Insurance comes in all shapes in sizes and it’s one of the few things almost everyone in America needs to buy. We have insurance for everything these days. There’s personal insurance, business insurance, auto insurance, renters insurance, and now we even buy insurance on our phones (by the way, don’t buy insurance on your phones). Insurance agents must be experts in the policies they sell and be able to answer any questions potential clients may have. But the perks of being an insurance agent are plentiful. Agents often can make their own hours and you don’t need an expensive four-year college degree to get your foot in the door. Training can be completed in days and a dedicated agent could bring in $100,000 in the first year. Here are some things to consider if you think you might want to become an agent.
So you’ve decided that selling insurance is the right career path for you. You’re a people person with great time management and organizational skills. Take pride in these abilities because they’re more rare than you think. The only thing left is to decide which type of firm to pursue. Insurance agents need to sell policies, so you’ll want to choose a firm you believe in. Maybe you have a family and want to help other families prepare for the unexpected loss of a loved one – life insurance might be right up your alley. Or maybe you don’t have the sharpest sales skills and want to look at insurance based on need. Automobile and homeowners insurance are usually required by law, so these areas might be the best bet for new agents looking to refine their sales pitch
An insurance agent is a man or woman of the people. It doesn’t matter what type of policy you’re selling, every agent needs empathy and emotional intelligence. People buy insurance for things they don’t like to think about, like car crashes, theft, and accidental injury or death. Your job as an agent is to make these conversations as uncomfortable as possible. Be upbeat and eager. Don’t be phased by rejection. And know when to speak and when to listen. The best agents are self-motivated problem solvers who don’t get down after hearing a bunch of “no’s” in a row. Time management is an important skills for insurance agents as well. Agents spend a lot of time on the road and often have to juggle a number of different projects. If you have trouble budgeting time, selling insurance might not be the path for you.
An insurance agent doesn’t need a college degree, but there will still be plenty of tests. All 50 states require some combination of training and exam, and some even want fingerprints. For example, Florida requires 200 hours of training for property insurance while a travel agent in Alaska needs no training and no exam. The workload varies by state and many states don’t allow their licenses to transfer. Picking a location to practice in is almost as important as choosing a product to sell because you’ll likely be sticking in the same state for a while. If you want to maximize your profits and reduce your headaches, be sure research the different regulations of each state. Here’s a great resource for laws by state.
After you’ve completed your education and passed your exams, you’ll need to get licensed by whichever state you’ve chosen to practice in. This obviously comes with a fee. Once you’ve gotten your license, you’ll need to wary of your state’s renewal requirements too. Most states give you a grace period of 60 days though, so don’t panic you miss it by a week. Now that you’re smart and licensed, you’ll need to brush up on the job hunt routine. Update your resume, buy a nice suit, and apply, apply, apply. If you don’t have luck right away, just remember that persistence and the ability to accept rejection are critical skills for any agent to learn.
Congratulations, you’ve become an agent! You’ve got a job and an expansive list of clients. You’re making good money and enjoying the work. But just because you can hand out business cards doesn’t mean you’re done learning. An insurance agent has to deal with a constantly changing world, which means a steady supply of seminars and fairly dull reading. New legislation is inevitable no matter which state you practice and you can’t be giving clients outdated advice. And in some states it might not even be your choice. For example, in Colorado, you’ll need 24 hours of new training every two years for most insurance products.
Further questions? DC Insurers can help you become an agent and get started on your path!