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Independent insurance agents sell all types of insurance, including health and life, small business, and auto and home insurance. Working from home as an independent insurance agent gives you the flexibility to set your own hours to accommodate clients and a comfortable atmosphere in which to work. Insurance sales agents make around $61,000 annually, on average, according to July 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Enroll in business or insurance courses at a university or community college. Taking business or insurance classes and earning an associate's or even bachelor's degree shows your demonstrated interest in the field to insurance agencies who may prefer agents with an educational background.
Complete your state's requirements for becoming an insurance sales agent. Obtain the appropriate license for the insurance you want to sell. All states regulate insurance agents--usually through a department of insurance—which often requires passing a pre-licensing course and a state exam. Most states also require separate licenses for specific insurance products—such as the two different ones required for selling health and life or property and casualty insurance.
Set up the legal framework for your business. Register your business name and structure (i.e. sole proprietorship, limited liability company, etc.) with your state and pay any applicable registration fees.
Purchase Errors and Omissions Insurance. This insurance acts as a professional liability insurance coverage for insurance agents in the event of lawsuit. An Errors and Omissions insurance policy covers things such as defense costs and damage awards.
Choose an insurance company with which you want to establish yourself. Examples of insurance companies that train and work with independent agents include Farmer's Insurance, Progressive and State Farm. Complete all preliminary requirements, such as paying for a criminal background check, completing a formal application and meeting an insurance manager for an interview. Most insurance companies also require independent agents to attend formalized training to get familiarized with the specific products offered.
Establish a home office. Create a quiet space in your house—ideally a separate office room—and furnish it with appropriate office furniture such as a work desk. Set up a computer system, telephone and organizational unit for storing clients' paperwork.
Begin marketing your independent insurance business. Create business marketing materials such as pamphlets, brochures and business cards. Set up a budget for television, radio and/or newspaper advertising.
2016 Salary Information for Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance sales agents earned a median annual salary of $49,990 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, insurance sales agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $77,140, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 501,400 people were employed in the U.S. as insurance sales agents.
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Matthew Schieltz has been a freelance web writer since August 2006, and has experience writing a variety of informational articles, how-to guides, website and e-book content for organizations such as Demand Studios. Schieltz holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He plans to pursue graduate school in clinical psychology.
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