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A guide on how to become a successful life insurance agent

A lucrative profession lies in the selling of life insurance policies, yet how can one become a prosperous agent in this field? This query is answered by the advice of a knowledgeable insider in the industry.

The defining aspect of a life insurance agent’s job? Putting a smile on their clients’ faces during tough times and knowing they made that difference. Though such a goal within a saturated market isn’t easy. Regardless, if you’re looking to establish yourself in this area – be relieved! Here we reveal everything covered within “Insurance Business” including becoming an agent, the trade’s merits and drawbacks, necessary prerequisites, and suggestions for ascension shared by seasoned professionals.

Discover in the succeeding article if a profession trading life assurance is compatible to your present aptitudes and credentials.

What does a life insurance agent do?

Life insurance representatives are authorized specialists who market the insurance plans of their affiliated insurance providers. They frequently function as representatives for one or several insurance firms and furnish potential customers with insight regarding their groups, coverage schemes, and client offerings.

Partner insurers and their corresponding agents stipulate agreements determining which policies are available through the agent and what the remuneration for selling these life insurance policies will be.

Likewise to the categorization of insurance agents as a whole, you can differentiate life insurance agents into two types.

  • Captive life insurance agents

Insurance agents who are employed by a specific company and are not allowed to offer policies from other insurers are called captive agents. Being a captive insurance agent entails having allegiance to a single insurance company. Whether you choose to work full-time for an agency or as an independent contractor, you can only associate with one provider. One perk that comes with this profession, however, is receiving generous operational support, benefits, and administrative perks from your affiliated insurer.

For instance, you can have access to workspace, crucial equipment and tools, and outstanding administrative services. Moreover, the company may offer insurance leads and encourage referrals on potential clientele for you.

  • Independent life insurance agents

When you work as an independent life insurance agent, you work with multiple life insurance companies. The big advantage is that you can offer clients whatever options best meet their needs, since you are not stuck working with just one company. While you may earn more in commissions, you will have additional financial responsibilities such as rent, office supplies, and marketing expenses.

Peter Roberts, the proprietor of independent life insurance firm “Legacy Family Life LLC” points out how a career in life insurance proffers far greater advantages than just monetary rewards.

According to him, aiding people is what he finds to be the most fulfilling part of working in the life insurance industry. While many pursue a career in insurance solely to profit off commission earnings, being a competent life insurance agent has the potential to provide for one’s family needs while also guaranteeing overall family protection.

How can you become a life insurance agent?

Before becoming a life insurance agent, you have to satisfy certain criteria. As an agent, clients count on you for guidance in selecting policies that are most suitable for their circumstances. Acting as a knowledgeable resource is an important facet of the job, necessitating you to meet specific requisites. The list below details such criteria.

  • Fundamental qualifications needed.

The requirements to qualify as a life insurance agent vary depending on the state, promptness to follow them is crucial. Without exceptions, you must satisfy all the required criteria.

☐ You must be at least 18 years old.


☐ You must be free of any fraud or felony charges.

☐ You must not owe federal or state taxes.

☐ You must not have past-due child support.

☐ You must successfully complete a background check.

  • Pre-licensing education

In most states, individuals wishing to sell insurance must obtain a life insurance license. Part of the application process is completing a pre-licensing coursework. The coursework is crafted to assist you in better understanding the industry’s regulations in advance of taking the state licensure exam.

In certain states, such as Texas, taking pre-licensing courses is not mandatory when obtaining an insurance license. The task of preparing for the licensure exam in such cases falls entirely on the individual seeking to become licensed in Texas.

A variety of subjects are included in pre-license education, such as;

  • The regulations of the insurance industry
  • Various forms of insurance policies
  • Ethics

  • Principles of insurance.

It is possible to complete these courses via an online platform or within a more traditional classroom setting. Every insurance line, which is also referred to as a line of authority, requires a specified minimum of mandatory hours to fulfill.

☐ Life insurance: 20 credit hours

☐ Health insurance: 20 credit hours

☐ Life, accident, and health (LA&H) insurance: 40 credit hours

☐ Property and casualty (P&C) insurance: 90 credit hours

☐ Personal lines insurance: 40 credit hours


By taking courses on multiple areas of expertise, you open yourself up to selling policies across various insurance fields. Broadening your skillset can assist you in branching out in your profession.

