5 Reasons to Consider a Career in the Insurance Industry

What do you think of when you think of a career in insurance? A dull desk job? Constant sorting through filing cabinets full of paper? Dooming yourself to endless, boring days in a call center?

Sure, insurance may not be the most exciting industry out there, but there are plenty of reasons why a job in insurance won’t necessarily be the dreary existence we’ve outlined above. In fact, a career in insurance can be rewarding, fulfilling, and yes, even enjoyable.

We can’t promise you’ll avoid filing cabinets entirely, but we can tell you that there is plenty to look forward to when considering a career in insurance. Check out our top five reasons why you should consider a career in the insurance industry.

Flexibility.

Working in the insurance industry offers you many options, from working in a corporate office as part of an in-house team, to running your own agency as an independent business owner. Especially if you choose the second route, you’ll enjoy the ability to set your own schedule and work practices—something that is very rare in the professional world. Having this flexibility improves quality of life and job satisfaction (and who doesn’t want more of that?).

Specialization.

“Insurance” is a very broad term. It takes all types to make the insurance industry work. Writing, marketing, customer service, sales, finance—these are all topics that are tightly intertwined with insurance. Getting a job in insurance could ultimately lead you down any of these specialized paths, allowing you to tailor your career to your specific desires and talents.

There is also a need for specialization within the insurance industry, specifically to untapped markets. Certain demographics are not being targeted by insurance companies, meaning that there is high potential for reaching these markets effectively. This means that even as a newcomer to the insurance world, there is the potential to grow your business very quickly.

Demand.

People may complain about insurance, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. Legal requirements—and humanity’s constant pursuit of security—ensure that there will always be a need for insurance. The industry is stable, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.

Additionally, with a large amount of the industry workforce set to retire soon, there may in fact be a shortage of insurance workers with real experience and knowledge of the industry. The sooner you get in, the sooner you’ll become a trusted name in the industry.

Real-world experience.

The experience you gain in the insurance industry can benefit you in many ways. Not only can you benefit friends, neighbors, and businesses with the knowledge you gain, but you can also benefit yourself and your family. Experience in this industry could give you a leg up in the future, whether you’re trying to decide how to insure your home, shopping out your life insurance policy, or considering starting a business. Knowing the ins and outs of insurance will benefit you for years to come.
As mentioned before, a career in insurance can also give you a glimpse into other industries, which could help you immensely should you ever want to pursue a different path.

Rewarding work with a purpose.

The truth is, the insurance industry gives you an opportunity to truly help people. Many people know they need insurance, but are, quite frankly, confused by it. By providing them with the knowledge and expertise you gain in the industry, you’ll bring your customers peace of mind and a sense of security.

Moreover, working in insurance will allow you to work with people. You’ll see their problems, worries, triumphs, and opportunities. You’ll be the person they turn to when they have questions or concerns. You’ll have the chance to make their lives easier, better, and less complicated. It really is rewarding work, and it can allow you to make a difference in ways you’ve never thought of before.

Whether or not it has always been at the top of your “dream career” list, the fact is that the insurance industry offers its workers the incredible opportunity to work at a job that is secure, useful, fulfilling, and enjoyable. Take these benefits into account when making the choice about your career in insurance, and get ready to be surprised at where your career in insurance takes you.

5 Sales Skills Needed to Sell Insurance

It doesn’t take much to make it in sales, but it does take the right attitude and the right set of skills. Put these 5 skills into practice and you’ll have a leg up on the competition, no matter how tough the market may be. Continue reading

What is Property Insurance?

There are essentially 3 types of property insurance. There’s replacement cost coverage. That ensures that no matter how much property values have changed, your insurance will pay to replace any lost or damaged property. Then, there’s actual cash value coverage. Continue reading

The Top 5 Cities in Washington State for Insurance Agent Salaries

Recently, we looked at the average annual salaries of Washington’s insurance agents. The top five salaries, not surprisingly, are all located in the Seattle-Puget Sound region. All are above the average national annual salary for insurance agents. Here are the best cities to live in, in terms of insurance agent salaries, in the great state of Washington. Continue reading

Is a Career In Insurance Right For You?

