How Do I Become an Insurance Salesman?

Research what it takes to become an insurance salesman. Learn about job duties along with education and training requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Risk Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Insurance Salesman Do?

Insurance salesmen sell a wide range of insurance policies, including health insurance, property insurance and life insurance. Regardless of the sales field, a sales agent is responsible for clearly explaining the details of an insurance policy to prospective clients. They handle each case individually and may be able to customize insurance policies to suit clients' needs. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required High school diploma, bachelor's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Business, economics, finances, insurance and risk management
Key Responsibilities Speak with potential clients about insurance needs
Tally premiums
Determine payment schedules
Settle claims
Licensure State licensure required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9%*
Average Salary (2015) $64,790*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is an Insurance Sales Agent?

Insurance sales agents sell policies to private individuals and businesses. You could sell one or more types of insurance policies, including car, life, fire, health, disability and property. Some insurance agents have broadened their services to include financial planning and selling annuities, securities and mutual funds. Insurance agents typically work for a specific insurance carrier or an independent insurance agency, but some are self-employed.

What Education and Training Do I Need?

Most insurance firms favor hiring college graduates to work as sales agents. Earning a degree in business, economics or finances could give you an edge. You may be able to earn a bachelor's degree in insurance and risk management, but you may be able to take insurance courses in other programs. Courses in accounting, computer courses, marketing, math, psychology and public speaking can also be beneficial.

Some insurance companies will hire you as a sales agent with a high school diploma or GED, but you usually need work experience and sales abilities. Additionally, you can participate in continuing education opportunities throughout your career to stay updated on the industry.

Do I Need a License or Certification?

While requirements vary, insurance sales agents need to be licensed in each state. This usually involves taking classes and passing exams. You probably also need to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain your license. Depending on the type of insurance you sell, you might need additional licenses. Additionally, agents that also deal with annuities, mutual funds or securities need to get specific licenses.

You can also earn voluntary professional credentials in your particular area. Schools and industry organizations, including the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research and the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, offer designation programs for those who wish to become certified insurance counselors, insurance service representatives, risk managers or school risk managers. You can also seek certification as a financial planner if you offer those services to customers.

What Duties Might I Have?

Insurance salesmen talk with potential customers to learn what insurance they need and how they can best pay for it. You might have to ask about a potential customer's health or the condition of possessions they want insured. These meetings might take place in your office or in your clients' homes or businesses, and you might need to work during evenings or weekends.

Additional duties often include tallying premiums, determining payment schedules, settling claims, inspecting properties and pursuing new customers. You might meet with customers in your office or their home or business during business hours or at night or on weekends. You could visit properties for inspections. You will talk with existing policyholders about expanding their insurance coverage and pursue new customers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're interested in a career in sales, there are a number of other areas you could focus on. For example, a career in advertising sales involves selling advertisement space in magazines, on television, on billboards and various other locations. If you want to stay within the insurance field, you could also become an insurance underwriter. These professionals view applications from individuals seeking insurance and decide whether or not to insure them.

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:

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