Several educational and training tips for becoming a successful insurance agentArticle added by Jody Haworth on May 13, 2011
Jody Haworth

Jody Haworth

Austin, TX

Joined: May 11, 2011

My Company

There are few jobs considered glamorous and working as an insurance agent is far from it. However, based on the U.S. Department of Labor 2002 data, around 380,000 people work as insurance agents. Despite the lack of glamour within the job, it’s a needed and lucrative profession. After all, insurance claims are on the rise and people are needed to handle them all.

If you plan to work in the insurance field as an agent, you need to have strong business principals and understand the legalities that surround the various kinds of insurance clients can purchase.

When you decide to become an insurance agent, the first thing you’re going to need is training and education. After all, you’re dealing with insurance that will affect people’s lives and their property. Remember that people will get life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, property insurance, casualtyinsurance and long term care insurance. No matter what kind you sell, you need to have the training. That’s why many employers consider a solid business foundation to be important, even if a candidate doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree.

What companies tend to look for in their insurance agents: Education and training are key to succeeding as an agent.

University degree and education

Many insurance companies are looking for employees with a college degree or are getting some kind of training. Those with an educational background and those who have a business background can usually command a higher salary and more benefits. That doesn’t mean, however, that this is all the companies are looking for.

Many colleges have technical insurance courses that can help a person obtain a degree quickly. Some universities offer bachelor’s degrees in insurance. If you're limited in when you can take courses, see if your local university or community college offers online courses that allow you to study business principles on your own time.

Proven sales track record

People who have a proven track record in sales can work as an insurance agent and do well in it. For those who don’t have a college degree, it doesn’t hurt to take classes that will enhance speaking skills, as well as classes in working with computers and insurance software.

Insurance agent courses and state exams

Courses are available to those with no college background and who want to succeed in this field. Many of the financial aspects such as contract terms and statistical analysis can be quite daunting to understand. Businesses will look at people who have prepared themselves for a job in the field over those who have no experience or education whatsoever.
For that reason, those without college degrees can partake in a precertification course offered by the state they reside in. Remember, before you can sell insurance, you must be registered by the state and take an insurance licensing exam.

People who want to work as an agent can obtain a temporary license so long as they are under an accredited agent. The majority of states will grant a temporary license so persons can sell health and life insurance; yet, you need an accredited agent to sponsor you. Accredited agents will need to send in paperwork to the state, which allows you to sell insurance for up to 90 days (depending on what the state guidelines are). This allows people to prepare for the state exam.

Get your license before you apply for a job and you'll be a step ahead of those who don’t have any special education or courses when it comes to higher-level contracts. If you want to be financially successful, you need to be on a high commission level. Thus, you should have a permanent license since it helps to get you to the higher pay range.

Requirements to becoming a licensed insurance agent will vary from state to state; however, you need to be licensed in the state you plan to sell. The majority of states demand interested persons to finish their pre-licensing courses and take the exam on insurance laws and other fundamentals.

Using websites to help you pass the exam

You also have the option of using a website to complete courses at your leisure rather than doing an in-class course. The material is wide-ranging and the teachers are knowledgeable. If you want to succeed and pass the test, print out the notes, listen to the videos and memorize the vocabulary.

Keep in mind that once you’ve completed the course and passed, you will receive your license. However, you’ll still need to attend classes annually to renew it. New products are bound to hit the market along with changes in tax laws and state/federal regulations. By learning all the new rules, you can address your clients needs in real time.

Other tips and tricks to becoming a successful insurance agent

Another part of being an insurance agent is being skilled in salesmanship and customer relations. Keep in mind you want to make money for your employer, and you want to give your clients the best possible service when they contact you about insurance policies. Since the job entails lots of customer interaction, it’s highly important that your communication skills are sharpened. Again, you can take classes that will get you ready for public speaking.
If you choose to sell the final expense insurance, you’re going to need the life insurance license. However, it’s wise to get the health insurance license as well because this enables you to sell Medicare supplemental insurance, which is a wonderful cross-selling product.

As you see, there are many ways to become a highly successful insurance agent and there’s no limit of routes you can take to earn that insurance license from your state. If you’re serious and want to show how serious you are, check out National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research regarding classes you can take. While voluntary, employers who see that you’ve taken these courses will note your seriousness. It also informs your potential clients that you want to learn as much as you can about insurance regulations and laws to better serve them. In the long run, all your education and training will catapult you into making a high insurance agent salary.
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