Planning Your Career as a Commercial Insurance Agent: Licensing, Outlook, and Earning Potential

plan career commercial insurance agent

A career as a commercial insurance agent can give you a very secure career. The average insurance agent earns about $55,000 a year.

There are millions of businesses in the U.S., and many of them are underinsured. You can help the small businesses in your community by making sure they have the right amount of coverage.

Before you can get there, though, you need to go through the steps to become a commercial insurance agent and build up your business.  

Keep reading to learn what you need to do to become an insurance agent for the commercial side.

What Does a Commercial Insurance Agent Do?

You help businesses. Small businesses are the engine of our nation’s economy, but they’re under threat every day.

Increased competition, natural disasters, are among the top threats. Today, thousands of businesses had to close due to a pandemic. Many of these business owners are finding that their insurance isn’t covering those losses.

As a commercial insurance agent, you can give those business owners peace of mind and proper coverage. Your job is to contact and meet with prospective clients.

You ask questions about their business to assess their insurance needs. You then give them options to insure their business. They take your suggestions or they don’t.

If they do become a client, you meet with them annually to reassess their needs and adjust their policy.

How to Become a Commercial Insurance Agent

Does that sound like a good career? You help your community and get paid for it. If you think that’s the right career path for you, here are the steps you need to take to become a commercial insurance agent.

Is Commercial Insurance Right for You?

The first step that you need to assess is whether or not commercial insurance is right for you. You need to have an entrepreneurial mindset and a certain tolerance of risk as you build up your business.

The most common scenario that insurance agents face is that they work for commissions only. In other words, if you don’t sell, you don’t get paid.

You might start working with an agency that gives you a ramp-up salary or a draw against earnings as you start up your business. That allows you to have an income, but it will fade away after 3-6 months.

Not everyone can live with that kind of uncertainty. If you do have your doubts and you do want to pursue commercial insurance, then make sure you have about 6 months worth of expenses in the bank.

That will ease the pressure of having to land a sale. Customers will be able to sense desperation and you’ll find it difficult to sell when you need it the most.

Choosing a Specialization

There are some commercial insurance agents that choose to be specialists or generalists. Generalists offer many different types of business policies, such as business auto insurance, liability, and property insurance.

You can specialize in offering captive insurance as well. You want to decide what the right career choice is for you.

Reach Out to Insurance Agencies

Before you get started, you should build up relationships within the insurance industry in your area. Talk to various agencies and see if they’re hiring more agents.

You won’t be able to sell commercial insurance until you get your license. You can learn as much about the industry as you can. Some agencies will sponsor agents before they get licensed. You’ll be assigned to administrative work while you study for your state exam.

This is also a great time to speak with other agents in the field. You’ll be able to understand what it’s really like to be an insurance agent.

Get Licensed

Here’s the most intimidating part of starting your career. You have to get licensed in your state to sell commercial insurance.

In order to get licensed, you have to take an exam for each area of expertise. If you want to sell property insurance and life insurance, you’ll need to take two exams.

Some states also require that you take a course before you sit for the exam. You also need to be at least 18 years old.

There are usually no educational requirements to get a license. However, a degree in business would help you further your career. You could go into risk management.

Get Your Own Insurance

After you’re done celebrating your exam grades, you need to get back to work. You do need to take out an insurance policy for yourself.

At the very least, have errors and omissions insurance. That will cover you if someone finds fault with your recommendations and decides to sue you for damages.

Start Learning

When you study for your exams and do administrative work, you learn a small sliver of what it’s really like to sell commercial insurance.

You learn a lot of theory, but you don’t get exposed to the practical side of working with customers. Once you’re licensed and can start selling insurance, you can now do the work to sell your insurance.

Remember to keep learning and growing as you start to contact customers. That’s the only way you’re going to get better at your job as a commercial insurance agent.

Maintain Your License

Once you’re licensed, you have to take continuing education courses to maintain it. The insurance licensing requirements will be different in every state.

You don’t want to wait until your license is up for renewal. Make the commitment to take courses regularly to learn how you can best serve your customers.

Become a Commercial Insurance Agent

If you want to jump into an exciting career and help out local businesses, becoming a commercial insurance agent is it. It’s a fast-paced industry that is complex and always changing.

You can be the one who educates businesses about different insurance products and how they can make a huge difference. It can save businesses from having to close because of a disaster that they didn’t expect.

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