  • Licensure exam

Arranging for the licensure exam is frequently performed through your governing state insurance department. It is recommended to do this at least one day ahead of your desired date. Remember that drop-in examinees will be denied entry.

To sit for the examination, the documents included in the official requirements are indispensable.

☐ Certificate of completion of pre-licensing education

☐ Proof of payment of testing fee (can range from $20 to $150 depending on the state and insurance line)

☐ Government issued photo- and signature-bearing identification (see list below):

At the examination location, the number of valid IDs required may be one or two depend on the specific location.

When you have achieved clarity within your understanding, it will then be possible for you to proceed with taking the state licensure examination. This particular test is separated into two key classifications:

  • Life, accident, and health
  • Property and casualty

To successfully complete a test, you’ll need to answer dozens, or possibly hundreds, of questions, depending on its length. The amount of time to complete the exam is limited to a couple of hours, with specific deadlines contingent upon where you live. To get a passing grade, you’ll almost always need to make the right decision approximately 70% of the time.

  • License application

After acing the state licensure test, the subsequent step is obtaining your license. Simply deliver your endorsed application to the regulatory organization entrusted with insurance governance in your state. Wait for a manageable moment after grades are out for the department to collect itself and process your results.

Included below is an inventory of essentials:

☐ License application fee (around $50 but varies by state)

☐ Electronic fingerprint (some states require this for the background check)

☐ Valid test results

Your exam scores are only current for a specific period of time, usually one to two years, depending on your state’s regulations. It’s important to keep this in mind when applying for a life insurance license. Should you miss the allotted time and fail to apply for your license, you will need to retake and pass the test to acquire your credentials.

  • Get your license

The turnover time for your license application review and background check by your local insurance department typically spans from three up to five weeks. In case your background screening brings up eligibility concerns, further details from you may be requested by the department, potentially prolonging the application evaluation period.

Upon completing your application, you shall receive notification of its status via email from the department. When you obtain your insurance license, there are a few points to keep in mind:

☐ Your life insurance license is valid for two years.

☐ Some licenses require 24 hours of continuing education (CE) to be eligible for renewal.

☐ CE must include three hours of ethics-related training.

☐ At least half of the CE credits must be taken in a classroom.

  • Job application

After obtaining your license as a life insurance agent, it’s time to pursue your dream of employment in the same field. Going about it can be simplified, and we have crafted a list of top-rated internet sites for perusal of available positions.

Reminding new agents of the importance of diligence, Roberts affirms that the insurance sector is great, yet cautions against giving trust too easily. Neglecting discretion leaves most novice agents vulnerable, he warns. Instead, he encourages those starting out to focus on finding a reliable team with valorous principles, and a tried-and tested recipe for success.

What benefits and drawbacks come with pursuing a career in life insurance sales?

Examining the benefits and drawbacks is necessary when contemplating a career as a life insurance agent, as with any other vocation. Consider them carefully before deciding whether this is the proper position for you.

Exploring the perks and downsides of opting for a profession in which one deals with marketing and providing advice regarding life insurance.

Benefit of being a life insurance agent

  • 1. Doesn’t require a college degree

Obtaining a degree is not compulsory for pursuing a career as a life insurance agent. Nevertheless, having the degrees could potentially prove beneficial. Fresh recruits interested in the field can enroll themselves in specific on-the-job training and guidance programs provided by various companies and agencies to learn the necessary skills.

  • 2. Opportunity to earn a high income

According to Roberts, people with the proper approach can potentially enjoy great income and career advancement by selling life insurance policies. Essentially, working in the permitting environment of a life insurance agent can help facilitate financial gain, however, not anyone can excel in this position.

“What I find most fulfilling as a life insurance agent is the chance to provide assistance to families and guarantee a stable future for them,” he states. “By partnering with the appropriate insurer, one can attain limitless financial gains by spreading protective coverage to numerous people.”

3. Flexible work hours: Life insurance agents are usually given flexibility in creating their own work agendas. They have the advantage of being able to do a lot of their work from home. However, at times, their duty requires in-person meetings with clients.

4. Chance to work with the industry’s biggest names: If you choose to become a life insurance agent, you could collaborate with renowned corporations within the field. We offer a lineup of the top US life insurance companies, so you can determine the positions of the most prominent industry leaders.