Many people, especially young people, are looking for something REAL these days. Not some temporary job with no future, or a part-time employer who thinks he’s better than God, but something real, tangible, worthwhile-doing, and long-lasting.

One occupation many are looking into is the insurance industry. It is, after all, nearly recession-proof. It can be very rewarding, as you help people overcome real problems, solve real issues, and prepare for a responsible future. And it isn’t a passing fancy or part-time plaything, but a real career, with opportunities for advancement, even entrepreneurship, in the years to come. So, if you are one of those hopefuls, how do you know that a career in the insurance industry is right for you? Let’s ask some qualifying questions, and see how you do.

1. Can you manage your time and resources well?

Many insurance agents find themselves working out of the office a great deal. They have to schedule appointments when the prospects are available, not necessarily when it is most convenient for them. So, the best agents are very good, or can get very good, at managing their time and resources to their best advantage. If you are highly motivated and self-disciplined, and already have some time management skills in place, you can beat the crowd and have a leg up on those who don’t.

2. Are you a people person, or a wallflower?

We’re not saying an introvert can’t become a success in the insurance industry. What we are saying is that those who can network well, communicate well with others, and who can reach out to people they don’t know with skill and savvy, CAN become a success without having to overcome people-skill problems. If you’ve got mad personal skills, your road to insurance agent success can be a lot shorter.

3. Do you enjoy some work-related travel?

Insurance agents often meet prospects and clients out of the office, in the clients’ homes or offices. If spending the day or the evening driving around town, or out and about the countryside, appeals to you, then you’d have an easier time accepting the travel demands of an insurance career.

4. Can you handle, or overcome, rejection?

Let’s face it. Insurance is all about sales. You have to sell the policies, the products, the financial services. And most people, at least the first time they are approached, say “No”. Some figures put the total rejection rate for insurance agents’ sales at 80% (some go even higher.) So, a good agent either has to have a way to overcome all that rejection and close the sale even when the prospect is more inclined to say “no”, or they have to have a back-up plan in place to get SOME sale out of each and every client.

Knowing your products and services, and matching them to your prospects and existing clients is the best way to overcome total rejection. “If Plan A doesn’t work for you, have you looked at Plan B?” Also, a good insurance agent knows that rejection is just part of the business, and learns NOT to take it personally. If you think you have the mental and emotional strength to overcome repeated rejections, then you’re well on your way to preparing for a career in insurance.

5. Do you see yourself in the role of “boss” and “business owner” in the future?

If you have dreams of someday owning your own business, and having your own employees working for you, then insurance could be the perfect career choice. After a few years as an agent, you can take the initiative and branch out on your own, creating your own office. Those who are happily content to work for someone else all their lives can also make great insurance agents, but they may lack a bit of the motivation that the career demands. So, for the go-getter entrepreneur-to-be, insurance can be the answer to your dreams.

A career in insurance can be demanding, but it can also be rewarding. Knowing whether or not you have what it takes going in can help you decide if the insurance industry is right for you. We hope that our quick question and answer session has helped you to make that very crucial decision. Good luck!

Closing the Deal – Making Them Want to Say “Yes”

One of the most terrifying moments for each and every salesperson is the “closing of the deal”. You’ve just delivered the most awesome presentation of your products or services. You’ve just laid it all out there on the line. And now, you have to face the possibility of rejection. The possibility that all your hard work, your blood-sweat-and-tears preparation, and possibly this month’s ability to pay the utility bills, could all be an exercise in futility.

Part of your fear is that rejection, especially in insurance sales, is a reality. Anywhere from 80 to 90% of your clients may say “No”. But there are ways to dispel the fear involved in closing the sale AND defeat their powers of rejection. It all comes down to changing your approach to “making sales”.

