Hot Career: Insurance Sales Agents

Written by  //  2013/10/02  //  Career Planning  //  1 Comment

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists insurance sales agents as one of the bright career choices of this decade. It is a field that continues to grow as consumers are advised about their insurance options including home, health, dental, auto, life and more. Although a college degree is not mandatory across the board, at least one-third of insurance sales agents possess a bachelor’s degree. Agents must also be licensed in the states where they work.

Career Essentials

Insurance sales agents are sometimes known as an underwriting sales representative. These individuals may work as an independent broker, refer clients to said brokers or be employed by an insurance company.

Agents contact prospective clients to determine their needs. When the request involves property, the agent might visit the home, office, building or personal vehicle to review what is to be insured. Agents call on existing clients, seek out new clients and customize coverage according to the client’s needs. 

Insurance agents will explain features of various insurance coverages, calculate premiums and set up a payment method. Agents also complete related administrative tasks including record keeping and policy renewals.

College Education and Training

Insurance agents may find some advantages in taking college courses, even completing a bachelor’s degree. A background in finance, public relations, marketing and human psychology can help here.

Some companies prefer candidates with a college degree, especially if that individual is heavily involved with risk management. A degree can also help the agent advance in the company, taking on a management or administrative role that might otherwise not be available to them.

Insurance companies also train their staff in-house. Agents will take courses to teach them how to sell insurance, how to upsell customers and manage actuarial tables and other financial matters.

Pay Scale

The average wage for insurances sales agents was $48,150 as of 2012 according to the BLS. 

Those in the 10th percentile earned $26,100 per year on average while those in the 25th percentile made $34,200 per year. The median wage for this profession was $48,200. Those in the 75th percentile earned $73,000 per year while agents in the 90th percentile made $116,900 per year on average.

Wages across the United States varied from state to state. Top average salaries were realized in Rhode Island where such agents made $65,800 per year on average. In Massachusetts, that average was $65,500 per year. New York came in at $60,400 annually.

On the bottom end of the spectrum, average wages were $35,200 in West Virginia. Hawaii at $35,300 and South Carolina at $35,500, followed.

Career Outlook

Strong growth in the insurance field is expected through 2020. The BLS estimates a 22 percent increase in jobs for the second decade of the 21st century, well above the 14 percent average growth rate for all jobs.

As of 2010, the BLS records approximately 410,000 individuals employed as insurance sales agents, projecting that number to top 500,000 professionals by the end of the decade. 

Insurance sales agents must be familiar with the licensing requirements in the state where they work. Many states require agents to maintain continuing education requirements, completing and submitting licensing forms to maintain their credentials. Related fees must also be paid and a copy of the state insurance license carried with them wherever they go.

Author Information
This is a guest post by Andrew Koh, a professional with more than 18 years of experience in the Life Insurance industry. You can follow him at Plan For It, a Singapore insurance website, where he shares his insights on insurance and the insurance sales career.

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One Comment on "Hot Career: Insurance Sales Agents"

  1. Snow 2016/04/25 at 10:34 pm ·

    I’m imseesprd. You’ve really raised the bar with that.

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