In order to become an insurance sales agent, you will have to undertake several tasks. In many locations, these types of agents are required by law or ordinance to be certified, licensed or registered. This usually requires you to pass a written exam and may also require you to pass a criminal background or credit check. If you want to work for an established agency or company, you will often be required to complete a course of mandatory training as well. You may also have to be employed in another agency position for a specified period of time before becoming a full agent.
Requirements for someone who wants to become an insurance sales agent can vary significantly based on geography and the company for whom one wishes to work. The first thing you will want to do is investigate governmental requirements in your area. This information can often be found through the office of the commissioner of insurance if such an office exists where you live. If not, you might research online or contact one of the major insurance providers for information.
When governmental restrictions exist, they usually mandate certification, licensing or registration of insurance agents. The intent of this process is to track those in positions to sell fraudulent policies, mislead consumers or otherwise abuse the system. If your governing agency requires you to be licensed or otherwise approved before you become an insurance sales agent, you will probably have to take a written test to demonstrate that you understand insurance law and the ethics surrounding the industry. You may also have to submit to a background investigation and a credit check. In many locations, you will not be allowed to sell insurance as a full agent if you have a criminal record or if your credit history shows a recurring pattern of fiscal irresponsibility.
Independent agents may be able to establish their own practices once legally allowed to do so. If you want to become an insurance sales agent for a major company, however, you will probably need to complete the company's training course. In some cases, this course is routinely completed before certification testing and is designed to help you pass the licensing exam. Most of these courses also provide training in areas such as sales skills, company policy and required reporting.
Major companies might also have additional requirements. In many cases, you might have to work as a customer service agent, sales assistant or junior assistant before you can become an insurance sales agent. You should also be aware that, depending on the corporate structure of the company, a full agent may essentially be a franchisee. As such, you will incur the expenses associated with setting up your office.