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An insurance sales representative works with people and companies who need insurance to help them select the best product. These insurance professionals usually work with a specific insurance company, selling that company's line of products. Some may work for brokers who handle insurance from several different companies, in which case they are familiar with an array of insurance options available to their customers. It is also possible to choose to focus on specialized insurance products, such as maritime insurance, providing highly skilled service to customers who need these products.
Many lay people are not very familiar with insurance. They understand the basic concept, and they may have an idea of the kind of needs a policy must meet, as when people buy car insurance and want to make sure to meet the government's insurance requirement. An insurance representative works with clients, talking about the different types of insurance available, learning more about the specifics of the client's situation, and offering recommendations for types of insurance and coverage.
In a simple example of what an insurance sales representative might do, when a customer comes in looking for home insurance, the representative could talk about the different policies available, and ask the client about the value of the house, the location, the client's income, and so forth. The representative could give rough estimates of premiums for various types of policies, and make coverage recommendations. The insurance sales representative might also talk about bundled insurance options. For example, it may be possible to get a deal when buying home insurance and car insurance at the same time.
In order to become an insurance sales representative, it is necessary to have an extensive knowledge of insurance, along with good sales and communications skills. In some areas, people who sell insurance must have certification from the government, and may be required to fulfill certain training requirements. In others, no specialized training is required, but insurance companies usually prefer to hire people with sales experience, and may offer training courses to new employees to familiarize them with the company's products and philosophy.
Working in insurance gives people an opportunity to work with many different kinds of people, and to deal with a variety of situations. It helps to be compassionate, flexible, and attentive, in addition to having good people skills. One never knows which kind of client is going to come through the door. For example, many people do not enjoy the process of shopping for insurance, especially if it accompanies a major purchase such as a house which is already stressful, and they may appreciate an attentive insurance sales representative who relieves much of the stress of the transaction. Others may enjoy the process of comparison shopping and grilling a sales representative about options.