Is there an insurance salesperson inside of you? If you’ve already had some success in a sales position or if you are the go-to resource for explaining financial products to your friends, adult children, and family members, then the answer is yes—you are the right person to consider a career in insurance sales.
[Learn more about becoming a licensed insurance agent.]
Insurance salespeople help consumers and businesses by analyzing their insurance needs and explaining their options to them. They help them keep their policies up-to-date and settle claims when they arise. They may sell life, health, and long-term care insurance as well as property and casualty insurance policies such as automobile and home insurance.
There are four reasons that a career in insurance sales fits well with a midlife career change.
1. The industry is stable
People and businesses will always need insurance, both in good economic times and in bad. Although areas of the industry are tied to economic growth—for instance, there is more need for company health insurance when employment is high, or property insurance when construction is booming——there will always be a stream of clients with insurance needs. It will be your job to go out and make these clients your own.
2. Insurance agents enjoy flexible hours
Insurance agents generally schedule their own hours and often make appointments in the evenings or on weekends when their clients are available. This frees up time on weekdays to enjoy other activities, schedule personal appointments, and run errands. If you’re tired of a 9 to 5 grind, becoming an insurance sales agent can offer you the flexible hours you’ve been looking for.
[Are you ready to start your own business? Learn how.]
3. The entry barrier is low
To become an insurance salesperson, you need to study for and pass a state licensing exam. Some agents report that they were able to study for and take the exam and start selling insurance within a matter of a few weeks to a few months. A high school diploma is all that most states require to sit for the exam.
4. The income ceiling is high
Insurance sales is a job where your earning potential is only limited by your own ability and drive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary of insurance sales agents was $48,150 in May 2012 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $26,120 and the top 10 percent earning more than $116,940. If you choose to be an independent agent, you will be paid solely on commission while agency and insurance company employees can earn a combination of salary and commission—the choices are your to make.
If you’ve saved up a comfortable midlife nest egg, you can afford to give this career the time it requires to build a client list and start earning commissions. If, on the other hand, you’re not ready to make a complete career change, you can take the job for a test drive by selling insurance part-time while you continue to work in your current career.
Many people begin their insurance careers by working for an agency or brokerage where they can shadow a more experienced sales agent for valuable on-the-job training. Then, when they’re ready to break out on their own, they become an independent insurance sales agents and enjoy the benefits of controlling their own financial futures.