Are you considering becoming a commercial insurance agent? Whether you’re a seasoned agent from a different line or a total insurance newbie, or even if you already are a commercial insurance agent but need some tips to get ahead, this article is for you.
The commercial insurance agent career route has low barriers to entry and high potential to earn. It doesn’t require an expensive four-to-six-year degree, but still offers the potential of making a comfortable six-figure salary.
However, this does not mean the job will come easy. This is a highly sought out and competitive job that will require you to put yourself out there and earn every penny of your commission through dedication and diligence. Don’t freak out just yet, because we’ve got some tips and tricks for you on how to make it as a commercial insurance agent.
What Exactly is a Commercial Insurance Agent?
A commercial insurance broker or an agent is essentially a person who sells commercial lines of insurance for a specific company. Some examples of types of commercial insurance include:
Steps To Get Started as a Commercial Insurance Agent
If you’re new to insurance and considering taking this career path, here are the basic steps you can take to get started.
Study: You must learn all the rules and regulations of the insurance industry. These rules vary from state to state. Some states will require you to take classes, while some allow you to study at your own convenience.
Take the State Exam: Contact your local testing center. If you took a preparation class, don’t forget to bring your course completion certificate to the testing center on exam day. After you have passed the state exam and paid the licensing fees, you will obtain an insurance agent license.
Get established: Starting a career in commercial insurance is more challenging than others. Having prior experience is vital. That’s because most commercial insurance companies only appoint agents with an established history of business. You’re most likely to have obtained a P&C Insurance License but might need to focus on a different line of business. Working as a broker or a captive agent for a commercial insurance company is a great way to get your start.
Commercial Insurance Agent vs Broker
A commercial insurance broker is not tied to a single insurance provider. Since their job involves comparing premiums across a variety of firms, they are more likely to find low insurance rates. Ideally, a commercial insurance broker works in the best interest of his or her customers.
In contrast, a commercial insurance agent works for one specific insurance firm by marketing and advertising its commercial insurance products. The practice greatly limits the customer’s options for comparing insurance products.
So, while a commercial insurance broker represents insurance buyers, an agent represents insurance sellers.
So, Why Become a Commercial Insurance Agent?
Becoming an agent specifically can be a more desirable job for the following reasons:
- Lower risks
- More company support
- High profile clientele
- A stable salary with benefits
Also, the premiums and commissions are higher than most personal line payouts, typically starting at $500 and potentially exceeding hundreds of thousands of dollars. On average, agents can make 10%-15% per sale.
How to Sell as a Commercial Insurance Agent
1. Find a niche market that matches your abilities.
A niche market is basically a unique target market that has needs, wants or an over-arching identity that fits with your product or service. Having a niche market is a simple way to stand out as a commercial insurance agent.
To find your own niche market, start by researching the businesses and industries that are common in your area. You can then read those industry magazines and focus your networking efforts on people in that industry.
For example, perhaps there are a lot of new fitness centers and yoga classes popping up in your area. Read up on their business culture, learn their wants and needs and make them your primary focus. Eventually, people starting such businesses will reach out to you for their insurance needs.
2. Network, network and network!
Networking is essential for bringing in new clients. If you are shy and reserved, being a commercial insurance agent is not the career for you. You need to open yourself up to meeting new people in new places.
Insureon recommends shaking things up a bit by attending:
- Meetup groups
- Trade shows
- Local fairs
- School board meetings (if you don’t have kids in school, you should skip this one)
- Charity events
- Projects run by nonprofits
Being active in your community makes you easier to approach as an agent. People will recognize you from your good work and feel comfortable reaching out to you for their insurance needs. It’s a much more effective strategy than say, approaching someone at a bar or parking lot and offering to sell insurance.
3. Prospect for new clients in business spaces.
A successful insurance agent is always prospective. This doesn’t mean you need to dedicate all of your free time to prospecting for new clients, but being alert at all times can make a huge difference.
If you find yourself aimlessly scrolling on social media, maybe spend a few minutes looking through LinkedIn instead. Look through the newspaper while you eat your breakfast. At dinner with friends, bring up the topic of new local businesses and see what they know.
A few minutes of prospecting whenever possible can prove to be more effective than hours of cold calls.
4. Partner with other professionals.
Having a good reputation with independent professionals can lead to mutually beneficial relationships. Insureon also recommends setting up a lead-sharing relationship with:
- Real estate agents
- Mortgage brokers
- Financial planners
If you develop solid relationships with other professionals in your niche, they can also recommend you to their clients and vice versa. This is a great business tactic that can bring you long-term results as a commercial insurance agent.
5. Be useful to your existing and potential clients.
Self-promotion will only get you so far. Hounding people with your accolades and how great you are is not a good way to impress them. If you want people to hear you out, you need to make them feel equally heard.
For your existing clients, stay in contact with them in small, but meaningful ways. Provide information about deals and discounts through emails or text messages, give greeting cards and small gifts on holidays and make sure you are there to guide them when it’s time to make a claim.
For potential clients or leads, provide them with lots of information. Write blogs, send emails with risk management tips and entertain them with fun content. Do not just push your services, make your voice heard and show you are receptive to their inquiries.