Change Your Mind

stop trying to make money sales

The biggest thing you can do to help make more sales is to STOP thinking like a salesperson.

The biggest thing you can do to help make more sales is to STOP thinking like a salesperson. Make the subtle shift from salesman to marketer. Marketers are focused on their customers. They use proven marketing techniques, understand the psychology behind why people buy, and follow certain “rules” of marketing accordingly.

Salesmen, on the other hand, are only out to make a buck. They don’t care too much about whether or not the prospect is someone who might actually buy what they have to offer. They figure if they make enough sales pitches, eventually someone will bite, and then they can reel them in, hook, line, and sinker. Stop trying to make money. Start trying to make clients. Remember that there are REAL people holding those wallets. Think of them, and not yourself or your profits, and you’ll be well on your way to sales success.

Sell the Benefits, NOT the Features

insurance benefits-sales

You’ve got a great product. You offer some phenomenal customer service. You treat your clients better than you treat most of your family. But you still aren’t making sales. They never get to the point of finding out just how great you actually are at being their agent. Why? Because you are focused on the products and services you have to offer, instead of on the people you are addressing.

Make them feel the peace of mind they’ll get from knowing they’ll leave their family financially secure in the event of their death. Give them an image of a well-cared-for-family in the event of a fire, flood or accident. Help them to see a stress-free future, all because of your offerings. Marketers know that prospects are more willing to buy when they can visualize themselves already in possession of the product.

If all you are focused on is how great your “stuff” is, you’ll miss the sale more than you’ll succeed. If you can make them either feel great for having your “stuff” OR make them feel as though they are sorely missing out without your “stuff”, you’ll be more likely to close those deals. Show them what’s in it for them, and they’ll be more apt to be in your stable of clients.

Create Relationships, NOT Customers

relationships-insurance

Remember when we changed our point of view from seeing sales to seeing clients? To seeing the human behind the cash? Now that you’ve established a human connection, nurture it. Treat your prospects with the courtesy, respect, and honor they deserve. They will, after all, keep all those bills paid. Offer them personalized service. Address them as THEY prefer, not as your organization or upbringing would have you do. Make them feel as though they are special to you. They aren’t just another tally in your sales column for the month.

Great marketers know that success comes from building relationships with your clients. Don’t scrimp on the relationship once the deal has been made, either. Continue to offer great value and service. It’ll go a long way toward gaining new clients via word of mouth and professional referrals, too. They’ll let everyone know just how good you are at your job, and you’ll soon find yourself closing even more sales for your troubles.

Making sales isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be the “impossible dream” many failed sales people make it out to be. Change your mind, change your habits, and change your life through better relationships. Your sales will change, as well.

3 Tips For New Insurance Agents

Beginning a new career, whether it’s your first time out, or your second or even third endeavor in life, is an exciting, electrifying time. Beginning a new career as an insurance agent is no different, however it can also be a bit overwhelming, too, as you adjust to the demands of the industry and the uniqueness that being an insurance agent brings with it. With that in mind, here are 3 tips for budding agents, to help you through those difficult early years.

#1: Your Beginner’s Period Lasts a Long Time

New Insurance Agents

The “learner’s permit” for an insurance agent lasts between 90 days and 2 years. You’ll spend the first 90 days forming the effective habits that will carry you through your entire career. As an insurance agent, the most beneficial habits you’ll need to establish are those of both an employee and an employer. As a self-employed insurance agent or broker, you’ll be both your own boss and your own employee. Setting a good daily plan of action – balancing both administrative and subordinate duties equally well – will go a long way to establishing good, effective, beneficial habits to last your entire career. In fact, your first 90 days, that’s all you’re going to worry about – establishing effective habits.

