A life insurance broker is an independent insurance sales agent who helps clients find the best coverage plans according to their needs. A broker researches and sells policies from many different insurance companies, rather than representing a single provider. In most regions, life insurance brokers are required to hold college degrees and obtain licensure to ensure they understand the legal and ethical aspects of the job. Most professionals work for large private brokerage firms, but some brokers operate their own businesses from their homes or offices.
When a person wants to learn about different insurance options, he or she can choose to contact a representative from a specific company or call a life insurance broker. While company agents and independent brokers perform many of the same duties, clients often prefer to work with brokers to make sure they are getting the best deal possible. Agents are obligated to convince potential customers to buy policies from their companies. Brokers, on the other hand, can explain the differences and benefits of policies from a variety of companies.
A life insurance broker might talk to clients in person, over the phone, or through e-mail. He or she first obtains information about a client's age, health, family, financial status, and existing insurance plans. The broker can explain the basic principles of setting up a life insurance policy and help the client design an ideal plan. He or she then contacts different insurance agencies to negotiate policy details on behalf of the client. When the right policy is found, the broker arranges for payment schedules and helps the customer complete the necessary paperwork.
Most insurance brokers, especially those who are self-employed, have fairly erratic schedules. In order to meet the needs of customers, a broker may make him or herself available on nights and weekends in addition to standard office hours. Client situations or policy details can change over time, so it is important for a broker to keep careful records and stay in contact with customers over the long term to ensure they keep the coverage they need.
The requirements to become a life insurance broker can vary, but most brokers hold bachelor's degrees or higher in finance, business administration, economics, or a related subject. Previous experience in customer service and sales can also be very helpful in finding an entry-level job at a brokerage firm. In addition, a new life insurance broker usually needs to pass a licensing exam administered by a regional authority before he or she can start working independently. Experienced, successful workers may eventually be able to advance to supervisory positions within their firms or start their own life insurance brokerage companies.