Do you have a desire to help others in your Florida community? Are you able to connect with people from all walks of life? If you answered yes, that’s great news for your sales career: Companies in the Sunshine State that are looking to appoint new insurance agents are seeking people with these qualities.
In addition to meeting state insurance licensing requirements, you’ll need some other key assets, such as diligence, discipline and adaptability. You’ll need to hustle to be an insurance agent in Florida – but that doesn’t mean that the work itself is out of your reach. Just ask Brianna Rowe, a growth strategist who trains Aflac agents and who began her 15-year Aflac sales career as an agent herself: “This business isn’t hard,” she says. “With the right training procedures and attention, you can be successful.”
The heights of success an insurance agent achieves is often determined more by his or her grit and ambition to learn, not experience in the industry. Keep reading for more.
Qualities of a good insurance agent
- Perseverance. Or fortitude, tenacity, moxie – take your pick. We asked five insurance industry recruiters what agents need to succeed, and all said something similar. “It takes grittiness to develop a relationship that begins with a ‘no’ and turn it into a ‘yes,’” says Jennifer Ramos Nubie, a market recruiter for Aflac.
- An enthusiasm for service. If you want to help people, you’ll find a way through the parts of the work that might intimidate you at first. One recruiter says that he’s seen introverts thrive in this position because they were able to reframe “Getting in front of people to try to sell them something” as “Working with people to help those they care about.”
- A passion for learning. Insurance carriers often have a formal training program, including Aflac: Our first-year insurance sales training equips prospects with the toolbox and guidance they need to become a successful insurance agent. “This can be overwhelming at first – it’s a new language, a new industry. So we support new recruits with tools and resources,” says Rowe. But just as it was in school, being eager to learn is just as important as the tools themselves.
- A talent for connecting with people. A career in insurance sales is built on relationships – dazzle and “the gift of gab” alone won’t cut it. Whenever you walk into a room, it’s about your audience. The ability to listen to their needs and prioritize them will only aid in your success.
- Adaptability. If you’re someone who can switch gears quickly, you already have a leg up. As an insurance agent, you may be meeting with business owners, warehouse workers and everyone in-between – sometimes in the span of just a few hours. The ability to adapt to different settings and environments can help you successfully attain your desired outcomes.
- An ability to use what you’ve got. Fun fact: You don’t need a college degree to become an insurance agent. You don’t need prior experience in insurance or in sales either. But the life experience you bring into this role can be quite beneficial. Qualities of a successful insurance agent can be found in many fields, including:
- Military. Discipline is a top asset for an insurance agent. And if you’ve served in the military, you’ve had world-class training in discipline. Plus, many veterans who work with Aflac report that they see their Aflac sales career as an extension of what they did in the military – helping people.
- Education. “Education majors can be great at this,” Rowe says. “They’re used to relating to all types of people; they’re used to educating and teaching.”
- Sports. “I’m looking for people who want to build something with the company, people who are eager to be part of a team environment,” says Meaghan Mutrie, a market recruiter for Aflac. “The skills you develop as a part of an athletic team are an asset in this field – you know that if one person drops the ball, everybody is impacted by it.” Even if you played an individual sport like tennis or ice skating, you’re sure to benefit. The discipline, drive and perseverance you develop as an athlete can make for a seamless transition into the insurance industry.
- Theater. The ability to pull off a presentation with gusto goes a long way, especially as insurance agents are regularly presenting in front of people they don’t know. Experience with overcoming nerves in order to give a stellar performance helps.
- Business. Much like early-stage entrepreneurs, insurance agents wear every hat of their operation. Possessing broad interests and knowledge about how businesses succeed – be it through marketing, basic accounting or otherwise – is very helpful in this field, both personally and with the clients you’ll serve.
Florida insurance licensing requirements
- Hours of study: In the state of Florida, the General Lines (Property & Casualty) license is the highest level of authority you can test for. Its 200 hours of mandated study are likewise the highest of all licenses. But depending on the insurance license you’re going for, your required prelicensing hours of study can be as low as 40 hours. Regardless of the license(s) you’re seeking, however, these study hours must include 3 hours on ethics2.
- Take the exam: After passing your prelicensing course(s), you must pass Florida’s licensing exam for each line you’re seeking an insurance license in. Visit Pearson VUE to learn about scheduling an in-person or remote exam. Depending on the license you’re testing for, your exam will be between 40 and 160 scored questions. Score a 70% or higher and you pass.
- Get fingerprinted: Applicants will need to register and pay for fingerprinting in order to attain their insurance license. Visit the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services to learn more.
- Apply for the license: After completing the above steps, you can apply for your insurance license online via Florida’s licensing site.
How long does it take to become an insurance agent in Florida? So long as you’re with a carrier that provides training and licensing assistance, you can start working the moment you have your license and have been appointed with the carrier.
Whatever your background, if you’re contemplating becoming an insurance agent, remember that it’s first and foremost about the desire to help others, not prior industry or sales experience.
“I’m interested in your soft skills,” Mutrie says. “I’m looking for hungry individuals.”
That motivation pays off, from attaining your license, landing your first client and beyond. Take it from Rowe: “If you’re ready to go to work, this is going to be a dream.”