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So, what exactly does an insurance agent do?

If you ask someone, “What does an insurance agent do?” you’ll probably hear something along the lines of “they sell insurance.” And yes, insurance agents and producers do sell plans to their clients. So it’s accurate, sure — but it’s not the complete truth.

The qualities of a good insurance agent go far beyond selling. Insurance agents work with clients including business owners and benefits decision-makers to develop the right coverage plans for their needs. They help owners and employees wade through the sometimes intimidating world of insurance. They may be independent business owners themselves, but they know how to partner with businesses to maximize everyone’s time and investment.

What are some of the responsibilities of an insurance agent?

Insurance agents and producers do a number of tasks, all of which revolve around building relationships with clients. Some types of insurance, like the supplementary insurance that Aflac offers, involve sales at workplaces across the country. For these agents, in addition to preparing their business to be able to service clients, their primary activities include:

  • Meeting with business owners and benefits decision-makers to introduce themselves and explain the benefits of the carrier they represent.
  • Developing coverage packages that are tailored to each client.
  • Meeting with employees to educate them on available benefits packages and helping them with enrollment.
  • Consulting with existing clients to ensure packages are up to date with clients’ evolving business needs.
  • Marketing and advertising to promote awareness to new policies or changes in coverage.
  • Performing administrative duties, both to ensure that clients’ enrollments and claims go smoothly and for their own recordkeeping.
  • Leveraging leading technology to optimize their insurance practice.

How do insurance agents get clients?

Most use conventional sales techniques such as cold-calling business owners, arriving at a business to introduce themselves and following up on potential leads. But increasingly, they rely on social and digital marketing while leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) and automation tools to manage their book of business.

When working with carriers that offer renewal commissions, such as Aflac, this level of active selling can last as little as 12 months — after that, insurance agent commission rates include policy renewals, not just new policies that agents sell. Producers who enjoy pursuing new relationships can continue selling as many new policies as they can handle throughout their sales careers.

Once a benefits decision-maker has agreed to offer the type of products an agent sells, an agent uses knowledge of the specific business, industry and benefits landscape to recommend packages that are right for the client’s business. Agents might also be tasked with explaining those benefits to client’s employees directly.

Insurance agents also handle marketing and administrative duties — after all, they’re business owners themselves. Knowing how to promote yourself and how to develop a business plan can be helpful. Agents and producers might eventually hire staff to handle marketing and administrative work so they can focus on building and maintaining client relationships.

The truth about being an insurance agent

Your career path as an insurance agent is completely customizable and flexible. Working as an insurance agent can be a great way to start or continue a sales career, but can also open up the door for other career opportunities. Some also work part time and still find success.

No matter what your schedule looks like, this career path shows one quality stands out – you care. The No. 1 responsibility of an insurance agent is about helping. Yes, insurance agents sell products, write policies and swiftly become experts in their industry. But it all comes down to supporting and helping those who need it most.

If you want to help people, you can thrive as an agent. You’ll be helping them navigate an area that can be confusing and intimidating, and you’ll ultimately be helping people protect themselves from the high costs of health care not covered by health insurance.

Ready to find out for yourself what insurance agents do?