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Become A Licensed Agent

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Working As A Licensed Agent

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $48,200

    Average Salary

What Does A Licensed 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.

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How To Become A Licensed 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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Licensed Agent jobs

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Licensed Agent Career Paths

Licensed Agent
Benefit Specialist Billing Specialist Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Representative Office Manager Branch Manager
Branch Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Sales Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Claims Representative Office Manager Account Manager
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Agent Sales Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Sales Agent Sales Consultant Sales Manager
General Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Claims Representative Specialist Account Manager
Key Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Finance Service Representative Personal Banker Branch Manager
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Sales Agent Sales Agent Sales Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Representative Finance Advisor Account Manager
Regional Accounts Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Assistant Director General Manager
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Marketing Representative Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Agent Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Benefit Specialist Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Finance Representative Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
9 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Case Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Claim Specialist Account Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Finance Service Representative Assistant Branch Manager Assistant Vice President
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Manager Business Developer
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
General Agent 3.9 years
Insurance Broker 3.5 years
Commercial Agent 3.1 years
Farm Agent 2.7 years
Insurance Agent 2.5 years
Field Agent 2.4 years
Direct Sales Agent 2.3 years
Agent 2.1 years
Licensed Agent 2.0 years
Sales Agent 2.0 years
Career Agent 1.9 years
Insurance Producer 1.9 years
Agent Assistant 1.9 years
Marketing Agent 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Manager 4.2%
Cashier 4.1%
Owner 3.3%
Agent 3.2%
Internship 2.5%
Top Employers After
Agent 4.9%
Owner 4.1%
Manager 3.4%

Licensed Agent Demographics

Gender

Female

59.8%

Male

38.3%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

81.8%

Hispanic or Latino

10.4%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.5%

French

8.3%

German

7.3%

Portuguese

4.2%

Swedish

2.1%

Russian

2.1%

Chinese

1.0%

Mandarin

1.0%

Ukrainian

1.0%

Dutch

1.0%

Hmong

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Urdu

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Italian

1.0%

Swahili

1.0%

Armenian

1.0%
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Licensed Agent Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.6%

Liberty University

7.1%

Valencia College

5.8%

Central Piedmont Community College

5.4%

University of Southern Mississippi

5.4%

Kaplan University

4.9%

American InterContinental University

4.5%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.5%

University of North Texas

4.0%

Temple University

4.0%

West Virginia University

4.0%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.0%

Michigan State University

3.6%

University of Central Florida

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.6%

Strayer University

3.6%

East Tennessee State University

3.1%

Columbus State Community College

3.1%

San Diego State University

3.1%

Florida State University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

33.2%

Insurance

6.3%

Psychology

6.0%

Marketing

5.2%

Health Care Administration

5.0%

Accounting

4.3%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

General Studies

4.0%

Management

4.0%

Communication

4.0%

Finance

3.9%

Education

2.8%

Human Resources Management

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Political Science

2.4%

English

2.1%

Nursing

1.9%

Real Estate

1.9%

Law

1.9%

Economics

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.3%

Other

29.2%

Associate

11.8%

Masters

11.0%

Certificate

4.6%

License

2.7%

Doctorate

1.3%

Diploma

1.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills for A Licensed Agent

CustomerServiceMedicareAdvantageLifeInsurancePoliciesFinancialNeedsAutoPoliciesHealthInsuranceLifeInsuranceProductsInsuranceCompaniesPotentialClientsPersonalLinesRealEstateInsurancePlansInboundCallsHealthPlansPrescriptionDrugPlansNewClientsPolicyChangesBusinessOwnersPhoneCallsDisability

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Top Licensed Agent Skills

  1. Customer Service
  2. Medicare Advantage
  3. Life Insurance Policies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Model exceptional customer service skills and appropriate diagnostic sales techniques.
  • Provided Medicare Advantage Plans to Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Prepare quotes for individual and small group life insurance policies using an employee census.
  • Conduct confidential financial needs analysis and present customized financial plans for clients.
  • Answered high volumes of calls related to service of existing auto policies, as well as the purchase of new policies.

Top Licensed Agent Employers

Licensed Agent Videos

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A Day in the Life of a Life Insurance Agent

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