If you’re contemplating your career – or a change in your career path – “sales” may not be at the top of your list. Picking a career is always not an easy decision. Some individuals struggle with finding a career that fits with their vision of how to use the degree they’ve earned (or that you may still be working toward). Others find it tough to identify a field that is rewarding – both financially and personally – on a daily basis.
If you open your mind to it, you may find a career in health insurance sales offers just what you need.
- Great Potential Income: As a health insurance broker (also, sometimes, referred to as an agent), your drive and ambition fuel your success and your income. The greater your sales, the more you can earn. Since you’re paid a commission on each policy sale, and that commission continues for as long as the business stays in effect, you can keep your income going year after year. (In the insurance sales world, we call this your “active” or “inforce” business.)
If you focus on group sales, and you sell a policy to an employer with 10 employees, that coverage is likely to stay active for one year. You will earn a commission for each of the 12 months your clients employees (and covered dependents) are insured.
If one person leaves the group, your commission will change, but it could also increase if the employer adds one or more employees during the year who joins the group health plan. (Link here to use our Salary Calculator and see an example of what you could earn as a broker.)
- Opportunity to Help Others: If you’re a “people person,” health insurance sales can be a great career for you. That’s because, every day, you will have the opportunity to talk and work with individuals, business owners, and employees to shop and compare health insurance plans, so they can better prepare for the future – unexpected illness, medical emergency, or a possible future chronic health condition.
The Affordable Care Act requires businesses with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees to offer health insurance or face a penalty. Other employers, while not required to offer such coverage, still often choose to make health insurance available to their employees. Health insurance and employee benefits can help smaller businesses compete more effectively for new hires in today’s increasingly competitive talent marketplace – and they also help employers retain current workers.
- You’re Selling Something People Need: Insurance is a product that a lot of people need – and, in your advisory and sales role, you’ll be able to help your clients compare health plans to find coverage that best matches their individual or family health care needs.
You’ll likewise be able to work with business owners and managers to help them find health coverage that satisfies the needs of their employees, while also keeping in mind their organization’s budgetary limits.
- Work Flexibility: Few careers offer the flexibility available to insurance sales professionals. You decide how – and where – you work. You set your own daily schedule. You decide if you want to be an independent broker, or work with an agency. You determine how you want to generate leads and you decide how to follow on leads you may receive (email, call, or in-person visit, etc.).
- The Freedom to Express Your Creativity: Being a health insurance broker gives you a lot of opportunity to be creative – with your logo, your website, in the way you market yourself (and your agency), etc. It’s all up to you. If you partner with a general agency, you may be able to get help there, too, if you’re unsure of what’s likely to generate the best results for you.
If we’ve piqued your interest – and you’re considering an insurance sales career, you may be wondering about next steps. Your first step is deciding what type of insurance you want to sell – and getting the required license.
A lot of California brokers who want to sell health insurance choose either an Accident and Health Agent license or a combination Life and Accident and Health Agent license. The latter gives you the ability to sell health insurance, life insurance, and other lines of coverage (like disability and long-term care, among others).
Your license type determines your required training hours. For example, if you are an individual or business entity (agency), a minimum of 20 hours of approved study in California for Life-Only License or an Accident & Health License. Twelve hours of ethics and California insurance code study are also required. If you’re interested in a combo license, you must have a total 52 pre-licensing training. That includes 20 hours each for Life and Accident & Health plus 12 hours of ethics study. (A similar study requirements applies in Nevada.)
Both California and Nevada allow brokers to train for licensing exams through available online resources. Click on a state name below to see a list of recognized vendors.
If you are a California resident, prior to submitting an insurance license application, you must pass the qualifying license examination. This applies to licenses to sell Life, Accident and Health, Property, Casualty, Personal Lines, Limited Lines Automobile, and Life Limited (funeral and burial expenses) policies. You can use the California Department of Insurance (CDI) online application service, Fast Licensing Application Service is Here (FLASH), or you can register to take your licensing exam at one of the testing sites operated by the DOI statewide. Link here for more information.
Brokers in Nevada can apply for a license using the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) or Sircon. (Once you become licensed, you can also use either service to renew your Nevada license.) You can apply as a Resident or Nonresident and as an individual or business entity.
Read Word & Brown’s guide, A Rewarding Career Is Within Reach, for more information on fingerprinting and preparing for your exam.
Selecting a GA Partner
Once you’ve earned your license, you may find it advantageous to partner with a General Agency – like Word & Brown – to help you maximize your sales and income opportunities. Word & Brown offers a full range of support services to brokers. Plus, we’ll reimburse you up to $500 when you write your first small group health case through us.
Get Started Today
If you’re looking for a career that offers you great potential income, work flexibility, the opportunity to help others, and creative freedom, you really should consider health insurance sales. And, if you want a partner that will help you learn the business and work with you to help you achieve greater success, Word & Brown offers 30+ years of experience and team dedicated to “Service of Unequalled Excellence.”
Health Insurance Broker
2020 Salary Guide
For a sneak peek at what you can expect to earn as an insurance agent, get a copy of our “Insurance Broker Salary Guide.”