Insurance agents sell insurance policies and play an important role in assessing risk, determining who receives insurance coverage and choosing premiums for policyholders. Most insurance analysts specialize in selling life, health, mortgage, or property and casualty insurance policies.
Agents typically work for insurance companies, brokerage firms, or for an insurance carrier, contracting out individual and group insurance policies for both personal and commercial use.
Most insurance companies look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or economics. Courses in mathematics, accounting, business law, marketing, and business administration could also prove beneficial for individuals entering this field.
All insurance agents are required to be licensed in the state where they work. Most licensure programs include mandatory classes and several exams. Even after completion of those requirements, insurance agents are often required to enroll in continuing education courses.
Insurance agents provide a link between insurance companies and policyholders. They 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 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 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.