What Goes Into Being An Insurance Agent?
My personal path to becoming an insurance agent was probably a little different than most. Before co-founding Bridge First Insurance I worked for two Fortune 500 companies that had very good training programs. Actually, in terms of insurance training, they were probably two of the very best.
I actually had my first job set up about two months before I graduated from Virginia Tech, and while having a job provided peace of mind and probably some jealousy amongst peers, getting my insurance license required a little bit of extra work. By the time I graduated in May of 2009, I already had my licenses in Property & Casualty, life, and health insurance.
Unless you are in the insurance industry, you are most likely unaware of the regulations and certifications required to become an insurance agent. Not only are there rules to getting your insurance license, but there are also guidelines to maintaining it. On top of the measures set forth by national and state insurance commissions, there is the pressure of staying up to date with the ever-changing and ever-evolving insurance industry.
You can look up any insurance agent’s license on your state’s insurance commission website to make sure they are legally allowed to act as your insurance agent. What is really helpful is finding an agent that has a great training background and looks to stay ahead of the game as the industry changes.
Where Do You Start?
To initially obtain your insurance agent license, there are a few standardized tests that you must pass with a score of 70% or more. There are various types of licenses that you can obtain, and each one has its own test.
Most insurance agents have a Property & Casualty license, a life insurance license, as well as a health insurance license. Each test requires about 20 to 40 hours of studying and takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete. Each test also has its own ethics section that is graded separately; so you are essentially taking two combined tests for each certification. The tests to achieve your insurance license are the annoying tests, too, where two of your answers you can deduce and can possibly eliminate easily while there are two more answers that both seem to work.
Once you have your license, it is fairly easy to maintain. Similar to doctors, CPAs, lawyers, etc. insurance agents have continuing education requirements in order to maintain their licenses. The requirement in the state of Virginia is 24 hours of continuing education every two years, and of those 24 hours 3 must be in ethics and law changes.
There are a few different ways to meet your continuing education requirements, of course, including online programs. However, I personally choose to take most of my classes in person.
You can usually find classes being put on by insurance companies in your area. I just prefer in person classes for the simple fact that I enjoy human interaction. When you are taking a class in person there are usually 30 to 50 other insurance agents taking the same class with you, which provides an opportunity for interaction and open discussion. The insurance industry, in general, is an extremely broad industry, but when it is boiled down, it can provide an incredibly specific and unique experience. Learning the general basics of any industry is always a great place to start, but when you can put specific examples and real life scenarios behind an explanation, I think it makes all the difference in the world. That’s what in person classes do.
With Bridge First Insurance, I take many different opportunities to expand my knowledge and to make sure that I am able to offer the best advice I can to my clients. Not only do I meet the required standards set forth for insurance agents when it comes to maintaining my insurance license, but I also seek outside influences. I attend regular coffee houses with other insurance agents to learn about what is going on in their agency, and I am also part of two small business networking groups where we use real life scenarios to work together and come up with better ways to help our clients. Bridge First Insurance is licensed to operate in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. and is always available to help you with any insurance concerns you may have.
Have a question or concern? Give us a call!
Dave has accumulated extensive knowledge of commercial insurance and the skill set that it takes to succeed. In 2013, he and co-founder Jack Cordes, joined forces to establish Bridge First Insurance. Through Bridge First Insurance, Dave utilizes his knowledge and unique expertise to offer clients the best care in insurance.