Author Archives: National Online Insurance School

Knowing When to Schedule Your State Insurance Exam

With the amount of information you need to know in order to be prepared for your insurance license exam, it is common to question whether or not you have spent enough time studying to take the next step and schedule your state exam.  To alleviate this anxiety and help guide you through your online course, we developed an individualized Pass Report to gauge your readiness for the state exam.

Your Pass Report is similar to a personal instructor, guiding you through the course by illustrating the areas that need additional study time, as well as tracking and reporting your progress as you move through the course.  Your Pass Report allows you to see how much time you have spent in each lesson within the course, your final exam, exam simulator results and your overall preparation for the state exam. Read More


How to Streamline Your Insurance Exam Preparation

The state insurance exam consists of various concepts that educate individuals on the insurance industry and how insurance products work so that they may properly advise clients when selling insurance.  Topics covered on the exam include basic and advanced insurance concepts and principles, an overview of the insurance industry, agent responsibilities, and state insurance laws and regulations.

While each concept is important to understand in order to pass the insurance exam, some concepts will be more heavily questioned on the exam than others.

In preparing for the insurance exam, every state provides an ‘Examination Content Outline’ which lists the number of questions on the exam, the time limit in which the exam must be completed and the insurance concepts and topics tested on during the exam.

The Exam Content Outline also illustrates the percentage, or number of questions, of each section of the exam.  For example, questions about Social Security might only total 2% of the insurance exam, while questions regarding state-specific laws and regulations may total 10% of the exam.  This is significant because it acknowledges the sections of the outline that contain more questions, allowing you to streamline your insurance exam preparation in a more efficient manner.

Let’s review a few exam outlines to see how the process works: Read More


Top Insurance License Exam Tips

Insurance-Exam-Tips

Are you a good test taker? Or, like many, do you cringe at the thought of having to pass an exam? Most people would agree that it can be stressful, takes time to study and prepare for the exam, and quite frankly, something they would rather not have to undergo.

I cringe at the thought of taking an exam!!

Preparing for the Test

Though it may seem somewhat overwhelming at first, preparing for and taking the state health and life insurance exam is NOT that difficult. In fact, most agents who take the exam admit that it was easier than they imagined. The reason was that they were prepared for the exam by learning and understanding the basic concepts of health and life insurance.

The concepts in health and life insurance are universal throughout the United States, even though each state enacts laws that govern it’s own insurance regulations.  Having an understanding of the basic concepts allows you to answer questions logically.

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How to Renew an Insurance License

Need to renew your insurance license?  As a multiple state licensing and renewal provider, Sircon offers online licensing renewal services that allows you to electronically submit renewal applications to each state you need to renew.

Step 1

Visit Sircon.com, and click on “Learn more about our products for agents” located in the red “Individual Agents” box.Sircon Online

 

Click on the link “Renew your license” on the left side of the page located under the Quick Links menu. Read More


How to Apply for an Insurance License

Applying for an insurance license has become easier to do as most states now provide for online licensing.  As a multiple state licensing provider, Sircon  offers online licensing services that provides you with a quick and efficient online application process in order to obtain your insurance license.

Step 1

Visit Sircon.com, and click on “Learn more about our products for agents” located in the red “Individual Agents” box.insurance application

 

Once there, click on “Apply for a license” located on the left side of the page under the Quick Links menu. Read More


How to get Insurance Referrals

Insurance Referrals

As a licensed insurance agent, I often asked myself

How do I ensure long-term success in the insurance industry?

Very simple…If you ask for referrals, you will receive them. This may seem simple, but often times it is the least favorite and most forgotten task to accomplish when selling insurance. Some may think that asking for referrals is intrusive or uncomfortable, others have no problem asking, but are quick to blow it off when they hear any version of “no.” Whatever the case, these individuals often times end their insurance careers prematurely because they just can’t find enough customers to keep selling…and there in lies the dilemma with a successful insurance career. Read More


Selling the Correct Amount of Insurance

When selling life insurance, it is important to understand the client’s needs for protection against financial loss.  One of the primary purposes of life insurance is to provide a stream of income for the surviving family beneficiaries if and when the insured breadwinner dies during the policy’s term.  As such, knowing the correct amount of life insurance to fulfill the family’s living needs is vital to providing the necessary funds to maintain the family’s lifestyle and future financial security.