Your first year as an insurance agent is spent learning to sell. That’s it. Learning to use the qualities you possess, and developing skills and qualities that you’ll need, will consume your time. Expect a lot of “No”s in those first weeks and months. Expect to work much more than you get paid for, too. In the long run, those unpaid efforts will pay for themselves in the long-term clients you acquire in those early goings. Your second year, you’ll find yourself refining those skills ad qualities, and turning those habits into an efficient system of operating your business.

#2: Your First 100 Clients Will Set Your Career

100

It may take all of those first two years, but when you acquire your 100th client, you’ll have a career that’s pretty well set for success. Not that you want to stop at 100 by any means, just that 100 is a magical number In the insurance industry. Here’s why:

Each of those 100 clients are going to have on-going needs for your products and services. There are milestones in every life, and 100 lives full of milestones are a lot of opportunities for future business. Consider 100 lives filled with

  • Simple Family plans for the newly married couple
  • Mortgage insurance policies for their first home
  • Additional plans for each new baby that comes along
  • Additional coverage for increasing lifestyle – additional vehicles, recreational vehicles and homes, travel insurance, pet insurance, etc.
  • Additional policies for mom and dad to cover their “additions”
  • College planning
  • Retirement planning

Can you see how 100 families can keep you busy for a very long time? Now, double that, or triple it, and you can see how a core group of clients and their families can really CREATE your business. Typically, those first 100 finally give you enough breathing room to relax a bit and concentrate on specializing –  honing your skills and learning just which areas of your industry you excel so you can capitalize on that.

#3 – Insurance is NOT an 8 to 5 Job

insurance jobs license-1

First of all, you are in a BUSINESS, not a job. You are both boss and employee. You’ve got to handle both administrative and subordinate duties. You’ll have to learn how to manage time, money, and yourself. You can’t go into business with an employee mindset. It’s ALL on you. That can be both good and bad, both an opportunity to shine and a rude awakening as you discover your weaknesses. Learn from your mistakes, build on your strengths and you’ll soon figure out your own way of operating your business.

Secondly, you’ll have to go out and meet with potential clients. That means you’ll have to meet with them on THEIR time, not necessarily yours. Expect to put in evening and weekend hours. A LOT of evening and weekend hours. Divide your day into administrative duties in the morning or afternoon, and then go out for your client calls after 6pm. As you progress through your first few years, your need for evening calls will greatly lessen, but never entirely go away, unless you stop meeting with potential clients. As time goes on and your business builds, more and more of what you do will be in your office, during the day. But in those crucial first years, expect to have very little free time between the hours of 6pm and 11pm. It’s just the nature of the business. Think of it as your rite of passage, the dues you hae to pay, to have a thriving insurance business.

You’re Insurance Business and You

Now that you’ve seen a bit of what it takes, early on, to become an insurance agent, perhaps you’ll be one of the stalwart young agents who actually make something of themselves in what can be a very lucrative and rewarding field. Few have what it takes, but armed with a bit of the reality, perhaps you’ll be the one who does.

5 Qualities That Make Successful Insurance Agents

A good goalie can almost sense where the puck will come from and stop it. A good auto mechanic can tell by the sound of the engine where the problem might lie. And a good cop knows when a suspect is lying in the interrogation room. These qualities make them good at their respective jobs. All pursuits require certain qualities, and being an insurance agent is no different. While many good qualities are required to be an insurance agent, there are 5 that no agent can be without. Let’s look at them to see if you have what it takes to make it as a “good” insurance agent.

A Good Agent Cares About His Clients

A good insurance agent has to put the needs of his clients first. Good insurance agents could care less about their commissions. All they want is to help people have a better future, a more secure financial situation, and a more stable plan for dealing with those disastrous moments when life goes all wrong. Good agents listen to what their clients have to say, and deliver just the products the client needs, rather than the size of the commissions attached. A good agent also knows when a client may need more than they are asking for, or more than they are willing to realize. Compassion and emotional intelligence – caring for and about people – are essential to being a good insurance agent.

