Career in Life Insurance | How to Become an Independent Life Insurance Agent # ChetChat
How to Become a Life Insurance Agent
Though challenging, a career selling life insurance offers you the chance to earn top dollars in a recession-proof industry. In addition, agents accrue other benefits, such as the personal satisfaction they feel when delivering a check to a family who’s just lost a loved one. With the right training and experience, and through sheer perseverance, you can become a life insurance agent and experience this satisfaction for yourself.
Getting the Right Education and Training
Earn a 4-year college degree in a relevant field.Although most life insurance agencies don’t have a formal education requirement, many prefer to hire college graduates. Consider earning a degree in a relevant field to make yourself a more competitive job candidate.
- Examples of relevant fields to earn a degree in might include marketing, business, or management.
- Any degree or certification that shows that you’re familiar with principles of marketing, business, and finance will make you a more competitive and qualified candidate.
Determine if you need to take a pre-licensing training course.Most states require life insurance agents to have completed a pre-licensing training course. Find out about your state’s licensing and education requirements by contacting the relevant state government department (e.g., Department of Insurance).
- Find out if you must complete a minimum number of hours of classroom instruction in areas like life insurance and health insurance, and ask if your state has a list of approved providers of life insurance education that you must complete training with.
- Inquire about continuing education requirements. For example, how often must you renew your license and what courses must you complete before renewal?
Register for and complete a pre-licensing training course if necessary.If your state requires it, register for a pre-licensing training course and complete it. Make sure you complete the course with a state-approved education provider.
- Most states, like Nebraska and California, will post all the relevant information about course requirements, including a list of pre-approved providers, on their Department of Insurance’s website.
- Would-be agents are usually required to complete 20 hours of a training course, 7.5 hours of which must be in-person. A typical course may cost between 0 and 0.
Take the state insurance licensing exam.After you’ve finished your training course, apply to take the licensing exam with your state’s Department of Insurance. You can register to take the exam online or over telephone, but you have to take the exam in person at an official test center.
- Note that some states also require license applicants to be sponsored by an employer. Check your state’s restrictions and guidelines before applying to take the exam.
- The exam will test your general knowledge of policies, state laws regarding insurance, and general knowledge about insurance concepts and terms. Request a list of recommended study aids from the agency that handles licensing and education for insurance agents to help you pass the exam.
- The test can be completed in 1 multi-hour sitting and you will be charged a small convenience fee for taking the test in the testing center.
Gaining Relevant Experience
Build experience that relates to being a life insurance agent.Most insurance companies train their new agents and thus don’t usually require prior industry experience. However, having experience in similar types of jobs will strengthen your application and make you stand out from the competition.
- For example, you might develop relevant skills, including communication skills, personability, and perseverance, by working as a used car salesperson.
- Life insurance agents meet with people from all walks of life and in various emotional states, including immediately following the death of a loved one. Consider volunteering at a hospice to gain useful experience in this area of interpersonal communication.
Volunteer in your community.Success as a life insurance agent partially depends on making connections within your community. Engage in community outreach and volunteering in your area to help foster these connections, as well as improve your interpersonal communication skills.
- Because life insurance agents often work with the elderly and the sick, consider volunteering in a hospice or elderly home. This will help you become more comfortable with conversations about mortality and develop the communication skills you’ll need to sell life insurance.
- Volunteer with an organization that goes door-to-door or talks to people on the street to help you overcome any lingering fears of public speaking or approaching strangers.
Look for training opportunities with insurance companies.Take an administrative or training position at an insurance company and seek opportunities to move up the ladder. This can help you gain entry into a company in a tremendous way.
- Contact insurance companies directly to find out about these opportunities. You should also periodically check the company’s job listing website, as they may post openings for trainees or other entry-level employees there.
- Try to get hired as a potential agent by an insurer that offers on the job training and compensates you during the training period. Although most applicants never make it past the screening stages, those who get accepted into a company’s training program receive a great deal of experience and financial support as they learn their trade.
Finding a Job as an Insurance Agent
Research agencies and companies you might want to work at.Before sending out your application, determine which agencies are the best fit for you (e.g., they’re in a good location, offer competitive employee benefits, etc.). Also check to make sure you meet the hiring qualifications for each company.
- For example, many companies have additional requirements for job candidates or for agents to follow after being hired. Make sure you’re aware of any extra responsibilities certain companies place on their insurance agents.
- Some agencies will also hire you before you’ve obtained your license. Consider applying to these companies before you’ve taken your licensing exam to get a jump start on your career.
- To find out more about companies’ pedigrees, visit the insurance company rating websites for Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Companies with less than an “A” rating tend to have more complaints against them and may not be good for you to work for.
