Insurance Sales Agent: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Insurance sales agents are required to have some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and skills required to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Insurance sales agents operate as independent brokers or work for insurance companies selling life, auto, home and related insurance coverage to consumers. Typically, insurance sales agents must have high school diplomas and be licensed in the state in which they sell insurance. Some employers may require a bachelor's degree. Continuing education and training may also be necessary.

Required Education High school diploma, bachelor's sometimes required
Other Requirements State license and continuing education typically required; training may also be necessary
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 10%
Mean Salary (2013)* $63,610 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Description for an Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance sales agents act as intermediaries between insurance companies and insurance buyers, including individuals and business. They advise customers on the insurance policies that best suit their needs. Sales agents may specialize in one type of insurance coverage, such as health, property, life and auto, or they may be well versed in several forms of insurance coverage.

Job Duties for an Insurance Sales Agent

The primary task of an insurance sales agent is selling his or her product to interested parties. To accomplish this task, insurance agents must be active in seeking out new clients and explaining types of coverage they may find helpful. In order to sell their product they must also understand it by keeping abreast of the rates and policies that various insurers offer.

Additionally, insurance sales must fill-out and submit applications, issue quotes, maintain client records and prepare reports. In the event of a claim, agents help their customers file and receive financial compensation for their loss.

Insurance Sales Agent Job Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) notes that a high school diploma is usually necessary for insurance sales agents, however some companies may prefer college graduates. Prospective agents may take classes in economics, business or finance to understand the principles of selling insurance as a product. They may also take courses to help them become better salespeople, such as psychology. Undergraduate programs that specifically study insurance and risk management are available through colleges and universities. These programs aim to teach students the basic principles of risk management through coursework in insurance theory and security analysis.

Licensing and Certification

In order to sell insurance, agents must obtain a license from the state in which they operate. The requirements vary by state, but typically include completing pre-licensing coursework and passing a state-sanctioned exam. States also often require continuing education units to be completed every few years to keep insurance sales agents up-to-date on insurance laws and coverage.

The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research also offers several types of industry-recognized certification designations that insurance sales agents may earn to signify their expertise in the field. For instance, agents can attend a CIC (Certified Insurance Counselors) program that covers essential topics in property, casualty and health insurance, or a CSRM (Certified School Risk Managers) program that teaches the core doctrines of risk management inherent in all insurance deals. All programs require some coursework and the passing of an examination to achieve certification.

Job Outlook and Salary Information for Insurance Sales Agents

In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 354,460 insurance sales agents working in the United States. Employment opportunities within the field are expected to increase by 10% over the 2012-2022 decade, according to the BLS. The BLS also predicts 45,900 insurance sales agent jobs will be added over that time period. Professionals in this field earned an average salary of $63,610 in 2013, based on figures from the BLS.

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