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Becoming an Independent Insurance Agent


Becoming an independent insurance agent gives you the freedom to set your own schedule, sell plans from multiple carriers, get a much bigger chunk of the revenue per sale, and provide you with the flexibility to run your business the way you want to run it. Some agents even sell insurance independently from home, granting even more freedom to their work days.

This is easier said than done. We understand that aspiring independent insurance agents can’t just snap their fingers and take the plunge into the world of independent agency and expect great results. 

So, let’s explore how to become an independent insurance agent and what you need to maximize your success selling health insurance.


What Is an Independent Health Insurance Agent?


Before exploring the ins and outs of becoming an independent health insurance agent, it’s important to distinguish the two main types of agents: those who work directly for insurance carriers and independent agents who work for themselves, selling insurance plans on behalf of several carriers at once. 

Carrier agents – also known as captive agents – help match clients with plans issued by their employers, while independent agents can quote several different carriers’ rates at once. As such, independent agents give clients more options – which, in theory, helps them find the best plans on the market.

Clients who work directly with carrier agents can’t “take” that agent to another carrier as their insurance needs change. Clients who work with independent agents, however, can.

These capabilities allow independent health insurance agents to open up more revenue streams and maximize their marketing efforts. In fact, the top independent insurance agents earn up to $200,000 per year.


The Steps You Have To Take To Become an Independent Insurance Agent


1. Embrace Education

As you know, the insurance industry is exceptionally complicated. New laws and regulations are enacted every year. Plans change, coverage shifts, and new treatments and technologies emerge.

Becoming an independent insurance agent requires staying on top of all these developments so that you’re able to answer any questions your clients and prospects might have about new policies or procedures.

In short, the best independent insurance agents are lifelong learners who always stay on top of the industry’s developments.


2. Make Sure You’ve Got the Personality for It

One step that often gets overlooked by those in the process of becoming an independent insurance agent is being an agent a client would actually want to work with. This means strengthening specific personality traits that allow you to resonate with leads and clients.

Here are some of the personality traits that successful independent insurance agents tend to possess:

  • Friendly
  • Conversational
  • Flexible
  • Self-motivated
  • Organized
  • Resourceful
  • Personable
  • Hardworking
  • Disciplined

It’s important to note that you may even find that just because you have these traits, you still enjoy the direction and order in your working life that you would find working for an agency, and that’s perfectly acceptable.


3. Pick Your Specialty and Get Licensed

You’ve educated yourself and are certain you have the personality traits to succeed as an independent agent. Now, it’s time to pick your specialty, figure out which state(s) you’re going to sell insurance in, and get licensed.

Depending on the state you’re operating in, you may have to obtain an agency license if you wish to hire additional agents – but not if you’re simply hiring support staff (e.g., a receptionist and a marketing specialist).


4. Start Your Business

You’re committed to learning, you have the perfect personality for insurance sales, and you’re licensed. Now, it’s time to start your own business!

It’s important to consider and analyze the costs that will go into starting your business before becoming an independent insurance agent. The exact cost to start your business will be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Whether you’re buying a book of business or starting from scratch
  • Whether you’re operating your company out of physical office space or your own home
  • Whether you’re hiring employees or running a solo firm

Before opening your doors for business, you’ll need to incorporate your business (e.g., as an LLC), come up with a name and a business plan, launch a website, establish a presence on social media, open a business bank account, and take care of all the other odds and ends that come with being a solo entrepreneur.

If you’re an agent selling insurance from home or wondering how to become an  insurance agent from home, you’ve come to the right place. Learn More.


How To Succeed as an Independent Insurance Agent


1. Become a Trusted Adviser

Insurance is a complicated business. It’s common for the average consumer to be overwhelmed with options and have a hard time picking the one that works best for their specific situation.

The best insurance agents position themselves as trusted advisers whom clients can turn to for honest advice. An easy way to become such an adviser is by anticipating needs, communicating frequently, and offering as much assistance as you can in each interaction.


2. Use Modern Tools That Make You More Productive

Because you’ll be on your own, you’ll probably wish you had more time for daily tasks. Although no one has figured out how to pack more hours into a day, you can make your time more productive by investing in modern tools designed to help you work more efficiently.  

For example, marketing automation tools and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can help independent agents reclaim several hours of their workweeks – putting that time into more important areas of business instead of wasting it on busywork.


3. Meet and Exceed Client Expectations

Consumers today demand instant gratification and personalized experiences – even when it comes to insurance and independent agents. They expect agents to be compassionate, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and responsive.

The more you can meet and exceed these expectations, the easier it will be to grow your independent agency.


Ready To Become an Independent Insurance Agent?


As you dive into becoming an independent health insurance agent, it’s important to realize the challenges that will come your way. But with the right approach, you can grow your independent agency from day one, delivering great value to your clients and prospects while enjoying a fulfilling career.

To learn more about how you can use technology to cover more ground on your own, check out our guide, Selling Insurance: A Work From Home Guide for Remote Agents.

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