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Insurance Sales Agent Careers

Insurance sales agents sell insurance policies. They pitch their product to potential clients, increasing their customer base and keeping in contact with people they have already sold to. They collect information about people who are interested in buying insurance and offer the policies best matching their needs.

Humankind is fragile, and insurance may cover any area of life. Marriage and divorce, having a baby or buying a house, accidents, new businesses, or children going to college all give a reason to be concerned. History has seen people buying insurance in case they died of too much laughter at the movies. Your job will not likely go out of demand if this is the path you choose.

Selling insurance can be a rewarding career, if you have the right mindset for it. You will have continuous learning opportunities; in fact, keeping up to date with the ever-evolving insurance policies will be a part of your job, with regular training events to attend, so you can put your knowledge to work for your clients.

What Does an Insurance Sales Agent Do

Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance. Insurance sales agents explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.

Duties

Insurance sales agents typically do the following:

  • Call potential clients in order to expand their own customer base
  • Interview prospective clients to get information about their financial resources and discuss existing coverage
  • Explain the features of various policies
  • Analyze clients’ current insurance policies and suggest additions or other changes
  • Customize insurance programs to suit individual clients
  • Handle policy renewals
  • Maintain electronic and paper records

Insurance sales agents commonly sell one or more types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, and long-term care insurance.

Property and casualty insurance agents sell policies that protect people and businesses from financial loss resulting from automobile accidents, fire, theft, and other events that can damage property. For businesses, property and casualty insurance also covers workers’ compensation claims, product liability claims, or medical malpractice claims.

Life insurance agents specialize in selling policies that pay beneficiaries when a policyholder dies. Life insurance agents also sell annuities that promise a retirement income.

Health and long-term care insurance agents sell policies that cover the costs of medical care and assisted-living services in old age. They also may sell dental insurance and short-term and long-term disability insurance.

Agents may specialize in any one of these products or function as generalists providing multiple products.

An increasing number of insurance sales agents offer their clients—especially those approaching retirement—comprehensive financial-planning services. Such services include retirement planning, estate planning, and help in setting up pension plans for businesses. In addition to offering insurance, these agents may become licensed to sell mutual funds, variable annuities, and other securities. This practice is most common with life insurance agents who already sell annuities, but many property and casualty agents also sell financial products. For more information on agents who sell financial products, see the profile on securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.

Many agents spend a lot of time marketing their services and creating their own base of clients. They do this in a variety of ways, including making “cold” sales calls to people who are not current clients.

Potential clients often use comparison shopping tools online to learn about different policies and obtain information from insurance companies. Clients can either purchase a policy directly from the website or contact the company to speak with a sales agent.

Insurance agents also find new clients through referrals by current clients. Keeping clients happy so that they recommend the agent to others is a key to success for insurance sales agents.

Insurance agents may work for a single insurance company or an insurance brokerage.

Captive agents are insurance sales agents who work exclusively for one insurance company. They can only sell policies provided by the company that employs them.

Independent insurance agents work for insurance brokerages, selling the policies of several companies. They match insurance policies for their clients with the company that offers the best rate and coverage.

How To Become an Insurance Sales Agent

Although most employers require agents to have a high school diploma, many agents have a bachelor’s degree. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.

Education

A high school diploma is the typical requirement for insurance sales agents, although a bachelor’s degree can improve one’s job prospects. Public-speaking classes can be useful in improving sales techniques, and often agents will have taken courses in business, finance, or economics. Business knowledge is also helpful for sales agents hoping to advance to a managerial position.

Training

Insurance sales agents learn many of their job duties on the job from other agents. Many employers have new agents shadow an experienced agent. This practice allows the new agent to learn how to conduct the company’s business and to understand how the agency interacts with clients.

Employers also are increasingly placing greater emphasis on continuing professional education as the variety of financial products sold by insurance sales agents grows. Changes in tax laws, government benefits programs, and other state and federal regulations can affect the insurance needs of clients and the way in which agents conduct business. Agents can enhance their selling skills and broaden their knowledge of insurance and other financial services by taking courses at colleges and universities or by attending conferences and seminars sponsored by insurance organizations.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Insurance sales agents must have a license in the states where they work. Separate licenses are required for agents to sell life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance. In most states, licenses are issued only to applicants who complete specified courses and who pass state exams covering insurance fundamentals and state insurance laws. Most state licensing authorities also require agents to take continuing education courses focusing on insurance laws, consumer protection, ethics, and the technical details of various insurance policies.

As the demand for financial-planning services increases, many agents also choose to get licensed and certified to sell securities and other financial products. Licensing and certification requires substantial study time to pass an additional exam—either the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, both of which are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Series 6 exam is for agents who want to sell only mutual funds and variable annuities. The Series 7 exam is the main FINRA series license, which qualifies agents as general securities sales representatives.

