7 minute read
What Type of Insurance Agent Do You Want to Be?
Maybe you're unsure of the type of insurance agent you want to be. Maybe you're interested in selling multiple types of insurance. Or maybe you know exactly what field you want to enter and are ready to get started!
Regardless of what type of insurance you want to sell, it's important to know the steps involved. Read on for specifics on how to become an independent insurance agent in any popular field.
In most states, if you want to sell life, car, home, business or commercial vehicle insurance, the process is the same, although the requirements may vary depending on the state you reside in. A college degree isn't usually required; you only need a high school diploma.
You need a license for the type of insurance you sell. Here are the basic steps:
- Complete an insurance pre-licensing course, which typically can be done online
- Pass the insurance exam
- Apply for the insurance license
- Get fingerprinted and complete a background check
- Maintain your insurance license by satisfying continuing education requirements
How to become a life insurance agent
More than ever, people need assistance in planning for life's unexpected events. Life insurance agents can help them achieve peace of mind and financial security. Independent insurance agents offer a choice of life insurance policies from a number of insurance companies.
In most states, after taking the pre-licensing course, you'll also need to pass a licensing exam. You'll need to complete an application for a license in your state by going to the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) website. You'll also need to pass a background check and be fingerprinted as part of the application process.
How to become a car insurance agent
In almost every state, vehicle owners are required to purchase auto insurance that meets the minimum policy limits set by their state of residence. This means there is a large segment of the population you can sell car insurance to, in addition to other types of insurance.
Car insurance agents can earn 12% to 20% in commissions for each policy they sell, and the commission is paid each time the policy renews. Independent insurance agents work with a variety of insurance companies that meet customer needs based on driving record, type of car and budget.
Be sure to read up on your state's specific guidelines for pre-licensing courses. Take the licensing exam and apply for your license through the NIPR, pay the associated fees, complete the background check and get fingerprinted.
How to become a commercial vehicle insurance agent
Businesses typically have a need for commercial vehicle insurance, whether it's to make deliveries, transport goods or provide their employees with a company car. This is an important market for insurance agents.
To become a commercial vehicle insurance agent, you'll need to check your state's specific guidelines to find out how many hours of education are required before you can apply for a license. An easy way to find these are through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website, which can link you to each individual state's department of insurance. After you satisfy your educational requirements, you'll have to pass a licensing test, pay your state's application fee, do a background check and get fingerprinted.
How to become a business insurance agent
Businesses need insurance to operate. Because independent insurance agents represent a variety of insurance companies, they can tailor a business insurance policy to their clients' specific needs.
Another name for business insurance is commercial insurance. To become a commercial or business insurance agent, you'll need to have a high school diploma. Then, it's important to check the NAIC website to find out your state's educational requirements and the application fee amount. You'll need to pass the licensing exam, pay the application fee, do a background check and get fingerprinted.
How to become a home insurance agent
Virtually everyone, whether they own a home, townhome or condo – or rent an apartment – should have an insurance policy, also known as homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Since independent insurance agents represent a variety of insurance companies, they are well suited to meet the needs of homeowners and renters.
Becoming a home insurance agent is very similar to becoming an agent in other types of personal lines coverage, and in fact, most home insurance agets sell other personal insurance too. The steps remain the same:
- Check your state's educational requirements
- Fill out your state's online application form
- Pay the license application fee
- Pass the state licensing exam, which is typically required
- Get a background check and get fingerprinted
- Continuing education also a requirement
- Start selling insurance with your new license!
No matter what insurance license you approach, every two years, you'll need to complete continuing education courses over time to keep your license. Like everything else, though, continuing education requirements vary by state. How often you need to renew your license also depends on your state's regulations.
What is the Big “I"?
The Big “I" is a national trade insurance federation. It consists of more than 50 independent state associations as well as the national association. Their mission is to provide support for independent agents and brokers by offering membership benefits and resources such educational tools, informative publications, networking and more.
These associations also serve as advocates for independent insurance agents by working with insurance companies, state insurance departments, the federal government and other stakeholders to maintain a stable and viable marketplace. Through the collective efforts of the Big “I," independent agencies are better equipped to thrive.
What are the benefits of a Big “I" membership?
The Big “I" provides many benefits for those interested in becoming an insurance agent, including:
- 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.
- Agency listing on TrustedChoice.com: Big “I" member agencies appear on the largest directory of independent agencies available to consumers. TrustedChoice.com has driven more than 30 million insurance shoppers to independent agents over the last few years.
No matter where you are on your insurance agent journey, the Big “I" can support you.
How to sign up for a Big “I" membership in your state
Signing up for a 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.