Welcome to our extensive guide on everything you need to know about becoming a Health Insurance agent.
We will provide you with a full scope of the educational, skills, and experience requirements needed to become a Health Insurance agent.
Furthermore, you will understand how to acquire each requirement through our step-by-step breakdown.
This article will cover:
So without taking any more time, let’s get straight into it!
What is a Health Insurance Agent?
From all the careers in financial services, being a Health Insurance agent is amongst the most luring as it offers high earning potential for new professionals.
Additionally, there are hardly any dull moments with so many elements to the career, like sales and marketing.
But if you are reading this article, we assume you are already fixated on becoming a health insurance agent and don’t need any convincing. So we’ll spare you the details on why it’s great and go straight into what it is and how to become one.
A Health Insurance Agent is a licensed salesperson representing one or multiple health insurance companies, selling their health-related insurance products to potential clients.
While it might seem like the typical sales position, it consists of many aspects like marketing to find clients or understanding business factors to deduce how it may impact your work.
Hence, health insurance agents need a high school diploma, and in many cases, a bachelor’s degree to understand the variety of the concepts required to succeed in your career.
Apart from formal education, becoming an agent requires taking a licensing exam to acquire state licensing and continuing education to keep your license active.
Once you have completed the necessary educational requirements and are eager to jump straight into work, you’ll have to decide whether you want to represent an exclusive carrier ( one broker) or multiple brokers.
Read on to learn more.
Types of Insurance agents
Another exciting aspect of this career is that Health Insurance Agents can become one of two types of agents.
Captive or Independent Independent Insurance Agents.
The two types of agents are very different from each other in that their working environments differ, potentially impacting your earning ability.
Captive Insurance Agent
A Captive Insurance Agent is an agent that works for one carrier, in other words, one broker.
The company provides training for the agent, making the agent well versed in only the companies insurance product offerings.
Agents who choose to work for one insurance company have to sign a non-compete agreement that restricts them from selling policies of other companies while their contract is active.
The downside of being a Captive Insurance Agent is that unless a customer is loyal to the insurance company or can get what they need from them, customers will usually seek the help of Independent Insurance Agents.
The latter can sell them policies from a variety of companies.
Independent Insurance Agent
As just mentioned, instead of being tied to one insurance company, Independent insurance agents, also known as insurance brokers, have the option to be associated with many brokers, selling various insurance policies.
The agent provides clients with suitable policies to choose from, according to what best suits their budget and needs.
While utilizing an Independent Insurance Agent’s services may be ideal for a client, it’s not necessarily an easy pick for agents deciding whether to become captive or independent.
Independent Agents often do not receive in-depth training and support from insurance companies and cannot rely on a companies brand reputation to get clients.
Therefore they have to spend considerable time building their brand and marketing it to prospective clients before obtaining significant earnings.
That being said, you’d need to spend considerable time analyzing the work put in when practicing as an independent or captive insurance agent to deduce which of the two sounds like your cup of tea.
Once you’ve decided what’s more suitable for you, you can begin your journey to becoming a Health Insurance Agent.
Steps to Becoming a Health Insurance Agent
Embarking on a journey to become a health insurance agent might seem daunting – as expected when taking on anything new.
However, equipping yourself with a manual that shows you the steps you need to take to get there will take down any stress associated with making sure you do everything right a notch.
With that covered, let us explore what you need to do to become a great Health Insurance Agent.
Step 1: Health Insurance Agent Education requirements
You may be hired as a Health Insurance Agent if you have a high school diploma; however, you’ll have to prove you have an edge with your sales ability.
Otherwise, the best bet to getting hired as a Health Insurance Agent is to obtain a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
Choosing to major in business, psychology, insurance, accounting, or marketing is amongst the most preferred by employers.
However, you could always choose any other major as long as you ensure you prepare yourself with the knowledge necessary to become a Health Insurance Agent by taking relevant coursework in business-related subjects.
Obtaining a license is the next important step in your career path.
Step 2: Pre-licensing requirements
It is crucial to have a license for any company to consider hiring you, work as an individual health insurance broker, and avoid legal issues.
Before embarking on obtaining a license to become a health Insurance Agent, you need to ensure you meet the licensing requirements.
Pre-licensing requirements vary from state to state; however, many states require that you take a pre-license course before applying to take the licensing exam regardless of your educational background.
For example, in Florida, apart from being a resident of Florida, being above 18, and having a social security number, you’ll need to enroll for a pre-licensing course certified by the Florida Department of Financial Services (FDFS) before taking the licensing exam.
Several accredited educational institutions offer a couple of certified courses for Health insurance; however, your choice, of course, will depend on the specific license.
Once approved to take the pre-licensing course, the applicant must complete the course and score the required pass rate in the end-of-course final exam to schedule a health insurance agent license exam.
On the other hand, some states will not require a pre-licensing course if you hold a college degree.
Hence, since the requirements of every state vary, you should get in touch with your state’s licensing department to understand your state’s pre-licensing needs.
