Auto insurance agents sell insurance policies that protect individuals from loss relating to automobile accidents. Coverage includes costs resulting from property damage, liability costs, and medical expenses. Some agents may also sell other property and casualty insurance, such as those covering loss from theft, storms and fires. Agents play an important role in assessing risk, determining who receives insurance coverage, and choosing premiums for policyholders.
Auto insurance agents typically work for auto insurance companies, brokerage firms, or for a specific insurance carrier, contracting out individual and commercial policies.
Insurance companies typically look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, or economics; although high school graduates with prior sales experience may be eligible for entry-level jobs. Additional courses in mathematics, marketing, accounting, business administration, and business law could also prove beneficial for individuals entering this field.
All auto insurance agents are required to complete state licensure programs that require classroom instruction and the passing of a series of exams. Some companies will also pay for auto insurance agents to earn the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, which requires college coursework and substantial prior experience in the insurance field.
Insurance agents provide a link between insurance companies and policyholders. They should be detail-oriented, demonstrate good judgment, and have excellent communication skills. Additionally, agents typically perform all or some of the following tasks:
Insurance agents work in an office environment, spending most of their 40-hour work week behind a desk.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for insurance analysts is expected to increase by 12% through the year 2018. Agents selling health and long-term care insurance and offering financial services are expected to benefit most from growth in the industry.
In a May 2008 government report put out by the Department of Labor, the average salary for an insurance agent was $45,500, with the median salary ranging from $33,000 to $68,500. Agents typically work on commission, receiving bonuses for meeting their sales quota.