Insurance agents specialise in providing their clients with insurance policies that protect them against uncertain events such as illness, damage, theft, or death. The primary objective of an insurance agent is to sell insurance policies that will meet the requirements of the client.
An insurance agent needs to obtain a new client and raise the clientele for the organisation or him/herself, if working independently. An insurance agent is the representative of an insurance company and is the first point of contact for that company. Primary functions of an insurance agent include providing information about different insurance plans to prospective clients or the existing customers, clarifying their doubts and convincing them to opt for the right insurance policy.
An insurance agent needs to possess complete information about different products and services of the company as they have to explain the same to the prospects to convince them to buy a suitable coverage.
Functions of an insurance agent
An insurance agent may work in a team or individually. They have to deal with different people, such as team members, their seniors, and clients, and their work is usually target based.
In many insurance companies, agents are responsible for evaluating the insurance programs, and they have to give advice on making required modifications in the same. All insurance agents have certain functions and duties, and a few of them are mentioned below:
• Take details of the client’s requirements, understand it, and then suggest the appropriate insurance plan to the client.
• Calculate the premium details of the policy and discuss the same with the client.
• Attend programs, seminars, and meetings related to the field, and to learn about the latest techniques, products, and services.
• Call clients and policyholders to explain and deliver the insurance policy, to modify beneficiary, if asked, to estimate the insurance plan and recommend alterations or additions.
• Monitor insurance claims and make sure that they have settled rightfully for both the parties i.e., the insurer and the client.
• Discuss with clients what needs to be provided and receive information when the claims are made towards the insurance policies.
• Develop sales and marketing to compete with agents in the same field.
• Contact underwriters and customize insurance policies that will meet the client requirements, covering multiple risks, to make sure that the given plan suits the client’s insurance needs. To get customers to complete essential medical test requirements and completing KYC formalities.
• Examine and inspect the overall condition of the property, type of construction, age, and other characteristics to help underwriters in their decisions, whether it is an appropriate insurance risk for both the customer and the insurance company.
• Explain the features, merits, and demerits of various insurance policies to encourage the sale of an insurance policy.
• Interview potential customers to gather data about their insurance needs, financial resources, future financial requirements, the physical condition of the person (in case of life insurance), or property (in case of general insurance) to be insured and know about their existing coverage, if any.
• Plan and review the integration of insurance policies into the accounting system of the company.
• Carry out certain administrative tasks like handling policy renewals.
• Market and sell different types of insurance plans to individuals, businesses, and groups on behalf of the insurance company.
• Constantly look for new clients and increase the network to find out new customers.
• Work on the allotted sales target and obtain the same by adopting various methods and strategies.
• Understand the client’s requirement and if required, request the higher authorities to customize the insurance plan to meet the customer’s requirements.
• An insurance agent continually needs to keep himself updated about policy-related information such as modification in the existing plan, or services or the introduction of a new policy.
• Collect information regarding the other insurance companies and know about their products and services. This helps an insurance agent to explain the clients and how their insurance plans are competent as compared to others.
Qualification and training
Most insurance companies and independent firms prefer to hire young graduates who hold degrees in business or economics. Generally, companies do not prefer non-graduates for this post. However, there are certain exceptions to this condition. In case a non-graduate has previous work experience or has proven expertise in any business areas can be employed as an insurance agent.
Experience in sociology and public speaking can prove as a benefit for the candidate to improve their sales skills. Proficiency in software and computer are significantly essential for an insurance agent as an educational, advertising, and communicational tool.
While the criteria to become an insurance agent may differ from one company to another, all companies demand a candidate to acquire a license from IRDAI. To receive a license, applicants need to clear an examination and undergo pre-licensing training related to insurance practicing and laws.
A candidate who is conducting a job search in the insurance field needs to possess a specific skill set. Insurance is all about marketing and selling the right products to the clients.
This type of job requires a candidate to have excellent communication skills, need to be well-organized and possess the ability to analyse the customer’s requirements. This will help an insurance agent to suggest the insurance policy that will fulfill their insurance needs effectively.
Individuals interested in becoming insurance agents will need to undertake training with an insurance company regarding its products and insurance regulations and laws.
An insurance agent needs to have the ability to demonstrate and listen carefully to the prospect. He/she should have the ability to take complex information and convert it into simple language that anyone can understand. This is another skill that most insurance companies look into a candidate.
Insurance agent’s functions are mainly based on demonstrating, communicating, and convincing powers. An insurance agent with proficiency in these features has enormous scope to make a successful career in this field.