Health insurance agents sell health insurance policies to individuals for medical costs and work-related injuries that result in loss of income. Some agents also sell dental policies and short- and long-term disability insurance. Agents play an important role in assessing risk, determining who receives insurance coverage, and choosing premiums for policyholders.
Health insurance agents typically work for health insurance companies, brokerage firms, or for a specific insurance carrier, contracting out individual and family policies.
Insurance companies typically look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, or economics. Additional courses in mathematics, marketing, accounting, business administration, and business law are also recommended for individuals entering this field. With prior sales experience, high school graduates may be eligible for entry-level jobs.
All health insurance agents are required to complete state licensure programs that require classroom instruction and the passing of a series of exams. Many licensing programs also mandate continuing education courses for insurance agents.
Insurance agents provide a link between insurance companies and policyholders. With the aid of advanced computer software, agents can increase their work load and spend less time contacting prospective clients. Agents may work for one company or several, finding insurance policies that best meet the needs of their clients.
In addition to selling insurance policies, many agents also offer various financial services, including retirement planning, estate planning, and pension plan development.
Insurance agents typically perform all or some of the following tasks:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for insurance agents is expected to increase by 12% through the year 2018. Agents selling health and long-term care insurance should benefit most from growth in the industry.
In a May 2008 government report published 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.