Insurance Agent: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

Flura Yagof Updated 
Insurance Agent: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

As a critical cog in the financial machinery, insurance agents play an indispensable role in safeguarding individuals and businesses against financial losses resulting from unexpected events. This profession requires a unique set of skills, qualities, and knowledge to help clients assess and mitigate risks, provide insurance solutions, and guide them through the claims process when necessary. In this article, we delve into the details of the insurance agent profession, from its specializations and tasks to its demand, salary, and career path. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.


Introduction to Insurance

Agent as a Profession An insurance agent is a professional who acts as an intermediary between insurance companies and clients. They offer advice, guidance, and insurance products to individuals, families, and businesses to help them manage risks and protect their financial interests. Insurance agents work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, often requiring them to be flexible, resourceful, and customer-oriented.


The insurance industry is vast, and insurance agents can specialize in various areas, such as property and casualty, life and health, auto, and commercial insurance. Each specialization requires a unique set of skills and knowledge to meet the specific needs of clients. For instance, life and health insurance agents focus on providing coverage for medical expenses, disability, and death, while commercial insurance agents specialize in insurance solutions for businesses.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of insurance agents may vary depending on their specialization and work environment. However, some common duties include:

  • Identifying clients' insurance needs and recommending suitable insurance products.
  • Explaining policy terms and coverage limits to clients.
  • Reviewing clients' insurance coverage and recommending adjustments or additional coverage.
  • Processing insurance applications and renewals.
  • Collecting premiums and preparing insurance quotes.
  • Handling claims and negotiating settlements with clients and insurance companies.

Pros and Cons

Like any other profession, the insurance agent career has its share of pros and cons. Here are some of them:


  • Lucrative salary and earning potential through commissions and bonuses.
  • Opportunities for professional growth and advancement.
  • Flexibility and autonomy in managing work schedules and clients.
  • Fulfilling career, knowing that you help clients protect their financial interests.


  • Requires a considerable amount of time and effort to build a client base and establish a reputation.
  • The work can be stressful, especially when dealing with complex policies and claims.
  • The sales-driven nature of the job may not suit everyone's personality and work style.
  • The competitive market may pose challenges in securing clients and retaining them.


The demand for insurance agents varies across countries, with some countries experiencing a higher demand than others. In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% growth in employment of insurance agents from 2020 to 2030. Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia also report a steady demand for insurance agents due to population growth and an increasing need for insurance coverage.

Salary Ranges

Insurance agents' salaries may vary depending on factors such as specialization, location, and experience. In the United States, the median annual wage for insurance agents was $52,180 in 2020, with the top 10% earning over $127,000. In Canada, insurance agents' salaries range from $35,000 to $100,000 per year, while in the United Kingdom, the average salary is around £26,000 per year. In Australia, insurance agents' salaries range from AUD$45,000 to AUD$90,000 per year.

Where do Insurance Agents Work?

Insurance agents can work for insurance companies, agencies, or as independent agents. Insurance companies often employ in-house agents to sell their insurance products directly to clients. Agencies, on the other hand, act as intermediaries between insurance companies and clients, representing multiple insurance providers. Independent insurance agents, also known as brokers, work for themselves and represent multiple insurance companies to offer clients a variety of options. Insurance agents can also work in a variety of industries, including finance, healthcare, and real estate, where insurance plays a crucial role in protecting their assets and managing risks.

Important Qualities of a Successful Insurance Agent

To succeed as an insurance agent, one must possess a set of essential qualities, including:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills to build relationships with clients and understand their needs.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills to assess risks and recommend suitable insurance products.
  • Sales and marketing skills to promote insurance products and secure new clients.
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills to manage multiple policies and claims.
  • Professionalism and ethical conduct to maintain clients' trust and confidence.

Who is suitable and who is not suitable for this profession?

The insurance agent profession is suitable for individuals who enjoy helping others, possess strong sales and communication skills, and have a keen interest in finance and insurance. On the other hand, this profession may not be suitable for those who dislike sales-driven work environments, have poor time management and organizational skills, or cannot handle high-pressure situations.

Step-by-step Career Path

The career path for insurance agents may vary depending on their specialization and work environment. However, a typical career path for an insurance agent may include the following steps:

  1. Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. Complete pre-licensing education requirements and pass a licensing exam in the state you wish to practice.
  3. Gain work experience through an internship or entry-level job.
  4. Pursue additional certifications or education to advance in your career.
  5. Build a client base and establish a reputation in the industry to secure more clients and increase earning potential.

How to become an Insurance Agent?

To become an insurance agent, you must obtain a state-issued license, which typically requires completing pre-licensing education courses and passing a licensing exam. In the United States, the education requirements and licensing process vary by state. Some states may require a pre-licensing course of 20-40 hours, while others may require up to 200 hours of coursework.

Although a college degree is not a requirement to become an insurance agent, pursuing higher education in a related field, such as business, finance, or economics, can provide a competitive advantage and increase job prospects. Some employers may also prefer candidates with a degree in a related field.

Where to become an Insurance Agent?

To become an insurance agent, you can start by researching state-specific licensing requirements and education providers. Here are some examples of institutions that offer insurance education and licensing in the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia:


  1. Kaplan Financial Education
  2. American Institute of CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters)
  3. The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research
  4. ExamFX
  5. D. Banker & Company


  1. Insurance Institute of Canada
  2. Humber College
  3. Fanshawe College
  4. Durham College
  5. Mount Royal University


  1. Chartered Insurance Institute
  2. The London Institute of Banking & Finance
  3. The Insurance Institute of Reading
  4. Manchester Metropolitan University
  5. The University of Central Lancashire


  1. Kaplan Professional
  2. ANZIIF (Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance)
  3. Monarch Institute
  5. Deakin University

Can you enter the profession with a different degree?

Although a degree in a related field can provide a competitive advantage, it is not a requirement to become an insurance agent. Individuals with degrees in other fields can also enter the insurance industry by completing the required pre-licensing education and passing the licensing exam. However, having a degree in a related field, such as business, finance, or economics, can provide a deeper understanding of insurance principles and practices, making it easier to advise clients and advance in the profession.


The insurance agent profession is a dynamic and rewarding career that requires a unique set of skills and qualities to succeed. Whether you specialize in life and health insurance, property and casualty, or commercial insurance, this profession offers a wide range of opportunities for professional growth and advancement. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can start your journey as an insurance agent and make a positive impact on your clients' financial well-being.

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