A Good Agent Cares For His Clients

Customer service – good customer service, anyway – is sometimes difficult to find in today’s business world. Customers who receive quality customer service are contented and happy and stick with the companies that give them the best customer service they can offer. A good insurance agent is always available to his clients. He returns calls and messages in a very timely manner. He answers questions, or finds the answers if he doesn’t know them, until the client is satisfied. He cares for his clients’ needs and concerns as if they were his own. Good customer service is another hallmark quality of a good insurance agent.

A Good Agent Has a Winning Personality

The children’s character Eeyore is the only one around who is appealing and loveable when droopy and depressed. No one likes to do business with someone who is negative or unpredictable. A good insurance agent should be human, sure, with real emotions and reactions, but he should also be genuinely positive and upbeat as much as possible. People naturally are drawn toward others who are enthusiastic, energetic, excited, and exciting. Insurance agents with that sort of “peppy” personality will make a lot of clients, and a lot of sales.

A Good Agent Has Business Sense

It takes smarts to make it in any field, but insurance agents need certain types of smarts, and they need to be good at using them. They have to understand financial and legal aspects of their products, as well as the financial aspects of their clients’ situations. Insurance agents must also keep up with the changes in both his industry and in the economic issues that may affect his clients and his business. Not to mention, every aspect of business these days requires technology and team work. Good agents know how to keep up with the changes in the way today’s business world does business, and in how to choose, and work, with the best people.

A Good Agent Has Tenacity and Integrity

It takes a strong person to face rejection day after day and not give up or succumb to a defeatist attitude. It also takes a strong person to remain honest in the face of every incentive not to. Clients trust and respect agents who tell them the truth up front, and will quickly leave one agent for another if that integrity and honesty isn’t present. Good agents know that stubbornness and a strong sense of morals are necessary to long-term success in the business.

Good Agents Have a Host of Good Qualities

We’ve listed 5 qualities that are essential to a successful career in the insurance industry. There, are however, a whole host of other qualities that make a good insurance agent. Insurance agents come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life. Any one of them has the potential to be a “good” agent, especially if they have the 5 essential qualities that all their fellow “good” agents have in common.

Which Learning Environment Is Right for You? Online Learning vs. the Traditional Classroom

When it comes to taking your insurance certification or continuing education classes, today’s high tech world gives you two choices. You can participate in a traditional classroom with fellow students, or go it on your own with an online option. There are benefits to both, and which one is right for you will depend on your needs, your learning style, and your goals. Let’s have a look at how online learning and traditional classroom learning stack up.

Benefits of Learning in a Classroom

#1 – Interaction

One thing that online learning can’t really offer you is the interaction with others. Sure, many online learning platforms offer forums and email communications to “interact” with your instructor and fellow students, but it’s not in real time. A question may go unanswered or unclarified for hours, or even a day or more. Group dynamics and cooperative learning are nearly impossible when you are basically alone with your keyboard at 1am. Some instructors attempt interaction by requiring so many responses to your fellow classmates’ postings, but when you are doing it because you HAVE to, and not because the conversation is engaging or interesting to you, it loses something in the translation. Interacting with your peers and insurance instructors can be an important part of your learning process, too, as it can help you synthesize and analyze the information you are being presented.

#2 – Networking

Not all of the face-to-face interaction you have with your fellow students will, of course be limited to JUST classroom discussion. You’ll find yourself chatting before and after class, and on breaks. You’ll discover that these face-to-face conversations can be valuable in terms of networking – getting to know others who can be beneficial to you professionally. While networking may not help you much in class, in terms of studying or learning, it’s what happens outside of class that makes networking so valuable.

#3 – Real People

Your fellow students and your instructor are real people, just like you, just like your prospective clients and customers and colleagues. Classroom learning offers you the opportunity to communicate with real people, perhaps culturally or racially different from you. It allows you to practice communication skills, leadership skills, cooperative skills and other “people” skills that online learning can’t. Sure, your fellow students and teachers online are real people, too, but you may never know what they look like, what they sound like, or what color their hair is. You’ll never have the opportunity to speak with them face-to-face, and while written communications are important, you’ll do more speaking with your real world clients and colleagues.

