Insurance Agent Job Description
Insurance Agents are responsible for connecting customers with the insurance coverage they need, such as auto, home or life insurance. Some Insurance Agents also offer financial planning services. As salespeople, Insurance Agents dedicate a large portion of their time to cultivating new business. Most Insurance Agents work on commission and typically have a high degree of autonomy in how they work and the amount of income they make.
Demand for Insurance Agents by firms that sell consumer and commercial insurance products is expected to increase 10 percent through 2022, creating more than 15,000 annual openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary for Insurance Agents is about $48,000 a year, according to the BLS and other online sources.
Insurance Agent Duties and Responsibilities
To accomplish their primary goal of selling insurance policies, Insurance Agents perform many tasks. We analyzed several job listings to identify these core Insurance Agent duties and responsibilities.
Solicit New Business
As an Insurance Agent, a big part of your job is generating new business. Soliciting new customers can include following up on leads provided by your agency, telemarketing and attending trade shows, conferences and networking events. Some Insurance Agents go door-to-door marketing their services. In addition to actively soliciting new business, Insurance Agents assist prospective clients that come to them by way of referrals from existing customers, a company website or other advertising.
Assess Insurance Needs
Interviewing customers to determine what their risks are and what types of coverage they need is a key task for Insurance Agents. When talking to someone interesting in buying homeowners insurance, for instance, you may ask them questions about how old their house is, whether they have dogs and what type of electrical system they have. Based on such information, Insurance Agents provide customers with recommendations for insurance coverage.
Assist in Completing Applications
As an Insurance Agent, you assist customers in properly completing insurance applications, which can be complex and lengthy, and any other required paperwork. Once the forms are in order, Insurance Agents submit them to the company that provides the insurance, and then acts as an intermediary between the customer and the insurance company to complete the transaction.
Provide Ongoing Support
Even after an insurance transaction is complete, Insurance Agents maintain a relationship with their customers. Should a customer need to file a claim, the agent is usually their first point of contact. Also, when customers experience life changes, such as buying a new car or the birth of a child, they look to their Insurance Agent to make sure their coverage is still adequate. Many Insurance Agents maintain contact with customers through mailings, such as holiday greetings and renewal notices, and occasional phone calls.
Insurance Agent Skills
Successful Insurance Agents are great communicators who have an entrepreneurial spirit. They are knowledgeable about the products they sell and able to work independently. The best Insurance Agents also are advocates for their customers and committed to getting them the coverage that is right for their circumstances. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are seeking Insurance Agent candidates with the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Insurance Agents with these core skills. If you want to work as an Insurance Agent, focus on the following.
- Being able to cultivate a customer base in business-to-consumer or business-to-business sales
- Meeting and exceeding sales goals on a regular basis
- Knowing how to use Microsoft Office programs
- Using telemarketing to identify potential customers and make sales
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Insurance Agent toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Having comprehensive financial planning knowledge, such as retirement and estate planning
- Knowing underwriting guidelines for your state
- Knowing MVR (motor vehicle record) and C.L.U.E (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange) requirements
- Understanding consultative sales methods
Insurance Agent Q & A
Considering a career as an Insurance Agent? “The industry has a relatively low barrier to entry,” says Insurance Agent Jeremy Schaedler, “but becoming successful requires a very unique skill set along with mental toughness and perseverance to overcome challenges.” We talked to Schaedler to learn the ins and outs of being an Insurance Agent. Here’s what he had to say:
What do you find most rewarding about being an Insurance Agent?
Working with people and helping them better understand their insurance needs and risks. The time will come in an Insurance Agent’s career when a client’s life may be turned upside down by a claim. Watching the insurance process work to put things back together is very rewarding.
What challenges does an Insurance Agent face?
One of the most challenging parts of being an Insurance Agent is staying at the forefront of technological innovations so that the value an Insurance Agent adds remains relevant over time.
What skills do Insurance Agents use most?
Being an effective listener is an extremely important skill that is used in every customer interaction. Each client will have unique needs and concerns, so asking pertinent questions and listening carefully to responses is very important.
Who is successful in this job?
Social people with solid analytical skills. An Insurance Agent must be able to meet with clients and establish a professional level of trust, as well as have the skills to identify and propose effective risk-management solutions.
How should someone prepare for a career as an Insurance Agent?
It requires a willingness to learn, and a positive attitude. Challenges will arise and it’s important to stay the course in building a successful career path where potential clients will seek you out for your skills and accumulated knowledge.
Insurance Agent Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as an Insurance Agent. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
Terms + Conditions – This Insurance Information Institute blog offers hearty, accessible information about all types of insurance and industry trends, from asbestos liability to workers compensation.
Property Casualty 360 – A great resource for both buyers and sellers of insurance, this blog provides breaking news, industry research and more.
Risk Management Monitor –The official blog of Risk Management magazine, come here for articles, commentary and interviews related to risk management and the insurance industry.
Coverage Opinions – This monthly newsletter provides lively reporting, analysis and commentary on legal decisions that affect the insurance industry.
Insurance Fraud Blog – The official blog of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, come here for all the latest information on insurance fraud.
Steve Anderson writes about the intersection of insurance and technology.
Mary Pat Whaley shares her insights as an expert in health insurance.
Steve Savant is a columnist and talk show host, that writes about insurance and finance.
Insurance Information Group – For more than a half-century, the I.I.I has been the premier source for insurance industry information and analysis.
American Insurance Association – Representing more than 325 insurance companies, the AIA helps shape the future of the industry by serving as a key resource for the the media, policy makers and the public.
The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers – Representing more than 300 insurance firms, the CIAB offers programs and professional development opportunities.
Insurance Industry Books
Understanding the Insurance Industry by A.M. Best Company – This comprehensive primer offers a nuts-and-bolts overview of the insurance industry for students, new employees or anyone interested in the industry.
The Complete Dictionary of Insurance Terms Explained Simply by Melissa Samaroo – Offering jargon-free definitions for more than 2,000 insurance terms, t his is a great reference book for insurance agents and consumers.
Secrets of Successful Insurance Sales by Jack Kinder Jr. and Gary Kinder – This motivational book offers practical tips for success in insurance sales.
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