Your Guide to Becoming a Life Insurance Agent

If you're interested in a rewarding career with limitless opportunity for growth, becoming a life insurance agent might be right for you. Read on to learn how you can join the ranks of successful life insurance agents!

The Fundamentals

Life insurance is designed to protect people against the financial hardship often accompanied with the loss of a loved one. The death benefit provides beneficiaries with funds to support the family, the business or other interests of the deceased.

Most life insurance agents also sell annuities. An annuity is a long term retirement plan to protect against the risk of outliving one's resources. Annuities also allow the policyholder's money to grow tax-deferred. 

By selling these and other associated products, life insurance agents provide consumers with essential tools for securing a sound financial future—extending a very important service to all clients.

The Education

Today, many colleges and universities offer courses in insurance—some even offer degrees in insurance. If your school does not currently offer these courses, you can also pursue a career in life insurance by obtaining a four-year degree in some of the following areas:

o Business Law

o Accounting and Bookkeeping

o Marketing 

o Economics

o Public Speaking

o Mathematics

o Computer Programming

These areas of study will enhance your sales skills and give you a solid idea of the type of financial products available to consumers.

The Requirements

On top of a four-year degree, most states require prospective agents to complete approximately 40 hours worth of pre-licensing courses. Your pre-licensing courses will further familiarize you with the insurance industry, and provide basic information and instruction on insurance products, state insurance laws and insurance ethics.

After you've completed the required prerequisite courses, you'll need to take the necessary steps to obtain the obligatory licenses to sell life insurance and related products. It's important to understand that your licensure needs will depend on the type of products you wish to sell.

If you wish to sell life insurance and little else, you'll need to obtain a life and health license, which allows you to sell whole life, term and certain universal life products. If you plan to sell mutual funds or variable annuities, you will need to obtain a Series 6 or Series 7 license, both of which are earned through the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).

A Series 6 license is for agents who wish to sell only mutual funds and variable annuities, including individual stocks and bonds. In contrast, a Series 7 license secures agents as general securities sales representatives, allowing them to sell a full range of investment products. Many agents choose to kill two birds with one stone by studying for and passing the exam for the Series 7, giving them a full range of products to offer to clients.

While there are various other distinctions to earn in the life insurance industry, obtaining a general license and passing a Series 6 or Series 7 examination are the most critical steps to take in becoming a life insurance agent. 

Get Started Today!

Work as a life insurance agent can be lead to an exciting, satisfying career. Contact the Department of Insurance in your state for more details on becoming an agent!