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How to Become an Insurance Agent

6 minute read

Imagine a career that allows you to work remotely, set your own schedule, be your own boss and have fulfilling, gainful work. These are all benefits that independent insurance agents enjoy on a daily basis. If you're curious about what it takes to become an insurance agent, read on. 

Start with getting your insurance license

The process of getting your insurance license depends on a couple of factors, including the state you want to do business in and the type of insurance you plan to sell. You'll have to take the pre-licensing course for your state and pass the state licensing exam.

You then can apply for a license by filling out an online form that corresponds to your state and paying the fee. In most states, there is a background check, and you will need to be fingerprinted.

Once you've received your license, the next step is to secure contracts with the insurance companies you want to represent. You'll have to complete continuing education courses to keep your license, typically every two years. These requirements vary by state.

States also set guidelines on how often you need to renew your license, which is generally every two years.

Why become an independent insurance agent?

Independent agents represent multiple insurance companies and are able to provide their clients with several quotes. Insurance customers go to independent agents because they can receive a more personalized, comprehensive approach to shopping for the coverage they need.
Independent insurance agents enjoy these benefits:

  • They make a good living: Depending on how much insurance you sell as an independent agent, you can make a comfortable living. Some independent agents do well financially, as standard commissions are usually 10% to 12% of the total premium cost of a policy.  
  • They can make a difference at an agency: Independent agents can have an impact on the agency as well as their community. If you work for a small agency, your presence and success can really help the agency flourish. As your career grows, you'll be helping local businesses and customers protect their livelihoods. This can be very rewarding.
  • Their voices are heard: Independent agents also enjoy the freedom and satisfaction of contributing their ideas to the workplace. Working for a smaller agency allows them to have creative input they may not otherwise experience at a different job.
  • They can enjoy a lifelong career: Many independent agents build their jobs into a lifelong career. Rewarding work mixed with financial success and a flexible schedule is a satisfying draw for people to choose insurance as a career.   

 Independent agents can achieve an optimal work/life balance. There are many other benefits to this career path, and we encourage you to explore them through the Big “I." 

What is the Big “I"?

Made up of more than 50 independent state associations and the national association, the Big “I" is a national trade federation with a mission to provide independent agents and brokers with tools for success. A membership offers agents resources that include educational tools, agency category breakdowns, informative publications, networking and more. With support from the Big “I," new independent agents are positioned to succeed in the insurance industry.

Why it's important to become a Big “I" member

When starting your career as an independent agent, there are many ways a membership with the Big “I" can help. Here are just a few benefits:

  • Access to Big “I" markets: A Big “I" membership provides access to more than 30 top-tier insurance markets, including commercial auto, homeowners, flood and specialty types of insurance companies. This benefit comes with no extra fees.
  • Research and surveys of successful independent insurance agencies: Big “I" studies classify top-performing agencies in six revenue categories, from small to large. These surveys help new and upcoming independent agencies tailor their operations and strategies for success.
  • Access to Independent Agent magazine: Big “I" members receive a monthly copy of this magazine and weekly digital articles, including market trends and analysis to help agencies succeed.
  • Assistance with hiring: Big “I" membership provides hiring tools, and it provides access to interview resources and job descriptions to help your new agency hire top talent for your team.
  • Access to Virtual University: The Big “I" Virtual University provides new independent agencies with a huge research library on numerous subjects, including certificates of insurance, commercial lines and personal lines. It also has experts standing by to answer tough coverage questions.
  • Insurance company contract reviews: Periodically, the Big “I" Office of General Counsel reviews and provides observations of key provisions of insurance company agent agreements.
  • Branding resources through a consumer brand, Trusted Choice®: Being independent doesn't mean going alone. Trusted Choice, the recognizable consumer brand from the Big “I," provides a host of tools, with a special emphasis on digital marketing and branding. You don't give up your agency's identity. Instead, you co-brand your agency with Trusted Choice to explain to your customers what is different about independent insurance agencies.

Just as independent insurance agents are there to assist consumers with their insurance needs, the Big “I" is there to help you build a profitable, competitive business. No matter what you're searching for, the Big “I" is there to help you find the answers. 

What other benefits do independent agents enjoy?

In addition to having a well-paid, lifelong career, independent agents enjoy several other perks on a daily basis, including:

  • Having a flexible schedule: One of the most coveted job benefits in the current work climate is the ability to create your own schedule. Independent agents have more control over their working hours.
  • Working remotely: You can work from home, or in any another setting you choose, which is an important benefit especially in light of workplace changes brought about by the pandemic. You'll have the freedom to work from various locations.
  • Being your own boss: For independent agents who start their own agency, there's perhaps no greater reward than being your own boss. Serving the needs of customers is the important thing, instead of dealing with company politics or other bosses. 

Independent agents can choose a lifestyle and work environment that suits their needs while at the same time providing a valuable service to their customers. The Big “I" can support you on your journey to becoming an independent agent so you can enjoy the freedom and satisfaction this career brings.

Signing up for a Big “I" membership in your state is easy. Just fill out the online form to get started. Pricing varies by state, agency size and revenue. If you have any questions, the Big “I" is standing by to assist you.

Join Now!

Here's what you'll learn.... 

  • Start with getting your insurance license
  • Why become an independent insurance agent?
  • What is the Big “I"?
  • Why it's important to become a Big “I" member


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​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556
email: info@iiaba.net

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