A number of organizations offer certifications that show an agent’s expertise in insurance specialties. These certifications are not required for employment, but they can give job candidates an advantage over other applicants. Certifications also can be a source of continuing education credit. For details on specific designations, contact The Institutes and The American College of Financial Services.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Insurance sales agents must evaluate the characteristics of each client to determine the appropriate insurance policy.

Communication skills. Insurance sales agents must be able to communicate effectively with customers by listening to their requests and suggesting suitable policies.

Initiative. Insurance sales agents need to actively seek out new customers to maintain a flow of commissions.

Self-confidence. Insurance sales agents should be confident when making “cold” calls (calls to prospective customers who have not been contacted before). They must speak clearly and persuasively and maintain their composure if rejected.

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Average Salary
$38,082
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
10%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
33,986
Job Openings

Insurance Sales Agent Career Paths

Top Careers Before Insurance Sales Agent

Cashier
9.4 %

Top Careers After Insurance Sales Agent

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Average Salary for an Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance Sales Agents in America make an average salary of $38,082 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $63,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary
$38,082

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Urban Honolulu, HI
Salary Range77k - 107k$92k$91,530
Los Angeles, CA
Salary Range48k - 96k$68k$68,476
Denver, CO
Salary Range42k - 79k$58k$57,780
Birmingham, AL
Salary Range38k - 74k$54k$53,964
Kansas City, KS
Salary Range38k - 70k$52k$52,443
New York, NY
Salary Range38k - 64k$50k$49,550
$26k
$107k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Bilingual Insurance Sales Agent
Bilingual Insurance Sales Agent
Dealerpolicy
Dealerpolicy
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$85,00001/29/2021
$85,000
Bilingual Insurance Sales Agent
Bilingual Insurance Sales Agent
Dealerpolicy
Dealerpolicy
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$85,00001/29/2021
$85,000
Bilingual Insurance Sales Agent
Bilingual Insurance Sales Agent
Dealerpolicy
Dealerpolicy
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$85,00001/29/2021
$85,000
Sales Agent-Retail Insurance
Sales Agent-Retail Insurance
AAA Mid-Atlantic
AAA Mid-Atlantic
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$50,00001/23/2021
$50,000
Inbound Insurance Agent-Sales or Service
Inbound Insurance Agent-Sales or Service
Progressive
Progressive
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$36,52301/23/2021
$36,523
See More Recent Salaries

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Insurance Sales Agent Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Insurance Sales Agent. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Insurance Sales Agent Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Insurance Sales Agent resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Insurance Sales Agent Demographics

Gender

male

47.7 %

female

47.4 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

70.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.2 %

Black or African American

8.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.3 %

French

7.8 %

German

2.8 %
See More Demographics

Insurance Sales Agent Education

Majors

Business
34.1 %

Degrees

Bachelors

40.6 %

High School Diploma

19.3 %

Associate

18.6 %

Top Colleges for Insurance Sales Agents

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

4. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

5. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,440
Enrollment
7,039

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

7. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$45,542
Enrollment
14,159

8. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, LA • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,912
Enrollment
14,245

9. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,896
Enrollment
15,529

10. Butler University

Indianapolis, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$41,120
Enrollment
4,553
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Insurance Sales Agent

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.4% of insurance sales agents listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and self-confidence are important as well.

Best States For an Insurance Sales Agent

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an insurance sales agent. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, California, Alaska, and Washington. Insurance sales agents make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $91,253. Whereas in California and Alaska, they would average $69,964 and $68,273, respectively. While insurance sales agents would only make an average of $65,702 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oregon

Total Insurance Sales Agent Jobs:
610
Highest 10% Earn:
$111,000
Location Quotient:
1.32
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wyoming

Total Insurance Sales Agent Jobs:
100
Highest 10% Earn:
$91,000
Location Quotient:
1.5
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Montana

Total Insurance Sales Agent Jobs:
182
Highest 10% Earn:
$90,000
Location Quotient:
1.42
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Insurance Sales Agent Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ insurance sales agents and discovered their number of insurance sales agent opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that State Farm was the best, especially with an average salary of $36,426. GEICO follows up with an average salary of $37,151, and then comes Aflac with an average of $36,755. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an insurance sales agent. The employers include Sentry Insurance, Atlantic Moving Systems, and AAA Allied Group Inc.

1. State Farm
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$36,426
Insurance Sales Agents Hired: 
460+
2. GEICO
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$37,151
Insurance Sales Agents Hired: 
359+
3. Aflac
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$36,755
Insurance Sales Agents Hired: 
337+
4. American Income Life Insurance ...
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$37,147
Insurance Sales Agents Hired: 
327+
5. Allstate
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$36,763
Insurance Sales Agents Hired: 
251+
6. Primerica
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$36,172
Insurance Sales Agents Hired: 
181+

Insurance Sales Agent Videos

Updated October 2, 2020