Picture this: you get to make your own schedule, you don’t have anyone to answer to directly, and you have a job that you love.
Do you dream of working for yourself? Does being an independent insurance agent and enjoying the freedom and flexibility, as well as the challenges that come with this career choice, sound appealing?
Continue reading this simple guide and learn how to become an independent insurance agent and be the best insurance agent possible.
What Exactly Is an Independent Insurance Agent?
An independent insurance agent, or insurance broker, sells insurance policies from a variety of different companies rather than focusing on just one.
Because they offer insurance through various companies, they’re able to offer their clients competitive prices and rates compared to agents that only sell one brand.
While some agents might choose only to offer one type of insurance, others will sell multiple different kinds (home insurance, life insurance, car insurance, etc.).
What Do Independent Agents Do?
One of the perks of being a licensed insurance agent is having a job that allows you to perform many different tasks.
This keeps your career from getting dull and makes sure that you’re always learning new things.
The main priority is helping people to secure policies that work for their own personal circumstances. But, your job also entails managing your relationship with the various insurance companies that you represent.
Finally, another significant component is running the nitty-gritty business side of things since you’re considered a solo entrepreneur.
Here are some duties that you can expect to take on:
- Researching options for clients
- Discussing the needs of your clients
- Handling marketing/advertising
- Continuing education
- Building relationships
- Filling out paperwork
- Answering questions
If these types of activities sound exciting and fulfilling to you, then becoming an independent insurance agent is likely a good choice!
Becoming an Independent Insurance Agent
Because of the nature of the job, there are specific requirements that you need to meet to become an agent.
Once you meet the requirements, there are still additional steps that you need to take.
And finally, when you officially start your business, there are specific things that you will need to do as well:
Get the Proper Education
To qualify to become an insurance agent, you need to have your high school diploma or an equivalent, a GED.
It’s a plus to have a bachelor’s degree in something finance-related, business-related, or marketing-related. All of these skills will help you to succeed.
However, this type of degree isn’t typically required.
Pass the Necessary Exam
Once you meet the education requirements, you need to sit for an exam so that you can apply for a license.
Before you take the exam, you will need to take some sort of study course that prepares you for the test. Some insurance companies offer a course for free. Other companies require that you pay, and some people choose to take an online course that isn’t taken through a specific insurance company.
No matter how you choose to study and prepare, you must do. Some states even have specific requirements that you must meet before sitting for the exam.
Try to check with your state’s licensing body before making any further plans.
Complete Additional Requirements
Preparing for and passing the exam aren’t the only requirements needed to be considered licensed.
Again, there might be other requirements depending on your state, including having no criminal record, specific training, etc.
Passing a background check is typically another requirement. But, you can check with your state’s licensing board about this as well.
Secure Your License
Once you have passed the test and met the other requirements based on your state, you can officially submit your information to the licensing board.
This is how you will apply to receive a license to sell a variety of insurance products. The time it takes to gain approval varies, but you should find out when you submit your information.
Prepare to Be in Business
Now that you’re cleared to run your own business, it’s time to get prepared.
Figure out what insurance companies you will work for, what types of insurance you want to offer, where you will work, and what times you will be available for clients.
Having these things decided before reaching out to people is crucial. You want to have all of your ducks in a row, so to speak, before you try helping people with such an important aspect of their lives.
Start Finding Clients
It can be difficult to find clients right at the start, especially without any marketing. Consider starting by approaching friends and family members. This is a nice way to get started and get comfortable with the process.
Try alerting everyone that you know personally to your new job and explaining to them how you can help them to secure insurance that works to protect their property and falls within their budget.
Start Advertising and Marketing
Once you’ve exhausted all of the people that you may know personally, it’s time to reach out to strangers.
This step might come sooner rather than later for some people.
Digital marketing and online ads should be considered, as should running local ads and marketing campaigns. Be sure to come up with a detailed plan. This will make it so that you can track what’s working and change what’s not working.
Another option is to pay for leads. If you do this, you want to work with a company that offers high-quality leads like these medicare leads.
Taking this route can be less expensive than other advertising or marketing that you might do, and it often takes much less time as well.
Just because you’ve passed the exam and gained your license doesn’t mean your learning is over.
In fact, the majority of states will require you to take specific continuing education classes and pass a test every so often to ensure that your knowledge and skills are still up to par.
Beyond this, you should choose to educate yourself on your own so that you can better serve your clients. The more you know, the better your service will be, and the more people you will have reached out to work with you.
You might even choose to take some online courses that focus on customer service, marketing, etc.
Insure Yourself Too
Don’t forget about the need to insure yourself because you’re so busy securing insurance for others.
It’s wise to get general liability insurance, errors and omissions policies, and worker’s compensation at the very least. Mistakes happen, and being covered when they do is vital.
While working on your own might be great at first; eventually, you might want to work with a partner or two, especially if your business is booming.
Doing this allows you to take on more clients without becoming overloaded.
This also offers you the opportunity to specialize in specific types of insurance. If you handle a couple and your partner does a few different ones, people can still come to one place to get all the necessary coverage, but you don’t need to handle every aspect for them.
The Benefits of Being an Insurance Agent
Being an independent insurance agent can be a particularly rewarding job. What are some of the benefits?
Genuinely Helping People
Educating people about their need for insurance and helping them to get the kind that will work best for them is important.
If they ever need to use their insurance, this could save them a lot of money and truly change their lives in comparison to if they hadn’t had coverage at all or got the wrong kind of coverage for their circumstances.
Working as an independent agent gives you more freedom than working for someone does.
As mentioned earlier, you can make your own schedule, choose to work part-time or full time, work from home or rent an office space, and more.
The freedoms and options are virtually endless.
The need for insurance agents is slated to grow about 11%. This is amazing job security in comparison to many other positions out there.
With the need for insurance growing, the need for reputable and knowledgeable agents will grow as well.
Become an Independent Insurance Agent
Becoming an independent insurance agent has countless benefits.
This article walked you through the necessary steps to become a licensed insurance agent and create a thriving business now that will only continue to grow as demand increases in the future.
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