What are the Different Insurance Sales Careers?

Article Details
  • Written By: Barbara R. Cochran
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 February 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Insurance sales careers, for the most part, consist of two types. One of the most traditional of insurance sales careers is that of a captive agent who usually works out of an office for an insurance agency and may represent a more limited number of insurance and financial planning companies. An insurance broker, on the other hand, is an independent professional who also sells insurance and financial plans, but which tend to be offered by an unlimited number of companies.

Another difference between captive insurance agents and brokers is that captive agents will typically have many more work-related benefits than brokers, since they are more like employees. They typically work in agency offices that act as go-betweens for insurance companies and customers. Some of a captive agent’s benefits may include ongoing company-paid training and education, group insurance and retirement plans, and in some cases, transportation expenses.

An independent broker spends less time at the agency or agencies he or she works for, and receives fewer, if any benefits. His or her commissions tend to be higher than those of captive agents, however. That helps pay for marketing and other expenses related to the job.


Even the more traditional "captive" kind of insurance sales professional can carry out business which is diversified, at least in terms of the types of insurance and financial products he or she might offer. This is possible when the professional takes advantage of the Internet, not only to maintain relations with existing customers, but to serve a higher number of clients overall. Regardless, customers still like to have the option of face-to-face interviews with a captive agent or broker so they can avail themselves of an detailed explanation of any insurance or financial product or products he or she may recommend. That way, clients feel confident they are making informed decisions about which action, if any, they should take.

Captive agents and brokers, in spite of some of the differences in the way they conduct their insurance sales careers, have many commonalities. Optimally, they should have outgoing personalities that engage prospective and long-standing customers. They should also have a desire to help individuals save themselves from financial disadvantages or loss due to inadequate coverage or lack of planning for the future. Both captive agents and brokers maintain records on their clients, write reports, and help a client settle any claim he or she might make in relation to property loss or medical bills.

Ideally, those who want to pursue insurance sales careers should have at least a bachelor’s degree in some economic or business-related field. They should participate in continuing education courses to ensure they are abreast of the latest changes in government insurance and financial regulations, as well as of the way the insurance industry is conducted in general. This updated knowledge is especially important when someone goes to take a license examination, since a license is required to practice as an insurance sales agent or broker in most places.

Captive insurance agents and brokers are generally considered to be the frontline professionals who sell insurance and other financial products for agencies, and ultimately, the major insurance companies. Other insurance sales careers include sales managers and customer service representatives. Sales managers train agents and oversee sales activities in different territories. Among other duties, corporate customer services representatives sometimes sell new or upgrade existing policies for customers over the phone. From time to time, they may be promoted into sales agent positions.



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