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Buying and Selling Insurance

Whether you're looking to buy insurance or considering becoming an insurance agent, you'll want to get a handle on insurance basics.

FindLaw's Buying and Selling Insurance section will help you better understand the following:

  • How the underwriting process determines an insurance premium
  • The meaning of "loss run reports"
  • Insurance regulations and state laws
  • How to report an insurance company
  • How to sell insurance as a licensed insurance agent

You'll find these topics and more in this section.

The Basics of Buying Insurance

Whether you're insuring your home, car, health, life, or anything else of value, you'll want protection. Understanding the basics of buying insurance will go a long way.

If you're shopping for health insurance, take stock of your health needs. When considering life insurance, be concerned about providing your beneficiaries a death benefit. Beneficiaries may be any of the following:

  • Dependents
  • Significant others
  • People who would need financial support in your absence

Once you determine your insurance coverage needs, you can request quotes from competing insurers. Many insurers can give you a quote online in a matter of minutes. This is true with auto insurers in particular.

It takes some time to parse the details, but make sure you compare apples to apples before deciding. Paying a $100 per month health insurance policy premium may seem affordable, but a $10,000 deductible could make it impractical to use.

The Basics of Selling Insurance

A career in insurance sales can be rewarding. Turnover can be high in the first few years. The work is challenging and you'll learn to accept rejection as you build a book of business. Over time, your perseverance and determination can pay off.

To become an insurance salesperson, you must understand your state's insurance agent licensing requirements. The National Insurance Producer Registry also provides state-specific licensing requirements and fees.

The insurance industry does not require a particular educational background, but there are licensing requirements. Aspiring insurance agents can often meet the requirements for insurance sales faster than other professions requiring a license.

Licensing Requirements

Before starting the licensing process, decide what type of insurance you'll sell. State names for the licenses can vary, but there are common types of licenses for insurance products. These include the following:

  • Property and casualty license: Covers clients who need business, home, and auto casualty insurance
  • Life, accident, and health license: Covers clients requiring insurance related to life events, including life insurance, accidents, or health insurance

Your business may require you to get multiple licenses. For example, you can be an insurance broker who is a life insurance agent,  selling term life insurance and permanent life insurance. With multiple licenses, you could also sell casualty insurance for automobiles. Your state's insurance department or the insurance agency where you work will provide specifics.

By obtaining supplementary insurance certifications, you can further expand your offerings. Certification as a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) would create the opportunity for you to sell life insurance policies that are also investment vehicles.

Types of Agents

When you consider becoming an insurance agent, you must decide between two types of insurance agents. This will determine what type of business you can start. The two choices are:

  • Captive insurance agent: An insurance agent who works with only one company. Such agents typically work with a large national insurance provider.
  • Independent insurance agent: An agent that has the flexibility to provide quotes from many companies. They can find the most suitable policies at the best purchase price.

An independent agent may have more flexibility and can write policies for many companies. However, they receive less training and support from the insurance carriers.

A captive agent often receives substantial training and support, but commission rates may be lower. Deciding which type of agent to become takes due diligence. Evaluate your skill set and goals. Discussing your situation with experienced agents is also a prudent step.

Building Your Insurance Business

Regardless of your licensing, you'll need clients to build and maintain a business. This applies no matter what type of training, certification, or level of expertise you attain.

The most important aspect of selling insurance is connecting with clients. You must be willing to learn about your clients' needs and connect with them on a personal level.

When building a business, new insurance agents often find it helpful to start with family members and referrals from their existing networks and build from there. As a business owner, it may be beneficial to join local organizations and create a website to promote your business. You will need to take the approach that works best for you.

Click on a link below to learn more about buying and selling insurance.

Learn About Buying and Selling Insurance

  • Insurance Regulation Overview - A general overview of how insurance is regulated at the federal and state levels. It provides summaries of some of the most important laws and how they impact insurance markets.
  • Selling Insurance Overview - A general guide to selling insurance, including information about regulations at both the federal and state levels, what it takes to become a licensed agent, and more.
  • What Is a Loss Run Report? - Everything you need to know about loss run reports. These are detailed histories of your insurance claim activity. It also explains the reasons why you may want to access one.
  • Buying Insurance Overview - What you need to know before you buy an insurance policy, including an honest and detailed assessment of your actual needs and a careful comparison of available policies.
  • What Is an Insurance Premium? - Definition and overview of insurance premiums, how they are calculated, a summary of the laws that impact premiums, the insurer's responsibilities concerning the policy, and more.
  • How to Become a Licensed Insurance Agent - Overview of what it takes to become a licensed insurance agent, such as background checks, certain educational requirements, training courses, and licensing examinations.

Learn About Buying and Selling Insurance

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

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