While we would all love to have multi-million dollar life insurance policies to give to our loved ones when we pass away, the premium costs involved would be quite expensive and unrealistic.  In contrast, not providing financial protection for our families in the event of our premature death is not a situation in which we would ever want to put our family.

So, how does a life insurance agent know what amount of life insurance is necessary to satisfy the client’s financial needs?

While everyone has different lifestyles and respective financial needs, several general factors should be considered when providing a client with a financial assessment and respective life insurance recommendation.

The following financial factors should be considered:

  • Medical bills and final expense costs (burial) of the deceased insured
  • Home mortgage and estate or property taxes (these payment don’t stop when the breadwinner dies!)
  • Ongoing utilities and other home maintenance costs
  • Any debts incurred by the deceased breadwinner or surviving family (car loans, college loans)
  • Cost-of-living needs including food, clothing, and home supplies, health and life insurance payments for the surviving family, medical bills, schooling costs, and any other common ongoing family expenses

In addition to providing financial security to surviving members’ cost-of-living expenses, an insurance agent should also assess the family’s long-term financial needs such as: Read More


Job Opportunities for Licensed Insurance Agents

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.

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Selling the Correct Health Plan

Health insurance is a vital component to the financial security of any American citizen.  Without it we take the chance of severely and permanently disrupting our financial well-being in the event of a major or catastrophic medical event.

The entire purpose of health insurance is to prevent financial ruin due to a catastrophic medical event such as a heart attack, stroke, catastrophic injury, or any other event that leads to major medical expenses.  It is important to choose the correct type of health plan to prevent this financial scenario and it is the job of the licensed insurance agent to help the applicant apply for the best health plan to fit the applicant’s needs.

A major medical policy includes the following:

  • Lifetime benefits maximum
  • Deductible
  • Coinsurance
  • Stop-loss and out-of-pocket maximums
  • Co-payments
  • Policy limitations and exclusions

In soliciting the correct health insurance policy to clients, it is important to research the correct insurance carriers.  The most popular carriers provide for national coverage, meaning that they protect the insured anywhere they may travel throughout the U.S.  While there are hundreds of insurance companies that offer health coverage, generally it is best to select among the largest, most prominent carriers available. Read More


The Insurance Agent

Life and health insurance is commonly transacted through insurance Producers known either as insurance agents or insurance brokers.  An insurance Agent is authorized by and on behalf of an insurance company to transact life and health insurance.  The insurance company is often referred to as the Principal or Insurer.

An insurance Broker works on behalf of, and is compensated by, the client to transact insurance with, but not on behalf of, an insurance company.  Life and health insurance can be transacted through both agents and brokers, though most states only allow for the licensure of insurance agents, while brokers are more common with property and casualty insurance.

Passing an insurance licensing exam and obtaining an insurance license are the first steps into the insurance industry.  The next step an insurance agent must take is to obtain ‘express authority’ by contracting with each insurance company the agent intends to sell insurance on behalf of and becoming ‘appointed’ by those insurance companies.

 

Producer Appointments

An Appointment is a legal contract between an insurance company and a licensed agent by which the insurance company gives an agent the Express Authority to conduct insurance business on behalf of the insurer in exchange for compensation, referred to as Commission.

An agency contract defines the terms in which both the agent and insurance company will interact with each other as well as to the industry.

This generally includes the advertising and solicitation guidelines for the company, medical underwriting guidelines to help ensure correct application submission from the field, commission structure for the agent and any other specific regulations of the company, as well as the rights of the agent, under the contract.

In addition to the ‘express authority’ given to an agent through the company’s contract, marketing and selling insurance products, as well as maintaining clients is often performed on a ‘presumed authority’ basis.  Two types of presumed authority are ‘implied’ and ‘apparent’ authority.

 

Types of Agent Authority

1.  Express Authority – Defined as the contractual agreement between an insurance company and an agent to market and sell the insurer’s products.  An agent’s express authority is clearly defined in words through the company’s contract, or appointment, with the agent.

2.  Implied Authority – Defined as the general Read More