Insurance agents are the men and women represented by some of TV’s most unforgettable ad campaigns. Who can forget Geico’s gecko with that adorable British accent, Allstate’s memorable “Mayhem” character or the catchy jingle “Nationwide is on your side”?
About half of insurance agents work for an independent insurance agency or brokerage, and sell the products of many insurance companies. Nearly 20 percent are self-employed. Others work for direct insurance carriers. Commissions are an important source of income for most agents, although a smaller number hold salaried positions. Agents spend considerable time developing and pursuing sales leads. Consumer policy agents do a lot of telephone and office work, while commercial agents are more likely to be out in the field with customers. Independent agents who work for a brokerage may have irregular hours, but they also have more control over their work schedules than agents who work for an insurance company or spend most of their time in an office. There tends to be a lot of turnover in this career because many new agents struggle to earn sufficient commission income and switch to other occupations.
Prospects for insurance agents are closely tied to the growth of the broader economy.The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10.2 percent employment growth for insurance sales agents between 2018 and 2028. In that period, an estimated 48,300 jobs should open up.