More Lead Generation Tips for Commercial Insurance Agents
Lead generation is an extremely important part of building your book as a commercial insurance agent. Here are some things you can do to maximize the number of leads you attract.
Create & Optimize Your Website
Even as a captive agent, creating a website is a great way to put yourself on the map. Chances are that the agents you are competing with already have an online presence. Investing in your own website will keep you a step ahead.
Once you create your website, learn up basic SEO to make sure your website gains visibility. You can even hire out a freelance SEO specialist on a one-time contract to improve the SEO of your website and give you some tips and tricks to maintain this on your own.
Be Active on Social Media
As mentioned above, hitting the like button on your existing and potential client’s content can take you a long way. Social media can increase your client retention and also make it easier for you to find leads, both paid and organic. It’s also a great medium for prospecting and reaching new businesses.
To do this successfully, you must maintain a professional and interesting social media profile. You must stand out but also project an image of success. These two things are essential for generating the right leads. As with any business, a poorly maintained social media profile is a reputational hazard.
It’s possible to buy leads if you approach the task with due diligence. Buying leads without putting in research, particularly if you are swayed by a low price, is often proven to be useless. According to Talage Insurance, while aging lists might be less costly, pricier targeted lists with warm to hot prospects may have a higher ROI.
Ask for Referrals and Reviews
Your existing clients can be the best source of leads. Ask them for referrals and if they seem hesitant, entice them with deals for referrals. This way, both parties are at again.
Online reviews are another great way to attract leads. Whether it’s a heartfelt thank you note or just a quick click on 5 stars, a review can go a long way. Asking for honest feedback is also important. Encourage your clients to critique you and reply to their critiques accordingly. Any potential client reading through hundreds of glowing reviews will be able to sniff out a bot.
Host a Contest or Giveaway
Once you have your social media game running strong, start online contests and giveaways to attract new leads. For example, you could host an Instagram poll competition or LinkedIn sweepstakes for an Amazon gift card. This will incite shares and engagements that will boost your organic reach and also, by hosting a successful online event, you will come off as an insurance expert.
Study Your Competitors
Learn about your competition. Who are they and what are they doing right? What are they doing wrong that you could do better? These questions are crucial if you want to get ahead. Ultimately, the barriers to entry for becoming a commercial insurance agent are much lower than to start or direct a business. This means there are always going to be multiple sellers for one buyer. Being unaware of your competition could easily lead to your downfall, despite the amount of leads you attract.
How to Get a Commercial Insurance License?
Obtaining a commercial insurance license is a necessary step for those interested in working in the insurance industry. It enables you to sell, solicit, and negotiate insurance policies legally. For starters, you can begin with the following steps.
- Check your state’s requirements for a commercial insurance license, as they may differ.
- Complete any pre-licensing education courses that your state requires.
- To demonstrate your understanding of commercial insurance, you must pass a written exam.
- Submit a commercial insurance license application along with the required fee.
- If your state requires it, you must provide fingerprints and pass a background check.
- Wait for the state insurance department to approve your application.
- You will receive your commercial insurance license once you have been approved.
So Should I Become a Commercial Insurance Agent?
Nothing comes easy in life, but with the right attitude and perseverance, anyone can become a successful commercial insurance agent. Follow our tips, make those six figures and live out your dreams through a career that combines hard work with fun networking opportunities and limitless potential to earn more.
For more information on the insurance industry, check out our insurance blog. Also, ask any questions you may have in the comment section to get answers from real insurance experts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do commercial insurance agents get paid?
According to Salary.com, in the United States, the average Commercial Insurance Agent salary in the United States is $46,989, but the salary range falls between $42,915 and $53,006. Top insurance agents (higher than the 91st percentile) can make about $100,000 per year. Low-performing agents (below the 9th percentile) make $30,000 per year. Ultimately, the range will change based on your clients, commissions, and years of experience.
Are commercial insurance agents in high demand?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. So essentially, the industry is growing, and there is a demand for more insurance agents. To rise to the top of the field, however, is still extremely competitive.
How long does it take to get a commercial insurance license?
You can get your commercial insurance license within two to eight weeks after you complete all the prerequisites.
Can I transfer my commercial insurance license from one state to another?
Yes. A person with a valid commercial insurance license in another state may apply to the department in most cases to have their license transferred to another.
You must apply to your new state’s insurance department for a transfer. Retaking all of the courses and exams for a new license isn’t always necessary. Many states require that you have held your license for a certain amount of time before submitting this application, and you must include an official clearance letter from your previous home state.
January 31st, 2024 · 15 min read
- What Exactly is a Commercial Insurance Agent?
- Steps To Get Started as a Commercial Insurance Agent
- Commercial Insurance Agent vs Broker
- So, Why Become a Commercial Insurance Agent?
- How to Sell as a Commercial Insurance Agent
- More Lead Generation Tips for Commercial Insurance Agents
- How to Get a Commercial Insurance License?
- So Should I Become a Commercial Insurance Agent?
- Frequently Asked Questions
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