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    Becoming An Insurance Agent in 2021: A Post-COVID Perspective

    • The COVID pandemic has shown the resilience and robustness of the US insurance industry.
    • As such, the sector continues to offer attractiveness and viability career opportunities.
    • To become a successful insurance agent in the Post-COVID economy requires strategic focus on understanding and meeting consumer needs and preferences, as well as effective harnessing of emerging technologies.

    The COVID pandemic posed significant and novel challenges for the US insurance industry and its consumers in 2020. While increased levels of unemployment during the height of the pandemic had a negative impact on demand for insurance products, figures from the Bureau of Labour Statistics indicate that the insurance industry remained remarkably resilient during 2020.  

    With over 50 000 new jobs being created annually, the insurance sector continues to offer a viable and potentially lucrative career option as the US transitions to a Post-COVID economy in 2021. The process of becoming an insurance agent remains largely unchanged, but prospective insurance agents need to be cognizant of emerging developments in the industry if they are to be effective and successful in their new careers. 

    In this article we’ll briefly outline the process by which one can become an insurance agent, some basic considerations, as well as some Post-COVID market trends that new agents will need to consider and respond to.

    Obtaining an insurance agent licence

    The very first step to becoming an insurance agent is to get a state insurance licence. According to The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC), licensing requirements vary across the different states, but all states require that prospective insurance agents:

    i) have a high school diploma

    ii) pass an insurance licence exam.

    Licence Exam

    The exams are specific to the insurance lines that applicants are seeking to practise. The format is multiple-choice, and invigilators oversee the exam and enforce strict time limits. 

    Applicants usually have the option of repeating the licence exam if they fail, and the overall pass rate is relatively high. The exam does not, therefore, pose a serious barrier to becoming an insurance agent, and should not discourage anyone interested in entering the industry

    Pre-exam training 

    Many states require pre-exam training that is line-specific. This training varies from 20 to 120 hours in length, and is crucial for equipping new agents with the necessary foundational expertise to properly serve their clients. Pre-exam training thus offers an invaluable opportunity for new agents.

    The Post-COVID economy: strategic considerations for new insurance agents 

    The COVID pandemic has catalysed significant changes in the US insurance industry, as well as accelerating changes in consumer needs and preferences. To establish a successful career as an insurance agent in the Post-COVID economy requires new types of knowledge, skills, and approaches to engaging with and serving insurance consumers. 

    Know your clients

    One of the most vital priorities for insurance agents in the ‘new normal’ is that they must know and understand the specific needs and preferences of their customers. While this has always been fundamental for a successful career in insurance, the necessity of understanding one’s consumers has become even more crucial. 

    New agents must consider that consumers are increasingly assertive and empowered in the way they interact with insurance agents. Agents must understand and adapt to the growing trend among consumers who are demanding more information, and more cost-effective, flexible, tailored insurance products and services. 

    Consumers are also increasingly demanding risk protection that is aligned with ethical values and principles – a relatively novel trend that insurance agents must be prepared to respond to.

    Meet your client needs and preferences:

    Knowing the client  enables insurance agents to better satisfy their specific risk protection needs and preferences. In the Post-COVID economy for instance, many consumers are seeking policies to insure discrete, novel assets such crypto-currencies, so insurance agents must  consider how they will meet these relatively new needs among insurance consumers. 

    Flexibility of service provision is another increasingly important consumer need that insurance agents must prioritise in the Post-Covid economy. Agents must develop systems for satisfying the growing number of consumers who prefer to evaluate, purchase, and maintain  their insurance policies online. Similarly, agents must find practical and effective ways of meeting the growing consumer demand for remote interaction and communication with insurance agents, in stark contrast to the more traditional face-to-face meetings between clients and their insurance agents.

    Harnessing new technology

    Digital technology is at the centre of the shifting Post-COVID insurance market trends. It is therefore crucial forInsurance agents to prioritise the integration of emerging digital technologies into their relationships with consumers.

    Harnessing digital and internet-based technologies is critical for enabling insurance agents to understand their consumers with the level of depth and resolution required in the Post-COVID economy. Big Data can be invaluable as a tool to analyse consumer needs and preferences, and the COVID pandemic has demonstrated that consumers are increasingly comfortable with sharing their data if they see value in doing so. Insurance agents must maximize the strategic opportunities of this emerging trend Post-COVID market trend.

    Harnessing these technologies is also crucial for enabling insurance agents to serve their clients more effectively. Rapid developments in artificial intelligence mean that insurance agents can begin to delegate time-consuming and laborious administrative tasks to AI software, dramatically increasing the efficiency of the services that insurance agents can provide to consumers. 

    Final thoughts

    The Post-COVID economy is a challenging and unpredictable environment for new insurance agents, but for this very reason there are many opportunities to build a successful career in the industry. Knowing the minds and needs of consumers, striving to meet their specific needs, and harnessing emerging technologies are prerequisites for becoming a successful insurance agent in the Post-COVID economy (consider visiting this website for more detailed information on becoming an insurance agent).

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