There are drawbacks to working as a life insurance agent.

1. Commission-based earnings: Your specific circumstances will determine whether this factor is beneficial or detrimental. For example, a seasoned life insurance representative with a solid portfolio of clients and plenty of industry know-how could have better chances of finalizing sales. However, if you’re a newcomer to the field, even after exerting a great deal of effort, you might face serious difficulties in pinpointing and obtaining clients within an intensely competitive marketplace.

  • 2. Difficulty in finding leads: Discovering valuable leads is crucial for a life insurance agent to succeed. However, it presents a major obstacle due to the intensely competitive nature of the industry. Often, the leads you come across may have already been targeted by other professionals.
  • 3. Rejection and disrespect: While having good intentions is important, encountering individuals who have little regard for the work of life insurance agents empowers the sculpting of thick skin. Even with the possibility of hearing no at times, adept social abilities and being receptive stand out as significant contributors to favorable success in this profession.

4. Sales challenges: Selling life insurance is not a walk in the park. It necessitates discussions on mortality, which many people tend to overlook. Besides, there are no immediate benefits from a life insurance policy compared to car insurance, which adds to the selling difficulty.

Becoming a prosperous life insurance broker, what does it require?

  • Success requires dedication and hard work.

Many new life insurance agents enter the profession attracted by the job’s high earning potential, which Roberts sees as a big mistake.

According to him, being a proficient insurance agent is challenging. People typically choose this career path with the idea that it will generate plenty of money easily. This, however, is a flawed thought. A great insurance agent invests an immense amount of time and hard work.

  • Agents must have a passion for helping others.

According to Roberts, the foundation of a life insurance agent’s profession is the aspiration to aid others, particularly during moments of bereavement. He expressed that such situations present agents with a chance to provide assistance, thus confirming that their job is a valuable and meaningful responsibility.

According to the speaker, possessing a “heart of service” is the most essential ability for an agent. The general trait of ardently desiring to aid, protect and cherish others is imperative. Being passionately committed about providing the greatest life insurance comes with an innate desire to do better, which is always about servicing people without expecting anything in return.

  • Don’t focus too much on the money.

To prosper as a life insurance agent, cultivating connections and playing for the long haul should be prioritized over seeking quick returns, according to Roberts. He advises against bankers disregarding his cash flow by wanting it instantly; this is the typical mistake of unseasoned agents.

Regrettably, many inexperienced agents focus solely on the pursuit of profit, yet ultimately find themselves failing to secure any. With this in mind, my recommendation is to enter this field with the goal of aiding those around us. Being conscious of the fact that this professsion entails long-range planning, we cannot rely on luxuriating in too much earnings right away.

If your desire is to assist others, it is likely that you’ll find a company that embraces and reflects those ideals. In turn, you can promote and distribute items that echo your passions. The outcome being, you’ll not only fulfill your dreams of contributing to society but also enjoy significant financial returns.

  • Find a mentor who will guide you to success.

For inexperienced agents navigating the fiercely competitive life insurance industry, finding their bearings can be a seemingly insurmountable task. Roberts maintains that selecting an experienced guide as a mentor can significantly pave the way to triumph-centered professional growth aplomb.

“Life insurance is a beautiful product to sell,” he says. “If you are trained properly and you have a great leader, you can do very well.

Discovering a mentor or group that can teach effective approaches to success as a life insurance agent is the most difficult task. The industry creates an issue since many agents become licensed with the belief that they will amass wealth. As a result, they join an insurance corporation based on multilevel marketing (MLM) and are not given the correct tutelage, prospects, assistance, or affection that is essential.

According to Roberts, another challenge is that a significant number of novices in the life insurance sector are forced to figure things out for themselves.

“The difficult part, however, is that in the life insurance industry, agents have to assume the role as entrepreneurs themselves,” he points out. This indicates that they are responsible for managing their own operations, and moreover, mastering fundamental expertise such as attracting clients, attending to consumer needs, and executing successful sales at an advanced level.

To triumph over hindrances, it is essential to look for a reputable coach who has a solid history of achievements and a structured approach that can provide you with impressive resources. An accomplished leader who can dedicate their time to giving you direction and assistance is immensely valuable.

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