Insurance agents, also known as insurance brokers, work in the financial services industry where they link clients with insurance providers. They also focus on helping clients choose insurance policies that suit their needs. If you possess superior communication skills and would love to pursue a career that has a wide range of flexible benefits, you could consider becoming an insurance agent.
What do Insurance Agents do?
Insurance agents usually specialize in specific fields. Retail insurance agents deal with general insurance cover, such as property damage, business interruption, pets and homes, while commercial insurance agents focus on high-value assets, such as airplanes and ships.
The typical tasks of insurance agents include:
- Collecting information from clients to evaluate their insurance needs and financial abilities
- Conducting market research to compare the features of insurance policies from several insurance companies
- Explaining the features of various insurance policies to clients
- Submitting clients’ details to insurance providers
- Handling policy renewals and maintaining clients’ records
- Providing assistance to clients filing insurance claims.
Insurance agents are mainly office-based where they work from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. They spend their time reviewing paperwork and contacting clients through telephone and email. Insurance agents may also travel to various destinations, especially when required to hold face-to-face meetings with clients.
The following table highlights the amount of money insurance agents make at various career levels.
£15,000 - £23,000
Newly qualified agents
£23,000 - £38,000
£38,000 - £70,000
Source: National Careers Service
Because most insurance agents are entitled to commissions and bonuses based on the number of businesses they generate, hardworking and experienced agents with high-value clients can make up to £100, 000 annually.
Education and Training
There are several paths to becoming an insurance agent. After completing secondary education, for instance, you can look for an insurance technicians’ job at an insurance company and work your way up as you secure industry qualifications, such as the Foundation Insurance Test (FIT) Award in Insurance. If you choose this route, it is essential to note that most employers prefer applicants who possess GCSE’s in math, English and business studies at grades A to C.
Alternatively, you can enter the profession through an insurance apprenticeship program. Although there aren’t any entry requirements into this program, it is also preferable to possess GCSE’s in English and math at grades A to C.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or mathematics enables you to join a large insurance firm’s training scheme, leading to a full-time job.
Important Skills, Interests and Competencies
- Strong spoken and written communication skills
- Good record-keeping skills
- Attention to detail
- Strong negotiating skills
- Strong research skills
- Adequate knowledge of insurance and financial markets
Professional certifications are key career progression tools for insurance agents. The Chartered Insurance Institute offers a variety of certifications for general insurance brokers, as well as those looking to provide regulated insurance services, such as such as health insurance, mortgage protection, life assurance or pensions.
These certifications include;
- Level 3 Certificate in Insurance
- Diploma in Insurance
- Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII)
- Certificate in Life and Pensions
- Certificate in Mortgage Advice
- Certificate in Securities Advice and Dealing
With 5 years of work experience and the ACII qualification, you will achieve Chartered Insurance Broker status, which enhances your professional standing.
To provide broking services in the London Insurance Market, or to become a “Lloyd’s broker," you must complete the Lloyd’s and London Market Introductory Test, which is offered through the Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Award in Lloyd’s and London Market Insurance. The CII’s Level 3 Award in London Market Insurance is a suitable alternative.
Insurance agents can find jobs in the following settings;
- Insurance brokerages
- Insurance firms
- Travel arrangement and reservation firms
- Outpatient care centers
- Real estate agencies
With the UK’s general business industry booming, the National Careers Service forecasts creation of over 228,000 new jobs for business professionals between 2014 and 2020. Evidently, aspiring insurance agents have solid employment prospects.
Finally, success as an insurance broker doesn’t come on the cheap. It takes time, honesty and integrity to convince a client to take your advice. Therefore, you need to learn how to deal with potential rejections.