How Can I Become an Insurance Broker?

Explore the career requirements for insurance brokers. Get the facts about degree requirements, licensure, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Risk Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Insurance Broker?

Insurance brokers deal with multiple companies to find policies for the clients that hire them. They may sell health or life insurance, auto insurance, home and property insurance, or a combination of policies. Brokers must be very familiar with the policies they are selling in order to communicate effectively with prospective clients. As a broker, you may work independently or with a brokerage company. The table below can tell you about education requirements, along with possible yearly income.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Finance, business, economics
Key Skills Customer service, attention to detail, self-confidence, analytical
Licensure Licensure is required in the state in which brokers work
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (for all insurance sales agents)*
Median Salary (2015) $48,200 (for all insurance sales agents)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Need to Become an Insurance Broker?

While firms will occasionally hire a high school graduate with experience in sales, most insurance firms are looking for you to have a bachelor's degree. The type of degree you have may define what type of insurance you will handle, and given the complex nature of some insurance policies, employers tend to have a preference for degrees in:

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Insurance

Insurance brokers frequently specialize in specific types of coverage, so further coursework to pass credentialing exams may also be necessary. Licensing, which is regulated by states, is required to sell insurance and usually entails pre-exam classes and continuing education in order to maintain licensure.

Where Do Insurance Brokers Work?

Insurance brokers do not work for insurance companies, but rather sell policies that are produced by these companies. In this job, you may work either for yourself, at a small brokerage firm or in one of the large insurance brokerage houses. You might work with insurance underwriters, who decide whether to insure a company based upon risk analysis. Brokers typically work in office settings and may travel occasionally to either meet with clients or become familiar with property being insured.

What Will I Be Doing?

Insurance brokers sell insurance policies to individuals, companies and organizations. You might, for example, sell policies to families, schools, municipal governments, nursing homes or manufacturing firms. The type of business or assets of a client will determine what kinds of insurance they need. You will interview your clients extensively to make sure you've recorded every risk they might incur and need coverage for, and then you will research companies that provide such policies. Once you've found the best possible policy for a client, you will explain the policy and have the client sign any contracts involved.

Generally, independent brokers are paid through commissions based on the cost of the insurance policies they sell. If you work for a company, you may be working for a salary, on commission or, more frequently, a combination of the two.

What Are Some Related Alternative Career Options?

You may also be interested in a career as an insurance underwriter, which would require a bachelor's degree. In contrast to brokers, insurance underwriters work for an insurance company and review all incoming applications for insurance. They decide if applicants are good candidates and whether or not to insure them.

A career in sales may also be of interest. You could choose to become an advertising sales agent, selling space in magazines and on billboards to companies, or a real estate agent, who focuses on assisting people who want to buy or sell a home. A high school diploma is sufficient for both of these jobs, though employers may prefer to hire advertising sales agents who hold a bachelor's degree, and real estate agents will need to complete the appropriate coursework to earn licensure.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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