A lot goes into becoming an insurance broker. From training to licensing and deciding how you actually want to run your business, becoming a broker is not as easy as it might seem. And yet it is a highly rewarding career. We work with thousands of insurance brokers who love what they do so much they would never think of doing anything else.
Have you been thinking of becoming an insurance broker? If so, here are four things you should know going into it:
1. Education and Training
Hard and fast educational requirements do not exist on a national level. That's because insurance regulation is left to the states (more on that later). However, industry experts recommend at least earning a bachelor's degree in business, economics, or some other field having to do with finance. A bachelor's degree can go a long way in helping you find employment as well.
In terms of training, you will need to undergo some sort of program to prepare for your license exam. It could be as simple as a continuing education course or self-teaching at home using a variety of materials. Either way, you'll undergo training commensurate with the type of insurance license you intend to get.
2. Licenses and Exams
Because insurance is regulated at the state level, there are differences in state licensing requirements and exam procedures. In Ohio, for example, those who wish to become brokers must take an approved pre-license education course before applying to take the test. Test outlines are available online for practice purposes. The actual tests are administered at physical testing centers located throughout the state.
In Texas, you must apply to take the insurance exam online. You must also submit background check and fingerprint information. Applicants can also apply for temporary licenses good for 90 days. Such licenses are ideal for applicants looking to be hired by an agency willing to train.
3. Exam Preparation
The key to passing a licensing exam is preparation. As previously stated, some states require applicants take a formal training course. A good example is the 40-hour course required by Texas applicants looking for temporary licenses. Training courses are available through a variety of sources, including community colleges and local continuing ed centers.
Training can be supplemented with practice exams. The availability of such exams varies state-by-state, so you might not find a lot of practice opportunities in your state. But to the extent they exist, availing yourself of them will better prepare you for sitting for the actual exam.
In the days leading up to the exam, you can better prepare by avoiding stress and clearing your schedule for last-minute studies. Get enough sleep for several nights in a row – and especially on the night before the exam. You want to be fully awake and alert at testing time.
4. Starting Your Career
Passing the exam results in you being issued a license to sell insurance as an agent or broker. Now you have to decide how you want to go about starting your career. The first option is to seek employment with an existing agency. If you would prefer to be self-employed, you can set up your business as a producing agent or partner with a general agency like BenefitMall.
We recommend partnering with a GA for a whole host of reasons we have outlined in several other blog posts. Working with a GA will allow you to maintain your independence but still have access to a range of tools and services that will help you grow your book of business.