Life and health insurance brokers, also called agents or producers, are in a competitive business that is dependent upon a consumer planning for the future. Health insurance policies help individuals pay for medical bills. Life insurance policies give money to the beneficiary listed on the policy in the event the insured dies.
What Life & Health Insurance Brokers Do
Life and health insurance policies help individuals plan for the unthinkable, and it is a life and health insurance broker’s job to make planning for these events less stressful. Brokers specialize in selling health insurance policies to business owners who want to offer health insurance coverage to their employees and to individuals who do not receive health benefits through an employer. While life and health insurance brokers may offer life insurance to a company as an employee benefit, many agents encourage an individual to purchase his own separate life insurance policy in the event the he loses his job. In addition to selling life and health insurance policies, brokers may also sell dental insurance, annuities and long- or short-term disability policies. Brokers also assist clients with filing and settling claims.
Every life and health insurance broker must have a state-issued license to sell life and health insurance. The license to become a life and health insurance broker is typically awarded, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to licensed insurance agents who have completed pre-licensing training and passed the test to become a broker in these specific lines of insurance. While a college degree in finance, economics or business is not necessary to become a broker, insurance companies prefer to have brokers with degrees in higher education because they tend to have a better understanding of the insurance industry and how the industry is influenced by social and economic conditions. Additionally, courses in public speaking, marketing and sociology can help a broker have better sales techniques.
Where to Work as a Life & Health Insurance Broker
Many health and life insurance brokers work in insurance agencies, as the owner of the agency or as an employee licensed to issue life and health insurance policies. Many independent life and health insurance brokers learn their job duties by working for another agent while taking continuing professional education courses to remain up to date on current laws, insurance trends and products, before opening their own agencies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for a life and health insurance broker in 2008 was $45,430, with the middle 50 percent earning $33,070 to $68,730. Many brokers only receive commission payments, but brokers who met sales goals often received a bonus. Brokers who do not own an agency may receive group insurance benefits, paid continuing education courses, transportation expenses and office space. Brokers who own an agency may not receive as many benefits, but may receive higher commission payments to help pay for office and marketing expenses.