How do you become an effective independent insurance agent? Can you become an insurance agent with bad credit? What education requirements are needed to become an insurance agent? This article will answer your questions in detail.

The insurance industry is a big and profitable industry that has room large enough for any player to come in and make his or her first million dollars. If you are looking for ways to become your own boss and at the same make good money, then you should consider becoming an independent insurance agent.

There aren’t so many industries that offer new comers the opportunity to make 6-figure incomes especially in the first year. The insurance industry is one of the very few industries where you can make such huge amount of money if you are hard working and focused.

An insurance agent who wants to make such money must also be ready to be persistent because more often than not, insurance agents face rejection but a serious insurance agent must be ready to see rejection as a stepping stone to success.

Becoming an independent insurance agent does not necessarily require an experience in the insurance industry. If you have an experience in the insurance industry; good and fine, but if not, you can still do well as an independent insurance agent as long as you are a good salesman or saleswoman.

As an Independent insurance agent, you have the choice of the numbers of hours you want to work, you can set your own target yourself (that means you won’t be under any pressure to meet targets) and there is no limit to the amount you can earn per month. The truth is that if you are focused and are hard working, you can make a paid employee’s annual salary in one month.

It is important to state that as an independent insurance agent, you would be responsible for all your bills – the money required to go around canvassing for clients, the money required to make phone calls, and other expenses you might incur whilst trying to sell insurance cover.

Although you might likely receive some form of perk and support as an independent insurance agent when you represent some insurance companies. If you have made up your mind to become an independent insurance agent, then you need to go through the following steps:

To become an insurance agent, the first step is to decide on the type of insurance agent you want to become. There are four popular types of insurance agents namely:

  • Captive Insurance Agent-: A captive insurance agent would only work for, and sell insurance products of one single insurance company. They are not necessarily employees of the company they represent rather; they are agents who earn commission from selling products of the company. A captive insurance agent would usually have limited insurance packages and offer only one price for all their products.
  • Independent Insurance Agents-: Unlike the captive insurance agent, an independent insurance agent is not tied to a specific insurance company. An independent agent can work for as many insurance companies as possible and would usually offer several products with different prices.
  • Insurance Brokers-: An insurance broker doesn’t represent the insurance company; rather, he represents his customers and helps them to find the best insurance policies.
  • Direct writer-: This type of insurance agent works as a direct employee of an insurance company.

Two Ways to Operate as an Independent Insurance Agent

There are two ways to operate as an insurance agent; you can either be a home-based insurance agent who works from home and sells products using the internet or create your own office where you would sell insurance products to your clients.

If you are starting your insurance agency business on a limited budget, it would make more sense to start as a home-based insurance agent but you must be aware that having your own office would help to build the trust of your prospective clients and also boost the profile of your business. To become an insurance agent, these are the steps you should take:

11 Easy Steps to Become a Successful Insurance Agent from Home

1. Get Familiar with the Concept

It is important to take your time to familiarize yourself with the concept of independent insurance agent before choosing this line of business / career path. The truth is that it will do you a whole lot of good if you take your time to study those who are independent insurance agents in your area.

Part of what you need to look at for before making up your mind whether to become an independent insurance agent or not is to know whether they are making enough money to take care of their needs, and loads of other factors that can guide you in taking a good decision.

No doubt there are loads of independent insurance agent that are finding it difficult to make headway, but that does not deny the fact that there are also many other independent insurance agents who are making multiple thousands of dollars annually.

2. Know the educational requirements-: Although you do not necessarily need a university degree to become an insurance agent, getting a degree would put you ahead of the competition. Most insurance companies would require their agents to have a minimum of high-school diploma but some others would expect you to have a post-high school degree as well. To become an insurance agent, you can study any insurance, finance or business related course. You can also take degree courses on the internet.

3. Learn more about the industry-: Prior to entering into the insurance industry, you should try to spend time learning about the industry and the different types of insurance products available.

There are several types of insurance policies ranging from life insurance to health insurance, personal liability insurance, motor vehicle insurance and employees liability insurance to mention few. You have to familiarize yourself with these products and get to know more about the rules and regulations governing the insurance industry so that you can have more chances at success.

4. Choose a Specific Niche

To become an insurance agent, the first step is to decide on the type of insurance agent you want to become. There are four popular types of insurance agents namely:

  • Captive Insurance Agent-: A captive insurance agent would only work for, and sell insurance products of one single insurance company. They are not necessarily employees of the company they represent rather; they are agents who earn commission from selling products of the company. A captive insurance agent would usually have limited insurance packages and offer only one price for all their products.
  • Independent Insurance Agents-: Unlike the captive insurance agent, an independent insurance agent is not tied to a specific insurance company. An independent agent can work for as many insurance companies as possible and would usually offer several products with different prices.
  • Insurance Brokers-: An insurance broker doesn’t represent the insurance company; rather, he represents his customers and helps them to find the best insurance policies.
  • Direct writer-: This type of insurance agent works as a direct employee of an insurance company.