Benefits of Learning Online

#1 – Flexibility

We don’t all lead the kind of lifestyle that allows us free time whenever we need it. Family demands, work demands, travel – all can make it difficult to be anywhere on a given day at a given time. So for those with demanding lives, the flexibility of online learning is definitely a plus. Being able to log on and complete your classwork from anywhere, at any time, may be the only way you can manage classes and the rest of your busy schedule.

#2 – Comfort and Convenience

While taking your classes in your PJs may be the first image that pops into your head with the mention of comfort and convenience, it’s not the only comfortable thing about online classes. There’s no need to brave cold, wet, rainy or snowy weather. There’s no need to deal with the hassles of commuting to class. There’s no need to worry about paying for food, gas, parking, or other costs traveling back and forth to class may require. Those with limited mobility need not be concerned with accessible buildings or adequate parking.  You don’t have to leave work early, or give up your Saturdays with the family. Online learning can keep you safe, warm, dry, and allow you the freedom to choose just which slippers go best with each assignment.

Both online learning and classroom learning settings offer benefits, and ultimately, the same education. The choice you make in pursuing your necessary insurance classes should be the right one for you, your lifestyle, and your goals.

Which type of learning do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 5 Reasons to Consider a Career in the Insurance Industry

The insurance industry sometimes gets a bad rap. Customers don’t like the high costs of premiums, or they don’t like the restrictions and limitations of their policies. And then there are those who wouldn’t dare dream of a career in the insurance industry because it’s “all about the selling”. You surely HAVE to have the blood of a snake oil salesman in your veins to WANT to be involved in the insurance industry, right? Wrong. And here are 5 very excellent reasons to prove that thinking wrong.

Reason #1: You get to genuinely help people.

Most customers in today’s world don’t like to be sold on anything. Therefore, you aren’t a salesperson, but rather a source of information. You lead the customer to the information they need so that they can make the best, most informed decision regarding their insurance needs. You help them wade through all that information to find the most relevant bits so that they completely and fully understand. Along the way, you have to help them face fears they may not want to consider, decide on how much risk is too much, and ultimately, help them take control of their lives. You and your products can make a real difference in your customers’ lives.

Reason #2: You can brand yourself by being yourself.

Authenticity goes a long way when you are dealing with people face-to-face. When you are in their homes, or in their offices, up close and personal, you can’t help but show bits of yourself. And the insurance industry offers that kind of personal communication and interaction with your customers and clients. Integrity, honesty and personality go a long way toward being a successful agent, and make the industry perfect for those who can’t stand the thought of hiding behind a half-truth or a make-believe “professional” façade.

Reason #3: You can serve the community you wish to serve.

Many markets – women, minorities, small business – are greatly underserved. You can offer your expertise and services to those who need it most, to those you are most comfortable with. You are in the position to target your chosen market audience better than many other professionals, because they are in desperate need of your help, and waiting for someone like you to come along.

Reason #4: You can take your business online.

For the tech-savvy agent, there’s a world of opportunity in the insurance industry just waiting online. You can build a community, an informative and relevant website, and you can become somewhat of an authority in your field, with the right amount of effort, skill, and perseverance. You don’t have to be the stuffy guy in the stuffy suit. You can join the online market and thrive.

Reason #5: You can be a leader.

Imagine, you can have your own agency. You can stand out from the crowd. Even if you don’t take it that far, you can still be a leader to your customers, a coach to your clients. You can serve them, and your community, in ways you never dreamed possible. Remember, the insurance agency is all about changing lives, securing futures. No one can do that for so many people like an insurance agent can.

The insurance industry is all about serving others, and it takes someone with a serving, empathetic attitude to do that well. There’s a lot more to being successful in the insurance industry than just selling policies. And see? Not a drop of snake oil in sight.