Put together a competitive resume.The resume you submit as part of your application should highlight all the qualities you possess that would make you a better life insurance agent. These qualities include persistence, an entrepreneurial spirit, and being a self-starter.
- If you’ve ever established your own business or advanced someone else’s business in a significant way, include this on your resume as reflective of your entrepreneurial spirit.
- Any job, educational achievement, or other accomplishment in the face of sizable obstacles should be included on your resume to showcase your persistence and perseverance. These are both absolutely necessary qualities in a life insurance agent.
Apply to a wide range of companies.You should apply to as many companies as you can for the best chance of securing a job. The more applications you have out, the better your odds are of receiving a stellar job offer at a company you’d enjoy working at.
- Contact insurance carriers and brokerages for information about employment opportunities if they don’t have any active postings. They may still want to hire you even if they aren’t trying to find new employees right now.
- Use online job search sites like Monster.com and Craigslist to look for job openings in your area.
- You should also post your resume to candidate search sites like LinkedIn or ZipRecruiter. A company may reach out to YOU to offer you a job!
Follow up on your application.Following up your application with a phone call is a good way to demonstrate your tenacity. In fact, many companies won’t even consider hiring a prospective agent if they don’t call about their application.
- In the phone call, thank the employer for their consideration, offer to provide any additional information that may be helpful in their hiring decision, and be sure to leave a phone number that they can reach you at.
- Make follow-up phone calls on a weekly basis until you hear an answer one way or another about your application.
Demonstrate your tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit in the interview.These are the most important factors that companies look for in potential agents. Talk up your persistent and entrepreneurial qualities in the interview and make it clear that you’re not the type that gives up on tough tasks easily.
- For example, you might relate a story about an experience in your life (e.g., starting your own business) where you were tenacious in the face of difficult obstacles and refused to give up on your goals. Personal narratives are very compelling and will help the interviewer get a sense of who you are as an individual rather than just an application.
- Describing your experience running a business would also be a good way to demonstrate your entrepreneurial spirit.
- Some of the key qualities to emphasize in your interview include persistence, focus, courage, and a genuine passion for helping people. Beyond being a salesperson, a life insurance agent is also someone who cares about what’s in the best interest of their client.
- Good life insurance agents will face a lot of rejection in their work and often have to go out of their comfort zone to make sales. During your interview, talk about how optimistic and courageous you are as a person to demonstrate your ability to stick with the job if you’re hired.
QuestionHow much will it cost to get my license?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerDepending on the state, the cost to get your license will be the sum total of the cost of your training course and the cost of your licensing examination. This varies from state to state, but it most likely wouldn't be more than 0-0 altogether.Thanks!
QuestionIs there an age cut off where agents no longer have to be recertified, like 70 years of age.wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerThis will ultimately depend on each state's individual requirements, but in general there doesn't seem to be a cutoff age.Thanks!
QuestionCan I be a life insurance agent if I m a green card holder and not yet a US citizen?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerThis will depend on each state's requirements for life insurance agents, but most do not seem to have a citizenship requirement.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I find more clients when I'm a life insurance agent?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerMany agents adopt door-to-door and cold-calling techniques to find more clients.Thanks!
QuestionCan I have my own insurance company without having to be qualifiedwikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerThis depends on each state's individual requirements, but in all likelihood, probably not.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need to pass an exam for every insurance company whose policy I want to sell?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerYour licensing and examination requirements will vary from state to state, but in general, most states will require you to pass a licensing exam.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need experience to work as an insurance agent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you do not need experience to become a insurance agent. All you need is a hardworking attitude and a willingness to succeed.Thanks!
QuestionCan I become a life insurance agent with low credit score?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can be a life insurance agent in spite of your low credit score. All you need to do is to pass your life Insurance test and become a licensed agent.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I become a licensed life insurance agent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEach state has different requirements and licensing procedures. Some states require pre-licensing courses and some do not. All states require that you pass a subject-matter-based exam to get a license. The first step is to research what the requirements are for your state.Thanks!
QuestionCan I become a life insurance agent if I am not a permanent resident of a particular state?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. You have to take the test for that state because the life insurance may be different.Thanks!
Where can I get the online test?
I am a Canadian resident with no license. Can I get life insurance in New York?
Can I apply for the life insurance test if I am a paroled ex-convict?
Is it possible to get a job selling life insurance if I have a DUI on my record from a decade ago?
- While you are young, you can ask the local insurance firm if you could work for them just for experience. It does not have to be anything big, just simple things like shredding papers, copying files, getting people coffee, etc. This will give you some experience and you could put it on your resume. It will also help you to get to know people and they'll be better placed to advise you and even recommend you for jobs later on.
Video: Insurance Information : How to Become an Insurance Agent
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Chopra now splits her time between New York, Mumbai, Los Angeles, and Montreal, where Quantico films