Insurance Broker: Job Duties, Career Outlook and Educational Requirements

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

What Is an Insurance Broker?

Insurance brokers work with clients to find appropriate and applicable insurance policies. Brokers may work in a specific insurance industry or may work for a company that provides multiple types of insurance, like health, life, long-term care, and property insurance. Insurance brokers have the task of thoroughly walking clients through their options, making sure they understand their choices, and ultimately helping them choose what is best for them. Take a look at the following table of information to discover some details on this particular career.

Education Required High school diploma minimum;
Bachelor's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Business
Finance
Economics
Licensure Required State license required
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 Will I Do as an Insurance Broker?

Your main responsibility is to match the risk protection needs of individual clients with the policies offered by the insurance providers you represent. You're likely to represent several providers. To be effective - to find the combination of coverage and rate that works best for clients - you need general knowledge of life, property, casualty and health insurance, as well as specific knowledge of each policy's terms.

Your duties include interviewing clients about their financial means and existing insurance if any, advising them on risk management, explaining policy features, calculating premiums and verifying that forms are filled out correctly. If a policy has certain requirements, such as a medical exam, you make sure clients meet them. Developing new clients, inspecting the age and condition of property, processing policy renewals and maintaining records are among your other possible duties.

Where Could I Work?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), your best job prospects are with insurance carriers and in related insurance activities - 82% of insurance brokers work for a business of this type, according to figures from 2014. You could also consider working for yourself; the same report shows that about 1 in 7 brokers are self-employed. You might have to start as a customer service representative before transitioning into a position as a sales agent or broker.

Around 466,100 people were employed as sales agents in 2014, which the BLS projects to increase to 509,500 by 2024. Employment prospects will be driven by general population growth and the specific needs of an expanding elder population for financial planning and long-term health care. As of May 2015, you could potentially earn a median annual salary of $48,200.

What Education Will I Need?

If you have a proven talent for sales companies might hire you as a sales agent right out of high school. However, most employers prefer for brokers to have a bachelor's degree. A number of schools offer degrees in risk management and insurance, sometimes as a stand-alone program and sometimes as a concentration in a business administration program. Degrees in finance or economics are also acceptable. Figures from O*Net Online show that about 46% of brokers have a bachelor's degree and around 33% have a high school diploma or GED.

A bachelor's degree program in insurance teaches you the fundamental concepts that underlay risk assessment and management, practical methods of conducting assessments and differing approaches to protecting against risks to property and risks to life. Program courses cover such topics as value analysis, estate planning, portfolio management and insurance law and ethics. Internships enable you to observe insurance professionals and business operations day to day, gain work experience and build professional contacts.

Will I Need a License?

All states have licensing requirements, and typically have separate licenses for casualty, property, health and life insurance. You may need to complete specified pre-licensing courses before taking the licensing exam. Licensing exams test your knowledge of state insurance laws, insurance fundamentals and the type of insurance you wish to sell. Most states also require you to renew your license every two years by completing continuing education courses.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The education and skill set necessary to be a successful insurance broker lends itself to a variety of other sales-related careers. Careers in advertising sales also generally are suitable for candidates with a bachelor's degree, though some companies may hire individuals with less educational experience. Personal finance is another industry that is related to insurance brokerage, as it also deals with helping people make personal financial decisions.

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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