Insurance advisors assist individuals and corporate clients with the purchase of insurance policies. Generally, an insurance advisor focuses on marketing one type of product such as health insurance, life insurance or property insurance. Some advisors are full-time employees of insurance firms while others are independent agents who work with many different clients.
Advisors are responsible for protecting their clients against future financial hardship. These individuals meet with clients and discuss the client's assets and liabilities. An insurance advisor must calculate how much insurance coverage a client needs to replace or repair a piece of property if it becomes damaged, lost or stolen. With life insurance products, advisors calculate how much money the insuree's beneficiaries would need in order to payoff the insuree's debts and compensate for the loss of the insuree's income. Similarly, advisors provide clients with information about the kind of healthcare expenses that an individual or family unit may be faced with over the course of time.
Having determined the client's needs, an insurance advisor must find suitable insurance policies to present. Ideally, a policy should provide the insuree with ample coverage but the cost of the policy must be within the range that the client can reasonably afford. Advisors employed by a specific firm may only have a small range of products to recommend while independent agents can normally sell policies on behalf of many different insurance firms. Good sales skills are important for an advisor because in many nations insurance firms aggressively compete for clients. An advisor can sell policies to individuals or to groups of clients through employer sponsored plans.
Having persuaded a client to buy a policy, an advisor must complete an application on which the client's information is listed. In many instances, the insurance advisor has to collect the initial upfront premium from the client and send the payment together with the application to the insurance provider. An insurance firm can reject an application from a high-risk individual or entity. In some instances, advisors have to liaise between the insurance underwriter and the applicant until a compromise is agreed in terms of the cost and coverage level.
Aside from soliciting new sales, most advisors regularly meet with existing clients to determine whether those individual's needs have changed. Old contracts are sometimes replaced by new policies if the client and the advisor agree that the coverage level on the older policy is no longer sufficient. Additionally, advisors make recommendations to clients about buying new types of policies as they enter different stages of their life such as buying annuities to create retirement income.
Typically, an insurance advisor is paid with commissions that are tied to policy premiums. Regulations exist in many countries that prevent advisors from deliberately causing clients to buy unnecessary insurance with the intention of generating extra commission. Insurance sales people are usually licensed and people who act in an unethical manner can be fined or stripped of their licenses.