How to become an insurance agent

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How to become an insurance agent--Group of agents

The pandemic has adversely affected all of us in one way or another. Pre-pandemic, you had a full-time job. Maybe not your dream job, but you were able to earn a decent hourly wage and have a little money left over for some fun. The pandemic struck and suddenly a lot of good people, yourself included, were laid off from their jobs and forced to join the ranks of the unemployed. Now what? You put your resume out there but do you really want another 9 to 5 or was it time to look at becoming self-employed. Upon searching the internet, insurance agency opportunities continue to draw your attention. Some opportunities are for traditional 9 to 5 jobs and then there are those opportunities that offer a chance to be self-employed. Either way, now that you are leaning toward the insurance agency opportunities, the next question has to be how to become an insurance agent.

The Insurance Sales Job

The purpose, of insurance sales jobs, is to help people protect their assets (Home, Auto, Life) in case of an accident or harm from some other insurable peril.  Insurance sales agents are instrumental in guiding people to select the right insurance product for their specific need.

The Process

There are a few options that should be considered starting with:

  • Specialization (Sell only one or two lines of insurance). Sell only life insurance, health insurance or property and casualty insurance.
  • Multiple lines of insurance (sell life insurance and health insurance and property and casualty insurance).

What kind of insurance agent you want to be:

  • Captive insurance agent–One who works with only one company. The captive company provides training and support to the agent. In return, the agent represents only the company’s products and cannot sell policies for a competitor.
  • Independent insurance agent–An independent agent, also called an insurance broker, works with more than one insurance company. The independent agent provides clients with policy quotes from multiple companies to find the best policies and price.

Review your state’s licensing requirements:

  • You will need to identify which products you will be selling so that you choose the proper license for your insurance business.

The two most common license types are:

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  • Life, health, and accident license-required for agents who serve individuals who need insurance related to life events, such as life insurance, accidents, or health insurance.

Click Here to Purchase a Life Insurance Study Guide

Before taking your insurance license exam:

  • Most states require you to complete a pre-licensing class. Many of these can be taken online or through an in-person course. Requirements vary depending on your state, from a one-day class to 20-40 hours of online training.
  • After fulfilling any pre-exam requirements for your state, you will need to schedule your official licensing exam. An outside company usually proctors these exams. You may need to show proof of your completed training class before taking the exam.

What to expect during your insurance license exam:

  • The exam process is usually not difficult, especially if you have completed pre-exam requirements and come prepared. You will arrive at your scheduled time and be placed at a computer. Test questions are usually in a multiple-choice format. When the exam is complete, you’ll immediately find out if you passed. If you don’t pass on the first try, you can reschedule and take it again.

Submit your licensing application and background check:

  • Once you pass your state licensing exam, you’ll submit all required licensing applications to your state licensing department. Please know, some states will require a background check, which may involve fingerprints. Once you’re officially licensed, you’ll be able to legally discuss and sell insurance policies.

Get appointed with an insurance company to sell products:

  • You must be appointed by an insurance company before you have the authority to sell its products. You will need to complete an application with each insurance company you plan to sell products for and be granted an appointment and binding authority, which is recorded with your state insurance licensing department.

After acquiring an insurance license:

  • Each state has continuing education (CE) requirements that must be maintained in order to keep your insurance license.  These CE requirements can be earned by attending an actual class or through online insurance training courses.

===>Get Online Training and CE Courses Here


Now let’s summarize the steps we have identified on how to become an agent:

  1.  Are you looking toward specialization or becoming a multiple line agent?
  2.  Are you drawn toward the captive insurance agency model or the independent agency model?
  3.  What are your states licensing requirements?
  4.  Which license types are needed?
  5.  Identify and enroll in the required pre-licensing classes.
  6.  Schedule your licensing exam.
  7.  Take the licensing test.
  8.  Submit your licensing application and background check.
  9.  Get appointed with an insurance company.

If you have any questions about this topic, let me know in the comments section below. I have many years of experience in this area and would be happy to address any questions and or concerns.

2 thoughts on “How to become an insurance agent”

  1. This is a very detailed article and it is well put. I used to sell life insurance as a sale rep part time and I can tell it was not what I wanted but I could see that some people can do well with it due to the fact that it is requires you to engage with people. So if you are not that person (like me) it will not work. Those are my thoughts.

    • Good morning Thabo,
      Thank you for taking the time to respond. Your thoughts and advise were well received and will be a tremendous help going forward. Thanks again.



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