The road for someone to become an insurance trainee is fairly straightforward. Even so, insurance companies are held to high legal standards and therefore want their trainees to be well-educated and experienced. The exact education and experience someone needs to go into insurance varies slightly based on what insurance the person wants to handle.
It is possible to get into the insurance field with just a high school diploma. To do this, a person must have sales experience, however. Courses in math, marketing, economics, business law, finance and information technology all pave the way for someone to start an insurance career. Courses in psychology, public speaking and sociology also are helpful because they help an insurance trainee better understand the motivations a person has for purchasing or rejecting insurance.
Although someone can become an insurance trainee with just a high school diploma, employers often give preference to those with a college degree. Specifically, employers want insurance trainees to have a background in business, finance or economics.
Once a person has the appropriate sales experience or education, the next step for someone to become an insurance trainee is looking for an insurance agency that is hiring new recruits. The interested individual must contact the company and express his interest in becoming a trainee, which sometimes means contacting the company's recruitment office or trainee program center. If a position is available and the individual is qualified, the insurance company offers him a trainee position. This position might be paid, but sometimes it is an unpaid internship instead.
With a secure trainee position, an insurance trainee shadows an experienced agent for a set period of time. How long this period is depends on company policies, which are governed by the standards for insurance agents set by each state, and on how quickly the trainee is able to learn.
No matter what company a person goes to become an insurance trainee, eventually, trainees have to be licensed in order to work in insurance independently. Thus, part of becoming a trainee and moving to full insurance agent status is to take courses specific to the basics of insurance and insurance law. Many trainees take these courses as they work under the guidance of a licensed agent. The courses and licensure requirements vary by the type of insurance the trainee wants to pursue. For example, separate licenses are required for life and health versus property and casualty insurance, and trainees have to take different tests to work with general finance securities compared to mutual funds and variable annuities.
Not everyone is well-suited to become an insurance trainee. Those who are best for the job include those who can solve problems, as well as those who are friendly, confident and hard-working. Communication skills must be top-notch, because the way an agent communicates with clients can steer the clients away from or to a sale. Insurance agents end up working with minimal supervision, so trainees should be comfortable managing their own resources and time, prioritizing well and taking initiative when necessary. People who demonstrate these traits in addition to the desired education and experience are given the most serious consideration when interviewed.