The U.S. Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics just published data indicating that every sector of the insurance industry was up – including life insurance employment – which is usually down. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I), says employment from life and annuity insurers rose in December versus the following year. While the total number of life and annuity insurers employed stayed put at around 340,000, the numbers broke loose in June and stayed put for eight consecutive months.
The agent and broker segment gained 32,600 jobs in December.
Insurance agents sell auto, health, home and life insurance, including commercial agents that sell property and damage liability insurance. Insurance is highly regulated and agents must be licensed by the state in which they are selling insurance. According to US News and World Reports, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects insurance agent employment growth of 10.4 percent between 2012 and 2022. That’s an additional 45,900 jobs that should open up before the end of that period.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual salary for insurance agents averaged approximately $48,000 in 2013. Many consumers used to rank the job of an insurance agent no better or worse than a car salesman, but agents and brokers today are professionals, according to Tony Steuer from Questions and Answers on Life Insurance. They have high standards to which they hold themselves accountable; some with professional designations beside their name.
How to Get Started
Talk to a career counselor who can organize your skills for the best possible fit.
Talk to a trusted family member or friend in the insurance industry for suggestions.
Research insurance companies for specifics concerning education requirements. Many employers financially support their employees when it comes to the necessary licensing and certification requirements.
Most agencies offer job training.
Some employers offer specialized insurance programs and would prefer students to have a bachelor’s degree in business, economics or finance.
Remember brokers are different from agents who evaluate different insurance and help clients locate the best policy match.
Professional development opportunities can be found with a number of associations which include the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research as well as the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. These organizations offer online training courses and seminars.
Many ask why insurance is so heavily regulated, and it’s not a result of ethical concerns regarding the insurance industry. The government has been regulating the insurance industry for more than 100 years to protect consumers rights – and to make certain insurers remain solvent.
Our insurance insider Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE, says states also keep a tight rein on sales, marketing and data protection practices to protect consumers and maintain the high ethical standards which have always governed the insurance industry.