This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Insurance agents advise on insurance and sell insurance to clients.
Insurance agents usually earn
$40K-$55K per year
Insurance agents who are brokers or manage accounts usually earn
$60K-$130K per year
Source: Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide 2015', 2015.
Pay for insurance agents varies depending on the kind of work they do.
- Insurance agents usually earn between $40,000 and $55,000 a year.
- Account executives usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000.
- Account brokers usually earn between $60,000 and $130,000.
Insurance agents may earn a commission on top of their base salary.
Source: Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide 2015', 2015.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Insurance agents may do some or all of the following:
- interview clients to identify their insurance needs
- explain to clients details of insurance and conditions, risk coverage, premiums and benefits
- calculate premiums
- record information about clients and their policies
- draw up lists of potential clients and contact them to arrange interviews.
Skills and knowledge
Insurance agents need to have knowledge of:
- the insurance industry
- insurance policies, including what each policy covers
- relevant government policies such as tax requirements, benefit allowances and accident compensation
- relevant laws such as the Privacy Act and the Human Rights Act.
- usually work regular business hours, but may work weekends or evenings to meet deadlines
- work in offices, but may travel locally to visit clients.
What's the job really like?
Meeting and helping people a key part of the job
Insurance agent Don Byars came into the industry from a sales background, and says his favourite aspect of the job is meeting people. "You get to meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of new things. It's a fairly vibrant and dynamic industry."
Don enjoys helping members of the community to manage their risk. "I get a sense of achievement when I know I’ve helped a client."
Variety keeps things interesting
Working for a relatively small company, Don gets to see all aspects of insurance, rather than being limited to one department.
"I like the flexibility and variety of it – there are a lot of different aspects to insurance, especially if you're working for a smaller company."
Conferences are fun
As well as visiting clients at their businesses, Don frequently travels to insurance conferences. "They're generally a lot of fun. You get to listen to some interesting speakers and there's regular contact with people whose company you enjoy.
"Insurance is a crucial part of commerce in any country, so it plays a vital role and it’s certainly interesting to be a part of that."
You need at least NCEA Level 1 in English and maths or equivalent to enter this role.
You must not have any criminal convictions, and may be required to have a driver's licence.
Training on the job
Insurance agents learn skills on the job.
The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) offers certificates and diplomas in general and life insurance that focus on developing technical insurance skills, including underwriting.
NCEA Level 1 English and maths are needed. Science and accounting are useful.
Insurance agents need to be:
- good at communicating
- able to relate to a wide range of people
- skilled at interviewing people
- good at making sales
- patient and helpful
- competitive and persistent
When you're in a job that's so flexible and varied, it's easy to be distracted or get caught up in detail. Having good systems in place means your productivity levels are maintained.
Useful experience for insurance agents includes:
- insurance work such as working in claims, customer service or as a sales representative
- medical work
- survey or inspection work
- legal or research work
- banking, accounting or investment work
- call centre work
- work involving analysis.
Find out more about training
- The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance
- 0800 103 675 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.anziif.com
What are the chances of getting a job?
Range of factors contribute to demand for insurance agents
Demand is best for:
- insurance agents who wish to work in contact centres
- experienced insurance agents who can replace those moving on to senior roles or retirement
- commercial insurance brokers who have skills in business development.
Demand for insurance agents may decline
Demand for insurance agents may slow from 2018 due to:
- insurance firms merging and needing fewer staff
- insurance agents being replaced by technology that calculates and sells insurance online to clients.
Types of employers varied
Insurance agents can work for:
- insurance companies
- financial institutions
- brokerage firms.
- Covernote, 'Competition Heats Up', December 2015, (www.ibanz.co.nz).
- Covernote, 'Get Set For Innovation, Industry Told', December 2015, (www.ibanz.co.nz).
- Covernote, 'Year in Review', December 2015, (www.ibanz.co.nz).
- Hays, 'Hays Quarterly Report January – March 2016, Insurance', 2016, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide 2015', 2015, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANZ), 'Agility the Key For New Insurer', 25 January 2016, (www.ibanz.co.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
Progression and specialisations
Insurance agents can progress to work in other roles in the insurance industry, such as:
- loss adjuster
They may also move into management positions, or finance roles.
Insurance agents may specialise as underwriters, who study insurance applications and make decisions on the terms and conditions of new insurance policies.
Last updated 30 May 2017