Car Insurance Agent Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

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Get the truth about a car insurance agent's salary, training requirements and career prospects. Read the job description and see if this could be the right career path for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Car Insurance Agent

Car insurance agents generate business for insurance companies and help potential customers select their auto insurance plans. Here are the pros and cons of pursuing a career as a car insurance agent:

Pros of Becoming a Car Insurance Agent
Good job growth is projected for insurance agents (10% increase between 2012 and 2022 expected)*
Solid income potential (median salary of $47,860 for insurance sales agents in 2014)*
A high school diploma is usually sufficient education*
Many agents work flexible hours*
Can sometimes earn commission on top of a base salary*

Cons of Becoming a Car Insurance Agent
State licensing is required*
Some agents are only paid commission, rather than a fixed salary*
Success is largely dependent on the state of the economy*
Overtime may be required*
May have to meet with clients on weekends or spend evenings preparing presentations*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Car insurance agents sell auto insurance policies to potential customers. They explain policy details and insurance plans and help clients select appropriate insurance packages to purchase. Agents will often call potential customers in an attempt at gain their business. Car insurance agents also analyze the kinds of policies their customers currently have and help them work out insurance claims. Agents may do various types of record-keeping and clerical duties. You could work for an insurance company or an insurance brokerage, which sells products and services from a handful of insurance companies.

You might spend much of your time in an office, but you could also end up meeting with clients outside of your work area fairly often. As a car insurance sales agent, you may be able to set up your own work hours and meet with clients at times that are convenient for you and them.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), insurance agent job opportunities were projected to increase by 10% between 2012 and 2022. Growth within the insurance industry is typically tied to the state of the economy. The demand for insurance sales agents is likely to grow as companies and brokerage firms seek to expand their customer base.

The BLS reported that insurance agents earned a median salary of $47,860 as of May 2014. According to the BLS, the median annual income of all workers who had a high school diploma was about $35,000 in 2014, so you can see that insurance agents have good earning potential considering the education requirements. The BLS noted that commission was the most common form of income for insurance agents, and some agents may even earn bonuses if they meet sales goals.

Career Skills and Requirements

Car insurance sales agents often begin their careers after completing high school, but the BLS noted that about one-third of insurance agents currently employed hold a bachelor's degree. Agents receive most of their training on the job, although an educational background in finance, business or economics can be helpful.

Excellent communication skills are needed to determine what a customer needs and then to explain why a particular policy is a good choice. You should enjoy initiating conversations with people you have never met before, since this is a key factor in being able to gain new clients. Car insurance agents also need solid analytical skills to comprehend insurance policies.

Licensing

All car insurance agents are required by law to be licensed in the state in which they work. Licenses are made available to insurance agents who have completed the required training courses and have passed the state-administered exams. Many states require insurance agents to take continuing education courses every two years in order to keep their license. Some of the topics covered in the licensing exams may include state insurance laws and consumer protection.

Real Job Listings

When you begin your job search you will find that car insurance agents are needed to fulfill several different types of responsibilities. For example, agents are needed to make follow-up calls to potential clients, to obtain customer signatures and to provide auto insurance quotes. Companies also prefer agents with professional experience and basic computer skills. Below are some job posts from May of 2012:

  • A California insurance agency was interested in hiring a car insurance agent with a high school diploma and a California insurance license. The successful candidate would have strong customer service skills and experience using insurance software.
  • A local insurance company based in Texas advertised for an auto insurance sales agent. Applicant must have had a general Texas insurance license or been willing to get one within 45 days of being hired. Extensive sales experience was preferred. Additionally, the company wanted to hire a bilingual agent who was fluent in both Spanish and English.
  • An Indiana insurance provider was looking for a car insurance sales agent who was motivated and able to work as part of a team. The company provided on-the-job training and paid commission in addition to a base salary.

How Can I Stand Out In This Field?

In addition to professional experience and education, there are other ways to stand out from other car insurance agents. For example, you could obtain professional certification that highlights your expertise in insurance sales. Organizations like the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (AICPCU) and the Insurance Institute of America (IIA) offer professional certifications as well as continuing education courses for insurance agents. If you're interviewing for a job, make sure to highlight your desire to talk to people you've never met; this trait is especially important for car insurance agents.

Alternate Career Options

If you decide you're not interested in working as a car insurance agent, here are some other occupations you may want to look into. Below you can find some jobs that use similar skills.

Advertising Sales Agent

If you are interested in working as a sales agent, but you would rather not work in the insurance industry, you may want to look into advertising sales. These agents sell advertisement space to individuals and companies. You'll usually have opportunities to work outside of the office, so you don't have to worry about being confined to a cubical all day. A high school diploma is typically sufficient to enter this line of work. The BLS noted that these professionals earned a median annual income of around $45,000 in 2011. According to the BLS, advertising sales agents were projected to experience a 13% increase in jobs between 2010 and 2020.

Real Estate Sales Agent

Real estate sales agents help customers buy, rent and sell different types of property. You may eventually have the opportunity to work for yourself, as the BLS found that 57% of real estate brokers and sales agents were self-employed. Another potential perk is that you may be able to telecommute or work from home.

According to the BLS, real estate sales agents were expected to experience an 11% increase in job opportunities from 2010-2020. These agents were reported to earn a median salary of $39,000 in 2011. However, you should be aware that you income is heavily dependent on the state of the economy, and you may face competition from experienced businesses if you're just starting out.

Wholesale Sales Representative

If you would like to work with different types of organizations and sell a specific type of product, you may want to look into becoming a wholesale sales representative. These sales workers explain product features to companies and organizations and attempt to sell goods to clients. You could have opportunities to travel frequently, but you may be away from home for days at a time. The BLS projected a 16% increase in wholesale sales representative jobs between 2010 and 2020. Wholesale sales workers earned a median yearly income of approximately $54,000 in 2011, according to the BLS.

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Regent University

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