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Why and How to Become an Insurance Agent

Why and How to Become an Insurance Agent text overlaying image of an agent shaking hands with a client

Why and How to Become an Insurance Agent text overlaying image of an agent shaking hands with a clientIf you’ve come to a point in life where you’re thinking about starting your career or simply need a change. Becoming a licensed insurance agent could be a great decision. Being an insurance agent has an array of benefits, but just like most other jobs, you can’t just jump in. If you’re wondering what it takes to become an agent, look no further. In this article we will discuss the upsides of having a career as an insurance agent. And we will describe in detail the path that one needs to take to make the dream a reality. 

Pros of Being an Agent

You might not think of insurance as the most intriguing industry, but choosing a career path as an agent can pay off with a number of benefits

Job Security

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and AARP, by 2028 50% of the insurance workforce will retire. What does this mean for you? Plenty of job opportunities, that’s what! On the flip side, according to The Hartford, only about 4% of millennials have an interest in working in the insurance industry. These stats provide much promise for up and coming people, or individuals in search of a new path. 

Flexibility

As a licensed agent you will have the flexibility to choose what types of products you want to sell. For example, if you get licensed as a health agent, you can pick between products like Medicare or Under-65 insurance. Or if you get licensed in life insurance, there are various options such as selling final expenses, cancer insurance and more. Additionally, since much of your day will revolve around meeting with clients. You will be able to dictate when you want to go into the office or stay at home with your family. 

Helping Others

One of the greatest benefits of working with insurance is seeing the smile on someone’s face when you’re able to help them get a great coverage policy. For most people, insurance is thought of negatively — as something that is confusing and expensive. As an agent, you will be able to make the process easy for your clients. Helping them through often difficult times. For people who have serious health circumstances, by getting them insured you will be saving them thousands of dollars and mitigating their stress.

It’s Easy to Start

In order to start the process you only need a high school diploma or equivalent and no experience is necessary. The entire process can take as little as a few weeks if you work diligently!

Steps to Become an Agent 

Now that you have learned all of the pros and opportunities that the insurance industry has to offer. We can dive into what you need to do to make it happen! 

1.Understand the Requirements

  • We’ve already established the educational requirements of becoming a licensed insurance agent— you simply need a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • To become an agent you will need to be at least 18 years of age. 
  • You’ll need to pass a background check. The specifics of this will vary depending on the states that you’re in. In some cases it can even include fingerprinting. 
  • You’ll be required to complete prelicensing education that depends on the type of insurance you wish to sell. The number of hours required and cost of this education will also vary from state to state. 
  • You will need to pass the state insurance licensing exam.
  • Additionally, you may be required to participate in continued education when it comes time to renew your license. 

2.Decide on a Specialization

One of the first decisions that you will need to make is deciding on what type or types of insurance that you want to sell. Within the industry, these specializations are called “lines of authority.” There are many different lines of authority, each with pros and cons, so be sure to research the ones that you’re interested in. To help start this process, we’ve put together a list of some of the more common insurance types:

 

  • Health Insurance: Involves selling medical insurance, disability, Medicare plans, as well as long-term care policies. 
  • Life Insurance: Involves selling policies that will provide security for the beneficiary(s) if the insured person is to die. 
  • Commercial Insurance: Generally involves selling policies to businesses so they will be protected in the case of some type of loss. This can include property and casualty policies, workers compensation, and more. 
  • Personal Lines Insurance: This includes products such as auto, homeowners, renters, boat, and motorcycle insurance. Personal lines deal with individual consumers only. 

3.Pick a State and Research Requirements

As we’ve explained, each state has its own set of requirements and regulations for the licensing process. With that said, it’s now time for you to decide whether you want to sell insurance in your home state or another state. Keep in mind that you can also sell insurance in multiple states as long as you abide by the rules respectively.

 

Once, you’ve picked your state(s), research the department of insurance for the state rules. Different states have different names for their insurance regulating bodies, so to make things easier, go to your state’s official website and search for “insurance licensing rules.” Keep an eye for any downloadable handbooks that the site may offer. This will tell you the exact number of educational hours you may need, as well as information pertaining to exam registration, exam location, exam scores, and distribution of licenses. Each site should also include information about the continuing education that you may need to renew your license. 

4.Complete Education and Prepare for the Exam 

Now that you’ve done all the background research, picked your line of authority, and state, it’s time to complete your pre-licensing education. Though you will get tons of experience once you actually join an agency, these courses will stand as the backbone of your insurance career. Though course material will vary depending on location, in general they will cover topics like insurance policies, ethics, regulations, customer interactions, underwriting and more.

 

With this foundation in place you will be very close to taking your state exam. But first you’ll need to study. The final exam will test your knowledge on the principles of insurance, specific laws and practices. What’s great is that there are lots of study materials available via textbooks, online courses and practice exams. It’s important that you take this step seriously. And put in a sufficient amount of hours that are purely dedicated to key concepts and insurance terminology. Another great way to prepare is to join a study group, or to seek out a mentor who has been in the industry for some time already. 

5.Research Agencies 

Though you might think that this step would occur after you pass your state exam, it’s beneficial to do research ahead of time. Some agencies have specific requirements for hiring candidates that you’ll want to keep in mind before your exam. Other agencies might actually hire you before you even have a license. Oftentimes, these types of agencies will have their own processes you need to follow. Other things to consider when looking at potential agencies are the products that they sell, the commission or salary structure, the size of the agency, and their reputation. Another good characteristic to look for are agencies that offer developmental opportunities like ongoing education or mentorship programs. Additionally, it will pay off to research career paths within the agency. So, you can evaluate future opportunities to grow and be promoted. 

6.Pass the State Exam, Get Licensed, and Apply at Agencies

Now that you’ve done all your research, picked your state and specialization, and prepared sufficiently. You are ready to take and pass your state’s licensing exam. To schedule the exam you will need to go through your state’s insurance department or another authorized testing provider. In general the format of the exam consists of multiple-choice questions to focus mainly on the core insurance concepts. 

 

After successfully passing the exam you will now need to complete an application to obtain your insurance license. This is the part of the process where you will usually be required to pass a background check. Once you provide all the necessary application information and pay the application fees, you can submit your application and you’ll be on your way. You can now apply to agencies in your state and start your new career!

Closing Thoughts

Like most career paths, the road to becoming a licensed insurance agent takes hard work, perseverance, and many hours. But as they say, nothing worthwhile comes easy! By learning about the benefits of being an agent, understanding the general and specific state requirements, researching lines of authority, and preparing with study materials. You will put yourself in the best position to succeed. Whether you are fresh into adulthood and looking to establish yourself in an industry, or simply looking for a change. The insurance industry is constantly growing and offers the flexibility to fit almost anybody’s lifestyle. Becoming a licensed agent is one of the simplest career paths available with no college education required and a list of requirements that can be completed in no time. So if you’re interested in the field, wait no longer! It could be just the change you’ve been looking for. 

 

At Benepath we strive to provide insurance agents with top-quality, exclusive insurance leads to help boost their sales and return on investment. We offer data leads and inbound phone calls in several verticals. Including individual and group health, Medicare, life, and commercial insurance. All of our leads are produced in real-time and are guaranteed to help you get a leg up on the competition. If you are interested in purchasing leads from us or just want to learn more about our generation process, fill out a form or give us a call at 888-684-3121.

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