Step 3: Take the license exam
To take the license exam, you’ll need to complete an application form provided by your state licensing commission.
After that, most states will require that you get your fingerprint, which is necessary for picking up on any disqualifying criminal records or for social services background checks.
The next step would be to schedule a test exam, which in many cases can be done online or at a physical venue.
The content required to study for the exam and the exam pass rate is, again, specific to the state you live in, so you’ll need to ask specifics on this from your state licensing commission.
Step 4: Complete on the job training
Once you have earned your insurance license, it’s time to get appointed by an insurance company and receive on-the-job training.
When choosing an organization to work with, from small businesses to well-known insurance companies, it’s crucial to find one that invests time in comprehensive training and development for employees.
Training will provide you with an optimum understanding of how the company operates, its product offering, and policies to enhance your performance.
Some things to especially note during training include how your mentor communicates with clients, tips on writing insurance policies, or how to conduct effective business.
If you feel that becoming an independent Health Insurance Agent is something you’d prefer to jump straight into, then reach out to insurance companies that you’d like to sell their policies.
The insurance companies you reach out to will ask you to complete an application with each for approval that will follow an appointment and binding authority.
Step 5: Get some clients
Whether you are a captive or independent agent, your bonus and earning potential rely on your ability to find clients and push product lines.
Meeting your client targets begins with prospecting for clients.
You could do this by first approaching friends and family and using it as an opportunity to get familiar with writing insurance policies.
You could also consider joining your local chamber or marketing through social media and creating your website to reach prospective clients.
Once you have worked out a lucrative formula for approaching clients and quoting new coverage, your earning potential will increase significantly.
Bonus tip: Keep learning
To achieve longevity in your career, you must keep informed and knowledgeable about new insurance-related issues.
One way to remain updated with recent advances in the industry is to engage in continuous learning through industry conferences, training opportunities, or continuing education courses.
Top skills for Health Insurance Agents
Now that you know the steps needed to become a Health Insurance agent, your ability to hone Health Insurance skills has to be on par with the vast technical knowledge you’ve acquired to gain a competitive edge.
From using people skills to stir up excitement in your clients to displaying a sense of urgency to help them fulfill their needs or simply proving to your employer that you are capable enough, specific skills help you thrive in your career.
Offering excellent customer service such as investigating and finding solutions to customer problems, answering their questions, or conducting good communication is the key to retaining existing clients and finding new clients.
The goal is to form strong relationships with clients who never have to look for an alternative.
Communicating with clarity
Discussing health insurance plans with clients and hoping they buy into it depends on your ability to communicate messages to clients.
Whether you send out an email or speak to them face-to-face, your communication needs to help clients understand how you intend to help them fulfill their needs without sounding vague or eager or anything that might put a potential client off.
Perfecting your communication skills will convince potential clients to deliver sound performance.
While this isn’t a dire necessity, having experience with healthcare to add to your resume when you are looking to apply for a Health Insurance agent position is favorable.
For example, if you were a professional who received inbound calls in a healthcare environment such as Medicare, or if you have received training on a specific health care plan, – these are all valuable health-care-related experiences.
They might give you a competitive advantage depending on the type of insurance plans you’ll be handling.
Ability to meet sales goals
Landing your first customer and eventually meeting the company’s sales goals all comes down to how practical your sales skills are.
Insurance professionals hone in on their sales capabilities to achieve high levels of success in their careers.
These include the ability to listen and empathize with your clients to tailor your product or service offering to what they need.
Additionally, a good insurance sales agent knows how to combine high-energy personalities and showcase their knowledge to encourage clients to buy a product.
Combining many sales capabilities will help you remain competitive and meet sales goals.
One major skill every health insurance agent should have is people skills. People skills include selling a product to a client to illustrate that you put their interests first.
Putting your client’s interest first includes honestly finding products that cater to their needs without putting the need to earn a high commission as a priority.
Doing this will gain your customer loyalty, which is crucial in the insurance industry to maintain existing customers and find new clients.
Being a successful Health Insurance agent requires extensive product knowledge, especially if you intend to work independently.
Having a wealth of knowledge concerning the various products you sell will make you credible and help you find the best products and services that will meet the needs of your clients.
And just for the record, product knowledge refers to knowledge about your companies insurance policies, annuities, or similar products, and the technical know-how.
That is, What are the legalities surrounding the products you are selling?
Are they applicable for tax?
In addition to knowing your company’s policies, understanding the technical aspects will help you choose policies that fit your client’s financial bracket and other criteria.
The work required to become a Health Insurance Agent might seem strenuous initially, but the rewards can be great if you are willing to invest the extra time and energy.
The passive income that Health Insurance Agents often get could be the gateway to financial freedom after a couple of years in the industry of perseverance and tactfulness.
Also, having a great start to your career by gaining early guidance and training on kickstarting your career as a Health Insurance Agent is imperative to future success.
We hope this guide makes you more confident in starting your career as a Health Insurance Agent.