5. Acquire some experience-: Most people would prefer to work for an experienced insurance agent and most insurance companies also prefer to hire experienced professionals. Therefore, it is important that you work for an insurance company or to sign up for an internship program under an experienced insurance agent. This would help you learn more tips and tricks of the insurance industry and would put you in a better position to succeed.

6. Compare Several Insurance Company’s Requirements for Independent Agents

There are several insurance companies all over the world that are willing to work with independent insurance agents, as long as they meet their requirements. So, what you need to do is to compile the list of insurance companies that you would want to work with and go through their requirements to see if you can fit in.

The truth is that, if you register with some insurance company as their agent, you might not be allowed to sell any other insurance company’s product. Hence, you should endeavor to read through the contracts document of the insurance company you want to represent before taking your decision.

When making your comparison, make sure you choose to represent any insurance company whose brand and product is well accepted in the area you would want to work. It will indeed make your job easier and you won’t have to struggle much to convince clients to buy insurance cover from you.

7. Obtain an Insurance License

It is mandatory that for you to be allowed to sell insurance cover, you must apply and obtain an insurance license from your country of residence. In most states, you would be required to have a government issued license to practice as an insurance agent. As each state’s requirement is different, you should find out the specific requirements in the state where you want to practice.

As a matter of fact, you will be required to attend an approved pre-insurance licensing courses and write pass some examinations, before you can apply, be issued an insurance license and allowed to practice. Of course you will pay a fee for you to be able to attend this training.

8. Obtain Professional Certifications-: Another thing that would boost your profile as an insurance agent is to get professional certifications. There are several of such programs in different countries, just find one that you feel would be suitable for you and become a member. However, most of them would have you write some qualifying examinations so you should be prepared for it.

9. Rent a Small Office

As an independent insurance agent, there will be times when your clients may want to come to your office to discuss business. That is the reason why you must rent a small and decent office space. The purpose of your office is to carry out all your administrative jobs, and to meet with your clients when they request to have a meeting with you.

When shopping for an office, ensure that you choose a location that is in a business district. In case you don’t have enough money to rent a full office space to yourself, you can afford to share office with someone as long as it won’t affect your duties.

10. Become a Member of the Association of Independent Insurance Agents in your state or country

There are loads of benefits you stand to get when you join an association in your industry. Some of the benefits you stand to get are easy access to useful information, training and exposures, your interest will be protected; you can get business referrals, and loads of other benefits.

Although you would be required to pay registration fee at the point of entry and also you would be required to pay annual fees, but the truth is that, benefits you will get is sure greater than the money you will spend.

11. Be Detailed With Your Record Keeping

As an independent insurance agent, a lot depends on your ability to do proper documentation of your clients and the insurance cover you have sold. In as much as the insurance company you are representing will have all the records of the businesses you brought to them, but it will be to your advantage to always document on your own.

Sometimes you might be required to bring your records for reconciliations before you can be paid. So ensure that you have a secured cabin where you can file documents and also a computer to keep soft copies of all necessary data.

Getting Jobs or Contracts as an Insurance Agent

The insurance industry is quite easy to enter into and this is why it’s a very competitive career. For every 10 vacancies in the insurance industry, there are 1,000 people who are qualified and willing to clinch the job. Therefore, you must be prepared to stay ahead of the competition if you want to get a job as an insurance agent.

First, you must carefully package your resume in such a way that your strengths, qualifications and experiences would be highlighted. You must also be able to show through your resume that you have excellent marketing and entrepreneurial skills. Most insurance companies would want to hire people who have good selling skills and can convince people to buy their products.

When you have packaged your resume well, you can now start applying for jobs. Don’t always wait for the jobs to find you; go in search of jobs/contracts, check the internet for job listings, approach recruitment agents, send your resume to insurance companies, just do all you can to make sure you clinch your dream insurance job.

Another point to note when searching for insurance jobs is that the reputation of the company you work for can make or mar your career. If you work for an insurance company that has a bad reputation, doesn’t pay claims, has bad customer service; you would have a hard time selling their products and that would also affect your income.

So before you work for any insurance company, it would do you a lot of good to run a background check on the company by asking questions and getting reviews about the company from people or from the internet.