5 Easy Steps to Becoming an
- Make the Decision – the position as an agent is just that decision. There is no degree or special train required to enter the field. Some agencies may require a degree or high school diploma but this has no being on the success of the agent. Why? Because the field of insurance is an acquired skill. Now once you have made that decision the company will provide you the products, training and education on sales and people skills to earn a great living or run a large agency. You real on the job education and your ability to follow a system will determine you success in the insurance industry.
- Get Licensed – The can now be done online from you home or laptop computer. Depending on the state you are in will determine how many hours of pre-licensing education you need. For example, my Agency is based in Madison, Mississippi so all agents in my home state are required to complete 20 hours per line of authority classroom or self-study. If you wanted to be licensed to sell Life & Fixed Annuities, and Health & Accident Insurance – you would need 40 hours of classroom or self-study. Each would require you to pass a practice exam before taking state exam. If you are not making 90 or above on practice exam do no attempt state exam. Once you are making above 90 you are ready to pass state exam. Schedule exam a week out so you can take the test on the date you want.
- Pass State Exam – Life & Fixed Annuities, and Health & Accident Insurance is one test of 125 questions or 70 questions if you take them separately. I recommend my agents to take them both at the same time. Cost is about the same for taking one or double if you do the separately. Now you are ready to get licensed. Most companies you go to work with will handle the process for you and send you to Individual Producer Licensing Online Services . You will register for an account and follow the instructions or some companies will provide hard copy forms for you to complete and the company will process them for you.
- Get Appointed – Choose a company to write business for that insurance company. Depending on how you are hired as an employee or independent contractor has benefits and advantages. There is also two classifications of agents that are determined by the company who is your broker:
- Exclusive – means that you can only write business that you are appointed with for the broker that hires you. That may e one or more companies, but all appointment paperwork must go through your broker or that is grounds for termination. This contract can be as employee with benefits or 1099 Independent Contractor where you pay all expenses and “no company benefits”.
- Independent Agent – is a 1099 Independent Contractor position in most cases and you negotiate your contract with different brokers to provide the best product and services for your target market. As an independent contractor all expenses are paid by you and are deducted by you and you buy your own benefits and set up your own office or work out of your home depending on the business do plan to do.
- Salesman or Agency – You are now in business for your self and I refer to our business as a pipeline business. If you were hired to supply water to Madison MS from the reservoir you could hire agents to carry buckets for you on a daily basis, or you could build a pipeline from the reservoir to Madison and have a never ending supply of water to meet the demand of Madison. Carry buckets (sales) is an easy way to get started and will make you much more money initially. But, you are limiting you income by time and space based on the numbers of hours in a day and how many hours you work each day. On the other hand, you can start build the pipeline (agency) and initially it is very slow and challenging as you get your business started by hiring and training agents in an area of business you have just entered. But long-term you have the potential to earn a lot better standard of living and grow wealth over time.
Their are many way to enter the insurance industry and many types of agencies you can build. There is no right or wrong way – it comes down to the best way for you.
I personally prefer the independent contract for agency building and I am always looking for key people to add to my team. My agency is Licensed in Mississippi and we hold non-resident licenses in 8 state – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. A non-Resident license means that I am able to sign and/or override sales in theses state by agents I hire. I also have a National Brokerage where if I am licensed in my home state and appointed with the insurance company I can refer that business to a licensed agent in that state through our network and be paid my same commission from by national brokerage company.
Our agency is a National Brokerage company and most of my applications are done online by an automated insurance quote system that the application is taken online and policy is issued within minutes not months. Other applications are taken by myself or one of my assistants online after I work with the client to determine their need, what insurance company to place them with and underwriting class they will qualify for with that company.
The days of three interview in the home or office are far and few in-between today with the online application process.
I hope this helps you with your decision to become a life insurance agent.
Wayne McLeod, Licensed Agent & Affiliate
www.MFGS Life Partners.com