How Agents Are Evolving

The insurance industry, and the agents that champion it, are affected by change, just like any other business. However, the changes are slow in coming. With advances in technology, most people can buy anything with their phones–on the comfort of their own couch.

light bulb to show agents evolving with ideas
It’s a bright idea to keep your skill sharp. You don’t want to fall behind in your industry.

While captive agents are aligned with the more traditional insurance narratives, independent agents are seeing more freedom in how they interact with their client base. However, each niche in the industry is affected by market trends, and the smart agent stays on top of them.

Technology

As we talked about earlier, smartphones have changed a lot. People don’t even have to own a computer now to research insurance policies, contact agents, and have conversations about their purchases. We’ve got a faster, better-informed generation of people looking for coverage.

Apps have bashed their way in, drawing a huge number of consumers with their conveniences. Basically, as people use technology to buy things in new ways, they’ll expect many industries to adapt to them. If you’re an insurance firm looking to break into a new market, look at what Uber is doing and try to adopt a similar model.

Local vs. Social Media

With the information exchange, it can be hard to decide on a venue to focus on. For agents, the local scene was the best place to invest time and resources. You could capitalize on word-of-mouth and local ads to gain a client base.

However, now everyone can use a search engine to find information. So, it’s no longer about just your local clients. Now, a new obstacle is balancing them with a wider, online audience.

With a new digital era comes a shift in trust. People want to see someone with a user profile online, so they can check out the agent before contacting them. A trustworthy profile on any social media is one asset any marketer can benefit from having.

However, with important purchases like insurance, it is still important for a local presence. While there are more ways to gather information, people still find comfort in speaking face to face with someone.

In essence, agents should evolve to embrace both worlds.

social media on handheld device for agents to use
You can run a successful business all in the palm of your hand! You just need to streamline the apps that are most useful.

Terminology

The big terms defining the insurance industry are now less defined. A decade ago, you could rely on terminology like “captive, direct channel, or independent agent,” now it’s not as black and white.

It’s become easier and more lucrative to work across industry channels. Captive agents find their companies talking with independent ones more. This is driven by the consumer base. With clients shopping around so much, and with a wider variety of brokers, it makes sense that the entire industry would become more fluid.

All of these together make up the power shift from underwriters to distribution (insurance agencies). In years past, underwriters were the real moneymakers when it came to policy sales. Now? Insurance agents are holding more power and more responsibility.

 

2020 Guide to an Agent’s License

So, you want to be an agent? Congrats on choosing a stable, respected career! Becoming one is fairly simple, and the process can be completed in under a month. You just need a set of educational hours and a license under your belt, then you can start practicing on your own as an independent agent, or you could apply to a local agency to join a team.

Whether you seek to work in a company or go solo, what separates the wanna-be’s from the success stories is a license. Insurance is a complicated subject, and the boards that watch over the industry don’t want amateurs selling policies. Therefore, licenses are there for people’s protection.

person with notebook and document studying to get an insurance agent license
Study, study, study. Like any good exam, it’s only there to prepare you for the job. Make sure you know your stuff!

If you want to get a license yourself, we have detailed the steps, so you can get yours quickly and efficiently. Remember that each state has its own requirements, so you’ll have to take a look at what your specific location’s Insurance Board says. The basic requirement is passing an exam, but each location has different ways to go about it.

For example, in Texas, there is a short process to follow:

  1. You have to take a course (which can be online) to learn the basics of the industry.
  2. Afterward, you find a testing facility and take the exam. The test ranges about 100 questions and usually takes about 2 hours to finish.

After passing, you are required to submit fingerprints. Then, you can apply for a license. The entire process is fairly straightforward.

While acquiring a license needs a passing score, one underlying requirement is continuing education. The industry you select could have a wide array of factors that play into selling policies in it. To keep your license, you’ll have to take more courses on top of the first exam.

Licensing, exams, and everything else can seem like a big group of obstacles. However, the upward climb to becoming a full agent, like anything worth doing, takes a bit of time. Just plan to study, get web-savvy, and pour your passion into it. After you check off everything on your list, you’ll be celebrating your new agent license!

 

How to Become an Insurance Agent the Right Way

Joining the market as an agent can be super easy, and an amazing opportunity. Anyone has time to do it, but to do it the right way requires self-knowledge, research, finesse, and, of course, a license.

We’ll talk more about licenses over later. Acquiring one properly should only take a few weeks, after that, the wide world of insurance opens up for you! It can be daunting without a good starting point.

people working hard in an office with a laptop and notepad to become an agent
Want to work in an agency or on your own? You get to decide going in what you’d like!

Self-Knowledge

Why do you want to become an agent? This should be the first question you ask yourself. Your answer can range from “helping people protect their property” to “gainful employment.” There is no shame in seeking a job for the money, and this industry can pay well.

After that, you should ask yourself if you have what it takes. An agent is the persuasive face of the company, driving profits by being an expert salesperson. If you’re extroverted, thrive in competitive environments, and are goal-oriented, then half the battle is won.

Research

Before you begin your journey, research the industry thoroughly so you know where you’re going and how to get there.

The first decision is your preferred type of agent. You can become either captive or independent, but as you look, you’ll see even those terms can intertwine. A captive agent is one hired by one agency to sell their specific insurance whereas an independent agent has more independence.

Basically, this step can narrow down which licenses you’ll look for and which jobs you can apply for. For example, if you choose captive, then you should look into which companies in your area are hiring for new agents.

After this, looking into each insurance is a must. Commercial insurance is a popular choice with many coverage types to learn about. Try to focus on one. The more knowledgeable you are about something, the more people are inclined to trust you.

Special note: Each state has its own requirements, so make sure to check your location’s specific regulations.

Finesse

An agent is a salesperson. So, one skillset to build even before you begin the licensing journey is how to market well. This includes more than just in-person conversation. For a new industry agent, learning how to market well online is a top-dollar skill. Acquiring a college education in finance or sales can help you here.

target with dart in it displaying how accurate it is to become an agent
It’s easy to hit the target once you’re pointed in the right direction.

If you add brand awareness, social media marketing, and other web-based marketing platforms to your resume, your appeal as a candidate will grow. Insurance companies will be on the lookout for people that are not only good at closing deals but also bringing in new people.

Your journey as an agent can be a simple process. Many courses online offer free advice on building your market, apply those to your passions, stay consistent, and build your knowledge base, then you’ll become the next top agent on the market.

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