Insurance Agent Career At-a-Glance

By: Kaplan Financial Education
March 7, 2019
umbrella representing insurance protecting an area from rain

Are you considering a career in the insurance industry? If you are looking for more information about the profession, you are in the right place. Find out more about what the day-to-day of an insurance industry professional is like, as well as the expected job growth over the next decade below.

What Do Insurance Agents Do?

Insurance agents sell one or more types of insurance for insurance companies. The role of an insurance agent is to help clients understand differences in insurance policies and help them choose what plans are best suited for them. Typical job duties for insurance agents include:

  • Call potential clients to drive new business
  • Meet with potential clients to discuss their existing coverage and insurance needs
  • Explain various insurance policy options
  • Analyze clients’ current insurance plans and suggest changes/additions
  • Process policy renewals
  • Help clients settle insurance claims

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Important Skill Sets for Insurance Agents

  • Customer Service: At the core of being an insurance agent is helping prospective and current clients understand and choose insurance plans.
  • Sales and Marketing: An insurance agent will also have to routinely call prospective clients and set up meetings to get details about their finances and goals.
  • Analytical Abilities: It is important for insurance agents to be able to analyze risk and benefits of all policy options for clients.
  • Self-Motivated: Being an insurance agent means being able to take initiative, recognize opportunities, and continually follow up with prospective and current clients.
  • Commitment to Life-Long Learning: Insurance policies and state regulations are constantly changing. It is important for insurance agents to stay up-to-date on industry and regulation changes.

Along with skill sets, there are traits that can help you succeed. Learn about them here.

Job Outlook for Insurance Agents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of insurance sales agent is expected to increase by 10% from 2012 to 2022. This is higher than other sales and related occupations, which are expected to grow by 7%.

Employment growth should be even higher for agents selling health and long-term care insurance due to the aging population. There is also more opportunity for growth as more people have access to health insurance from federal health insurance reform legislation.

How Much Do Insurance Agents Make?

The median annual wage for insurance sales agents was $49,710 in May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% were paid less than $27,180 and the top 10% earned over $$125,190.

Insurance agents are often paid in one of three ways: salary only, salary and commission, or salary plus bonus. In some situations, agents who do financial planning receive a fee for their services instead of commission.

Commissions are a common form of payment, particularly with more experienced insurance agents. The amount of commission varies on the type and amount of insurance sold, and whether it is a renewal or new policy. Bonuses are sometimes given to agents when individual or agency sales goals are met.

How Do You Become an Insurance Agent?

The process for becoming an insurance agent depends on what lines of authority you want to sell and what states you want to sell in. You also have to pass prelicensing exams. For more information on becoming an insurance agent, visit our article on this topic. If you're thinking of becoming licensed, exam preparation can help.


Free eBook: Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence

As an aspiring insurance professional, wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down with a room full of successful insurance veterans and ask them for their advice? The Kaplan Financial Education team interviewed over 100 insurance professionals to develop this exclusive eBook for those who are considering the insurance industry.