013