Obtaining an insurance license is the first step towards a career in a robust and growing American industry. While the current U.S. economy is trying to recover from our recent recession, the insurance industry has remained unscathed. In fact, quiet the contrary. The employment rate for licensed insurance agents is projected to increase 12% over the next 7 years and will be in demand as the population continues to increase in size, as well as age.
A Health and Life Insurance sales agent, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is often
The first contact a consumer has with an insurance company. The purpose of the agent is to help individuals, families, and businesses select insurance policies that provide the best protection for their lives, health, and property.
In short, an insurance agent, also known as a ‘producer’ is the key person between the applicant and insurer. How well the agent interacts with the potential client, the depth and professionalism of the presentation, and the accuracy in collecting health information and filing a complete application all determine the outcome of the insurer’s relationship with the general public. Acting as a fiduciary, the agent plays a vital role in the success of the insurance company.
A licensed agent has many options from which to choose when searching for employment in the insurance industry. Let’s examine several of the opportunities available to licensed insurance agents.
Captive Career Agent – Also known as a ‘captive agent,’ is an individual who’s sole purpose is to solicit insurance for a single insurance company. This agent represents the insurance company and promotes its products to the general public. An advantage to being a career agent is the amount of support provided as well as company training and promotional materials given to the career agent. Career agents account for a majority of insurance sales.
Non-captive Career Agent – Also known as an ‘independent agent,’ is an individual who represents the customer, and sells through multiple insurance companies. Though this agent is paid commission by the insurer, the agent’s responsibility is to provide the best insurance plan based on the needs of the applicant. Many independent agents work on their own or through insurance agencies that provide a work setting, such as a call center.
Managing General Agent (MGA) – After working in the industry and gaining enough experience, an insurance producer may hire and train additional agents to work under he or she, in turn, receiving an override commission on each sub-agent’s sales in addition to his or her own commissions. An MGA is essentially an agent who manages additional agents to perform the same sales duties, thus helping the insurance company achieve additional sales.
Personal Producing General Agent (PPGA) – Similar to an MGA where sub-agents are managed and an override commission is paid to the PPGA. A PPGA is essentially an extension of serveral insurance companies. Some insurers provide both technical and marketing support to help aid in sales production. Sub-agents are usually employed by the PPGA, but receive commissions from the various insurers that are marketed through the PPGA.
Internet-based Producers – In recent years, many insurance companies have turned to online marketing as a more efficient ways of marketing their products. Internet marketing has greatly reduced insurer overhead and marketing costs, as well as provided for quicker policy approval by expediting the entire insurance process. Internet marketing has allowed agents to market insurer products to customers in multiple states (in which the agent is licensed) and has provided for larger accumulated commissions for agents.
Agent sales are no longer limited to the area in which he or she lives and as a result, annual income for insurance agents has been rising. Referring back to the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Technology—specifically, the Internet—has greatly affected the insurance business, making the tasks of obtaining price quotes and processing applications and service requests faster and easier. The Internet has made it easier for agents to take on more clients and to be better informed about new products.
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