What They Do:

Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance. Insurance sales agents explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.

Actuaries typically do the following:

Compile statistical data and other information for further analysis

Estimate the probability and likely economic cost of an event such as death, sickness, an accident, or a natural disaster

Design, test, and administer insurance policies, investments, pension plans, and other business strategies to minimize risk and maximize profitability

Produce charts, tables, and reports that explain calculations and proposals

Explain their findings and proposals to company executives, government officials, shareholders, and clients.

Why It's Important:

Agents are a crucial role in insurance companies for bringing in clients. They are the communicator between insurance companies and customers. They are well versed in policy language in order to help customers understand what coverages they are getting and how the coverage works. 

Typical Duties:

  • Call potential clients in order to expand their own customer base
     

  • Interview prospective clients to get information about their financial resources and discuss existing coverage
     

  • Explain the features of various policies
     

  • Analyze clients’ current insurance policies and suggest additions or other changes
     

  • Customize insurance programs to suit individual clients
     

  • Handle policy renewals
     

  • Maintain electronic and paper records

Important Skills:

 

  • Analytical skills
     

  • Communication skills
     

  • Initiative
     

  • Self-confidence
     

  • Drive

Salary Range (Median Annual): 
$50,940

Thet lowest 10%: $28,000

The highest 10%: $125,500

Additional info on pay: 

Many independent agents are paid by commission only. Sales workers who are employees of an agency or an insurance carrier may be paid in one of three ways: salary only, salary plus commission, or salary plus bonus.

Professional Designations:

  • CIC – Certified Insurance Counselor
     

  • CRM – Certified Risk Manager
     

  • CWCA – Certified WorkComp Advisor
     

  • AAI – Accredited Advisor in Insurance
     

  • CISR – Certified Insurance Service Representative
     

  • CWCS – Certified WorkComp Specialist
     

  • CPCU – Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter
     

  • Insurance sales agents must have a license in the states where they work. 
     

  • Separate licenses are required for agents to sell life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance. 
     

  • Most state licensing authorities also require agents to take continuing education courses focusing on insurance laws, consumer protection, ethics, and the technical details of various insurance policies. 

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Collegiate Experience: University Listing with Actuarial Programs and Courses to Pursue

Coursework to pursue:

Applied Statistics

Corporate Finance

Economics

Financial Mathematics

Accounting and Finance

Mathematical Statistics

Universities with Actuarial Programs

References:

  • OII Agent/Producer Profile

  • InVEST Agent/Producer Profile

  • CIAB: the Role of Insurance Intermediaries

  • IIABA Young Agents Resources

  • The National Alliance Commercial Lines Producer Profile, Commercial Lines Producer Profile

  • Surety & Fidelity Association Agent/Producer Profile

  • US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Job Outlook (Based on 2019 BLS)

Employment of actuaries is projected to grow 20 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 5,000 new jobs over the 10-year period. Actuaries will be needed to develop, price, and evaluate a variety of insurance products and calculate the costs of new, emerging risks.

 

More actuaries will also be needed to help companies manage their own risk, a practice known as enterprise risk management. Actuaries will help companies avoid, manage, and respond to any potential financial risks across all areas of their business operations. This analysis helps companies adjust their business or investment strategies to achieve economic returns and respond to new financial regulations and requirements.

Insurance companies will need actuaries to analyze the large amount of information, such as medical or property data, collected from consumers. The increase in available data will allow insurance companies to better develop new products, set competitive prices, predict consumer behavior, and make more accurate projections of future risks and costs.

 

In addition, health insurance companies will require more actuaries to help evaluate the effects of changing healthcare regulations and guidelines, expand into new insurance markets, and offer products to new customers.

Number of Jobs (BLS, 2018): 25,000