How to Become an Insurance Agent

Being an insurance agent is a rewarding career. Not only is there a significant amount of potential for growth and financial success, but you can also help people every day with the products that you sell.

If you’re just entering the job market, or if you’re thinking about a change in careers, it’s important to know the steps to take to become an insurance agent. Here are seven things you need to do if you want to sell insurance for a living.

As a leading Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO), Good Life Insurance Associates (GLIA) provides a full range of insurance products, services and tools to support your individual clients’ wants and needs. Let us help you establish and grow your insurance business! Learn More

1. Pick Your Education Path

To sell insurance, you do not need to have a formal college degree from an accredited college or university. At the same time, having an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in finance or business could help open up more possibilities within the insurance industry.

So, the first step to becoming an insurance agent is deciding how you will approach the education phase. Know that even if you do have a college degree, you will still need to go through the pre-requisites to become licensed to sell insurance in your state (more on that below).

2. Choose What Kind of Agent You Want to Be

There are two general categories of insurance agents:

Independent Insurance Agents

Independent insurance agents serve as brokers and work with multiple insurance companies to provide policies for their customers. They have the ability to shop policies from various companies to then bring to their customers as options.

Captive Insurance Agents

Captive insurance agents, meanwhile, work for one particular company. They get their training from the insurance agency and get support from the office in return. Captive agents only sell policies from that agency.

What’s Right for You?

While independent agents typically have more freedom and higher earning potential, there are some benefits to being a captive agent, too. There’s also nothing wrong with starting as a captive agent to gain experience in the field before branching out on your own to become an independent agent.

3. Choose Your Specialty

There are many different insurance policies you can sell. The most common are auto, home and life insurance.

In most states, you are required to get a separate license to sell each type of insurance. Step three, therefore, is to pick which types of insurance you’d like to sell, and then proceed with the necessary steps to obtain a license to sell it.

Don’t feel like you have to gain a license to sell every type of insurance policy under the sun. There are plenty of agents who specialize in only one or two types of insurance and do quite well for themselves. In fact, establishing yourself as a leader in a given niche can be a lucrative strategy for your business.

4. Complete All the License Requirements

Each state has a different set of licensing requirements for insurance agents. Most states require a set number of classroom hours to ensure agents are educated on the products they will sell. Some states also require a set number of hours to be educated on insurance and ethics codes for that state.

An increasing number of states are offering these courses online, and they often don’t have to be taken on a “full-time basis.” In other words, you can complete the required education hours over a number of months to best suit your schedule.

Once you have completed all the pre-license requirements, you can move on and take the official license test. Every state has specific testing requirements as well as fees associated with the test and various licensing processes.

If you want to see a state-by-state list of these requirements, visit the National Insurance Producer Registry.

5. Complete Other Requirements

Depending on your state, you may have to fulfill other requirements once you pass your insurance license exam. This could include undergoing a background check and/or being fingerprinted.

Some states will allow you to complete these steps before you take the exam, so you can hit the ground running once you receive your license to sell insurance.

6. Find a Job, Or Go Independent

Once you’ve reached this step, you are officially allowed to sell insurance in your state. Congratulations!

Now, you just need to find a job. As in any field, local insurance agencies will post job openings for various insurance agents. If you don’t see any online, you can always inquire directly with a local broker.

If you are interested in becoming an independent agent right from the get-go, you’ll need to build up your business from the ground-up. It will take a little more legwork, but you’ll need to set up your business name, branding and logistics before you start trying to acquire clients.

7. Stay Up to Date on Requirements

The education never stops for officially-licensed insurance agents. Almost all states require that insurance agents complete requirements for continuing education.

This allows agents to stay up-to-date on any new changes to laws and/or regulations that directly affect the industry. It also allows you to stay relevant and knowledgeable for all your customers.

Consider Working with an IMO

As a leading Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO), Good Life Insurance Associates (GLIA) provides a full range of insurance products, services and tools to support your individual clients’ wants and needs. We can help you establish and grow your business no matter where you are in the process.

We provide financial advisors and insurance agents in our network across the country with access to a full range of premium carriers, expert support services, and an industry-leading compensation plan. Contact us today to learn more.