Skills for Insurance Agents: Definition and Examples
Insurance agents are highly skilled professionals who help individuals and businesses protect themselves against major financial risks. Communication and problem-solving can be essential skills for these professionals. Learning more about which skills are advantageous in the insurance industry might help you prepare for a career as an insurance agent. In this article, we define insurance agent skills, share examples and outline how to strengthen these skills, apply them in the workplace and highlight them to potential employers during your job search.
What are insurance agent skills?
Insurance agent skills are abilities that can help professionals succeed in developing customer relationships and selling policies. Insurance agents work with individual and commercial clients to identify potential risks and discover solutions to protect assets. Since insurance agents interact with a portfolio of clients regarding complex issues, they typically possess skills that help them understand data, make recommendations and answer client inquiries.
Related: How To Become an Insurance Agent
Examples of insurance agent skills
To succeed as an insurance agent, it's helpful to employ a combination of technical knowledge and interpersonal skills. While professionals may apply skills differently across various insurance environments or companies, there are some fundamental skills that most agents use regularly. Here are some examples of valuable insurance agent skills:
Insurance agents collaborate directly with clients, so they need to remain attentive, informative and helpful. Basic customer service principles apply, such as responding politely and promptly, offering solutions and honoring a company's promises. It's also often helpful to treat clients with empathy and offer courtesy services, such as check-in calls and thank you notes, to help clients feel appreciated.
Interacting with customers is vital to earning and maintaining business, so successful insurance agents typically have strong communication skills. Speaking clearly and honestly about policy options and claims can help develop trust with customers and create long-lasting relationships. Communication skills such as proper phone etiquette and active listening can also help these professionals better meet their clients' needs. People who are outgoing and friendly may experience success in this career, as establishing positive connections with customers can lead to sales and referrals.
Insurance agents often have quotas to meet, and sales skills can help them garner business and increase profits. The ability to persuade and negotiate can help agents close more sales and meet company goals. It's important to know how to pursue new leads, attain prospective clients and confidently advocate for your employing business.
It's also helpful for agents to familiarize themselves with common digital programs for phone calls, emails, spreadsheets and presentations. Thorough knowledge of insurance software can also be a valuable asset. Digital tools can help an agent with tasks such as managing claims, automating marketing emails, tracking sales performance and compiling quotes.
While employers don't typically expect their insurance agents to be experts in finances, a fundamental understanding of financial planning can help them better support their clients. Taxes, personal budgets and stocks can all influence insurance offers, especially for agents working with life insurance. Agents who sell life insurance might also consider learning about individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and annuities so they can better advise clients on how to plan for long-term financial security.
Reading and analyzing documentation is often an essential responsibility for an insurance agent. It's important that they can understand complex language, interpret contracts and notice potential obstacles to ensure they're advising their customers wisely. Being comfortable reading various kinds of documents can also help agents explain content clearly to their clients.
Because insurance relies on many financial principles, it's essential for insurance agents to possess competency with numbers. The ability to make error-free calculations and analyze numerical data about insurance trends can help agents perform their work more effectively. Understanding the basic concepts of statistics, calculus and algebra can empower you to quickly and accurately identify errors and make predictions.
Foreseeing potential problems and preparing solutions are core functions of an insurance agent. They typically examine each client's unique case before designing insurance solutions to meet their needs. A successful insurance agent can analyze a situation quickly and offer a dependable plan that provides optimal value at affordable rates.
Individuals and businesses often rely on insurance agents to make informed decisions. To make educated recommendations for their clients, it's helpful for agents to have the ability to gauge options, analyze data and make decisions accordingly. Evaluating the effectiveness of past decisions may also lead to better future decisions and more satisfied customers.
How to improve insurance agent skills
Here are five ways you can improve your skills as an insurance agent:
1. Take professional courses
Professional training programs can help you develop your skills in specialized areas, such as software or customer service. Several organizations offer online courses that can strengthen your existing skills and train you to learn new ones. These programs might also provide you with an opportunity to apply your skills while engaging with different kinds of insurance, such as automobile or casualty insurance. You might also obtain access to tools such as textbooks and other study materials, which can be helpful references even after you complete a program.
2. Gain experience
Practical experience allows you to develop your skills and assess your performance. Consider searching for an internship or entry-level role in insurance where you can start interacting with clients and handling insurance documents. Work experience also allows you to observe other professionals and learn from them while familiarizing yourself with the strategies that work best for you.
3. Seek mentorship
Consider finding a mentor with experience in the profession you want to enter who can offer you advice. This might include a supervisor or colleague at work or someone you meet through a professional network or training program. They might teach you new methods, share their perspective on situations you're likely to encounter or connect you with more learning opportunities.
4. Ask clients for feedback
Feedback from clients about your services can be a valuable resource. You might consider using a survey or form to gather their responses after closing a deal. Feedback can help you serve clients better and help you identify patterns in your work.
Read more: How To Ask for Feedback from Customers
5. Attend workshops and conferences
You can also seek professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops, to develop your skills. Opportunities like these can encourage you to practice your skills, interact with other professionals and learn from experts. You can search for relevant events in your area or online.
Applying insurance agent skills in the workplace
Here are some ways to use insurance agent skills in the workplace:
Set personal goals: While you may have company quotas and sales goals to meet, setting your own goals can be an effective way to measure your sales skills. Aim to increase productivity and consider tracking the tactics you use to evaluate what works best.
Contact existing clients: Consider also asking if there's additional work you can help a client with or if they're satisfied with their current insurance plan. Practicing open communication can strengthen your skills and benefit your client relationships.
Return calls and emails promptly: You might also consider establishing the habit of responding to inquiries as soon as you can. Prompt communication is an important component of customer service, and this may also help you practice solving problems quickly.
Use new software: To improve upon your technical skills, consider learning about new technology that applies to your industry. After discovering new methods, try sharing them with your team and ask about leading a training workshop.
Learn about other insurance products: Clients often appreciate working with well-informed agents who can educate them on a variety of options. It can be beneficial to study industry terminology and commit to exploring new concepts regularly.
How to highlight insurance agent skills
If you're searching for a job, it's important to craft your resume, cover letter and interview responses to showcase your relevant skills. Here are some ways to accomplish this effectively:
Highlighting insurance agent skills for resumes
Clearly highlighting your skills on a resume can improve your chances of attaining an interview. Insurance agents use hard skills such as calculus, contract negotiation and knowledge of common sales methods often. It can be beneficial to be specific about your hard skills so hiring managers can gauge your industry expertise. For example, naming the insurance software with which you're competent might help you separate yourself from competitive applicants. Many insurance agent duties involve interpersonal communication and problem-solving, so it's important to include soft skills, too.
Highlighting insurance agent skills for cover letters
Your cover letter is an opportunity to emphasize practical applications of your skills and showcase the value they may offer a company. Consider linking your qualifications to an employer's unique values and working style. For example, a company website may state that the organization promotes a data-based approach to insurance sales and prides itself on effective client relationships. To prove to a hiring manager that you could thrive in that environment, you might explain that you enjoy using data analytics tools to gain insight into the market and past supervisors often complimented your direct, empathetic style of client communication.
Highlighting insurance agent skills for interviews
During a job interview, you can explain past situations where your specific skills were useful. By offering examples of past successes when answering questions, you can demonstrate your ability to handle the challenges of an insurance agent role. For example, if you worked with a client who started a new business and was nervous about insuring it, you could discuss how you crafted your response. You might highlight that you employed clear communication, attentive customer service and strong decision-making abilities to quickly and empathetically offer the new business owner a series of helpful solutions.
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