An insurance agent consults with clients

Pros and Cons of Being an Insurance Agent

Because so many kinds of insurance are mandatory, insurance sales is often thought of as a very lucrative career. Insurance agents are the folks who help clients pick out the insurance policies that best meet their needs. This may mean working for a specific company and only selling that “brand” of insurance, or it may mean working for a more generalized agency or brokerage, selling several different companies’ plans.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it will grow at about 10% over the next 10 years (meaning there will be 10% more insurance agents needed in 2025 than there are now), which is an average rate across professions. Although there won’t be a great boom of insurance agents needed, it seems fairly safe to say there will be a stable market waiting for those who feel the call of the insurance agent after carefully weighing both good and bad aspects of the job.

Pro: No Degree Required

Although a college degree can be helpful in obtaining a position with an insurance company, it isn’t a requirement for every job. Insurance agents are, for the most part, trained through special courses. Often, if you get the job, the company will pay for you to go through this training and to become licensed. That’s a pretty good deal for a job that pays $60,000 a year (on average). Additional education also lends strength to your ability to have your own insurance firm - a gig that pays significantly better. There are a lot of different specialties to focus on; this means there’s a lot to learn, but it also means you can find something that really fits your interests.

Con: No Stability

The downside of this licensing is that it differs from state to state; if you move, you’ll have to get licensed again. And the downside of the $60,000 a year is that it isn’t always a salary. Most agents work off of commission - meaning you only get paid for every sale you make. This can be very difficult, especially in companies that provide health insurance, since there is often a specific enrollment period. Enrollment periods are times of the year when new clients begin their policies. And with all those different options for specialties comes lots of changes in policy, especially in places that sell multiple insurance companies policies.

Pro: Working With People

If you like working with people, you’ll certainly get that chance in the insurance business. It takes a combination of listening attentively to figure out what will best suit individual (or company) needs and a salesman’s silver-tongued talking to be really successful. Once you have a firm client base, working on commission becomes increasingly less worrisome, and the longer you work at it, the better your pay will be.

Con: Building up Your Clientele

Unfortunately, it may take quite a while to build up all those clients. It could take years of cold calls and traveling around; meeting, greeting and smooth-talking. Because of all of this, hours can be long and may not be your standard 9-5 office day. You may find that you have to arrange special times to meet clients’ needs, especially when you’re just starting out. There’s a delicate balance between giving in to clients and letting them run all over you.

Last Updated: July 09, 2015