How To Be A Commercial Insurance Agent
TLTR: 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.
In this blog
What Exactly is a Commercial Insurance Agent?
A commercial insurance 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, we have a short summary of how you can get started on your new career path.
Study: You need to learn all the rules and regulations required of the insurance industry. These will vary from state to state. You might need to take classes in some states, but others will allow you to study at your own convenience.
Take the State Exam: You need to find contact information for your local testing center. If you took a class to prepare, bring the course completion certificate to the testing center on the day of your exam. After you have passed the state exam and paid the licensing fees, you will obtain your insurance agent license.
Get established: Getting started in a commercial insurance career is more challenging than other lines of insurance. You can’t start yet without some prior experience in insurance. This is because most commercial insurance companies only appoint agents that can present an established history of business. Because the license you obtained is most likely a P&C insurance license, you may need to focus on a different line of insurance as a broker or work as a captive agent for a commercial insurance company 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. To a great extent, the practice 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, according to Insurance Career, 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 prospecting. 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, the agents you are competing with already have some kind of 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.
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 (FAQs)
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 $45,470 as of July 28, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $41,528 and $51,293. 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.
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