Insurance agents educate and provide individuals and businesses with financial protection in a variety of areas, including life, automobile, property, health, disability, and long-term care. Other financial products, such as mutual funds and annuities, are also provided by insurance agents.
Training in this field is typically providing by the insurance company itself. Solid sales and related work experiences may be substituted for education, depending upon the insurance company. An engaging, confident personality and self-motivation skills are also needed to communicate appropriately with clients and ensure the ability to work under minimal supervision. Insurance agents also must be able to readily understand and explain legal and technical language.
Insurance Training Programs
Although many educational institutions offer courses in insurance, due to the wide range of products offered by different agencies, most formal training is handled by the hiring insurance company. The on-boarding process for new hires at an insurance agency is usually extensive and can last for varying lengths of time depending on where you are receiving training. Areas of training include sales and marketing techniques, ethics, insurance needs assessment, product knowledge, and policy writing.
Shadowing a more experienced agent is a key component of new hire training and often extends for several weeks. Because a position's salary is heavily based on commission, salary is often subsidized for a period of time by the agency until a specified training period has been completed. Agents can expect their salaries to increase over time as they build a customer base.
Licenses and Certifications in Insurance Training Program
Agents must seek licensure in the state where they sell insurance. A relatively short licensing course is required by most states prior to completion of the examination. Agents are separately licensed depending upon the type of insurance they offer. In order to maintain licensure, it is necessary to complete a varying number of continuing education hours every two years.
Workshops and Seminars
Insurance agents must stay current on tax laws and a wide range of government regulations. Regular workshops and online courses are available to update agents in such areas. Often these educational activities are sponsored by the employing agency. However, there are numerous professional organizations that also provide a wide range of educational programs.
Additional Professional Development
Agents may obtain a number of advanced credentials in order to demonstrate proficiency in the field. A common choice is the Certified Financial Planner designation, which requires work experience, completion of specific educational requirements, agreement to adhere to ethical standards and an examination. Some agents, after acquiring experience, decide to start their own agency or firm.
Training to work at an insurance company is often done at the organization that hires you. These programs teach you the legal and marketing skills related to the job, as well as providing opportunities for educational and career advancement past the beginning levels.