Question

What is it REALLY like to be an independant insurance agent?

I am 52 years old and was a social worker for 13 years and worked for oil companies for 8 years. I am 52 years old and have been offered a job to work for AFLAC and possibly Farmers Insurance Group ( I have an interview with them this coming Monday, 9th. I have never sold anything. I have a degree and I'm pretty sharp, but I don't know if sales is the way to go. What questions should I ask when I go to my interview? I really don't know much about the business, but the last guy I interviewed with said they perfer people with no insurance background. The money sounds good, but what would I really be getting myself into? I want a career change, but I don't know if sales is it. Everytime I think about sales, I think about used car salesmen, phone solicitors, clerks at shopping malls, etc. I want to start my own courier business, but it would mean alot of physical work, which I like to do, but at my age, maybe in the long run, insurance sales would be a safer bet. Any ideas?

7 years ago - 7 answers

Best Answer

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Going to work for AFLAC or any other insurance company requires a lot of self-discipline and individual goal setting. Every sale you make is hard earned and your income will reflect how many contacts you make. No one is going to help you. You may get some training and and some initial assistance getting started, but it is all up to you in how well you do. If you need someone looking over your shoulder to make sure you get to work on time, to check the quality of your work and to tell you when it's time to eat/ go home, sales is not for you. Make no mistake, there is plenty of physical work involved! You will be cold calling businesses and individuals. Some people will be extremely rude to you even though you are stopping by or calling to help them, but most won't.

On the bright side, you are your own boss! You get to live by your own set of rules. And best of all - residual income! After all your hard work getting new customers, you get a check every month for each policyholder who doesn't cancel their policy. What other business rewards you like that?

Another issue is passing your states insurance exam so you can be liscensed to sell insurance. Some people have a hard time, failing multiple times and others(like me)pass the first time they take the test.

I have personally witnessed people 52+ do extremely well with no experience. I have also seen them fail. If you get out there with the right attitude, work ethic and a true desire to succeed you will be on your way to an excellent retirement!

7 years ago

Other Answers

It doesn't sound like sales is your thing. Really it don't. If you have never sold anything you don't want to start at 52.
Selling should come very natural, I see selling everywhere, indeed if you look around you anything you see has been manufactured,shipped, sold and resold.
HOWEVER, sometimes not knowing anything does help because you are closest to the mind of the punter.
you must always remember how they think.
I am a bit of an artist so I forget how they think, I think everyone reasons like I do. I was so far removed from them, I HAD to stop selling:)
Why don't you try going back to what you can already do??

by moaatimo - 7 years ago

Personally, I wouldn't work for someone that prefers you NOT to have insurance experience. Most places I know prefer several years of experience & prefer you to be licensed, but will train the correct person. When I interviewed with my current agency they were thrilled that I was already licensed. I would be leary that they were doing something that they shouldn't be and someone with insurance experience wouldn't do what they were asking. Being an insurance agent can be rewarding but it can be stressful. If you are on 100% commission, it can be VERY stressful. I am on salary & that is fine with me. They want us to sell & I do get a % of the agency commission for all the policies I solicit but I treat that as a bonus, not my main source of income. But most of my job is to service the accounts, which I like better. Try to go to a good independent agency & start in customer service to get your feet wet & see if you like it then work your way up to a producer.
Word of caution on Farmers - our agency acquired another smaller agency about 2 yrs ago. One of their companies was Farmers. We are currently rewriting all of the policies & can't wait to get rid of them. We severed the agency contract with them. Their billing is confusing. Their website is poorly written, not user friendly & confusing (& I have worked with a lot of websites - they are the worst by a mile). Their is a website that deals with complaints against Farmers - I don't know the name but you can type in your search engine "complaints" & "farmers" & some websites will come up.

by Sue - 7 years ago

insurance business is fun !, you need to learn more about insurance so that you can help more people to buy insurance. Willing to learn and willing to share with others is KEY !.

Your natural market will be another factor. If you have many friends or relatives, your initial sales call will be easier and less objections.

You must love to meet more people and make new friends. This criteria is even more important than insurance knowledge.

Read more books written by successful sales agents and try to feel what it is like. Life as an agent is fun !

log on to www.mdrt.org Million Dollar Round Table, millionaires agents' life stories and closing techniques

Starting age & background is not an issue, but passion counts. Show your passion !

Insurance is very different from car or phone, coz you need to be certified to become an agent. Countinous learning is a must in this industry which is highly regulated

Source(s)

by Insurance - 7 years ago

you got time. take your time and learn. you fail so what. at least you tried.

by sleepless in marietta - 7 years ago

I am an "independent Agent"1 I work for an agency that represents many different insurance carriers. That technically is what an independent agent is. Independent from "one" carrier like AFLAC or Farmers ins. Yes...they like people with no insurance background so they can "train" you there way. This is OK however, I would not qualify since I am an Independent agent and have knowledge of 30 different companies and set a standard on how I do things as a consultant and sales person.

Sales in insurance requires above average "people skills"
Do you like people? can you approach a stranger and just start a conversation? Are you afraid to call someone and ask about their insurance needs? Are you afraid of rejection?

The "key" here is being pro-active with people....any person....not just family.

Since you have been in Social work" you may qualify with the people experience. If you can sell "yourself" to people the you can open doors to a great Insurance experience. Good luck!

Source(s)

by DFK - 7 years ago

Like DFK says, you will not be "independent" quite the opposite, in the insurance world you'll be "captive" meaning they'll put restrictions on who you write business through.

I worked for FIG and when I left, I felt like the last righteous man leaving Sodom and Gomorrah.

Figure out how you're going to sell to 300 people a year and you have your answer.

Source(s)

by ernesto_tig - 7 years ago