The Pros and Cons of Being an Independent Insurance Agent

by Lucia Valencia - October 15, 2021
independent insurance agent with customers looking at a policy

Maybe you’re considering becoming an independent insurance agent because you want more control over your income potential or your day-to-day business activities. Perhaps you feel underused or underpaid or not respected at your current place of employment. You dream of becoming your own boss. Or it could be that you’re just out of college and exploring all of the many options the work world might offer you.

Whatever the reason, you’re looking into a career as an independent life insurance agent. At Bluefire Insurance, we welcome your interest — but we also know that this career path isn’t for everyone. That’s why we candidly offer what we believe are the pros and cons of being an agent.

PRO: Your Career is Self-Directed

The insurance agents you’ll represent won’t care when you come into the office (which might actually be your spare bedroom) in the morning. They won’t count how many calls you make or how many vacation days you take.

All they care about is results. If you sell their products to clients who want and need the benefits those insurance policies provide, that’s all that matters. Your workday practices and procedures are your own.

CON: You Don’t Have a Boss

That might seem like a positive to a lot of people, but others prefer having someone whose brain they can pick and leadership they can depend on, especially when they’re new. At Bluefire, you’ll always have a contact who can answer your questions and provide guidance, but no one will be looking over your shoulder on a daily basis or checking the time when you come in or leave for the day.

PRO: Your Income Potential is Unlimited

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for insurance agents was over $52,000 in 2020. Zip Recruiters puts the average pay for independent insurance agents at a heartier $97,996. That average can go up even more in various U.S. cities and states.

The point of all of these far-ranging income numbers is that what you’ll make is up to you. It’s up to your skills for persistence, organization, communication, and persuasion, as well as your work ethic.

CON: You Never Know How Much You’ll Make from Week to Week

That’s true. Like in every business, there are good days and bad. You can go through streaks and slumps. What that means is that you’ll have to get good at budgeting your money. All agents learn to save during the peaks so they’ll have an income during the valleys.

PRO: You’ll Have a Diverse Product Line to Fit all of Your Clients

In some sales jobs, you have to try to convince potential customers that the rather thin product line you offer is right for them. But as an independent agent, you’ll represent a more diverse line of products from different insurers. In this way, you won’t have to try to fit your customers into the thin product line you offer.

 You’ll be able to offer the client the exact insurance product that’s right for them and their family to match their unique life situations.

CON: You’ll Have a Lot to Learn

Independent insurance agents don’t have to graduate from college, but they do have to learn. You must be able to pass state licensing exams. The most successful agents also gain advanced on-the-job education in marketing, economics, finance, mathematics, accounting, and business administration. You’ll learn valuable sales skills and how to run your own business.

Then you must learn about multiple lines of insurance and the products offered by the insurers they represent. Education is constant and ongoing. This isn’t a drawback, but those who aren’t cut out for the work might think so. However, the most talented and successful agents know that the more they know, the more valuable they become.

PRO: Your Clients Return Again and Again as Your Relationships Grow

independent insurance agent with couple signing a policy

Everyone’s insurance needs to change over time. You might sell clients their first car insurance policies to their parents soon after the kids get their license. Then, perhaps, they get married, start a family, and eventually get teenage drivers of their own. As families grow, so do their insurance needs.

Once you’ve proven yourself to be the ethical, responsible and helpful agent that you are, they’ll return again and again to you as their insurance needs change. They’ll also be happy to refer you to friends and family in similar need of an agent.

CON: You’ll Constantly Have to Develop New Clients

Not everyone is a natural at networking, meeting new people, pitching new business, and nurturing existing relationships. Some people aren’t comfortable in this role, even with the support of an insurance company like Bluefire.  

PRO:  You’ll Actually be Helping People

Everyone should have the financial protection of a good insurance policy. They’ll especially appreciate the coverage you provide when your clients and their families need it most. Over time, you’ll become a trusted advisor rather than merely another salesperson.

CON: We Can’t Think of Any More Cons

Bottom line is, insurance is an ever-growing industry, and becoming an independent agent is a great way to be part of that growth.

Explore the Opportunity

As we said, the life of an independent insurance agent is not for everyone. But for others, traveling this path can be a life-changing event in the best possible way.

If you’re still curious about the possible benefits of moving your career in this direction, we encourage you to learn more. Visit Bluefire Insurance, and fill out our online form to request more information. You might find it to be an incredibly rewarding career.

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