Unless you have an Insurance Broker in your family, it may be unlikely that you (the millennial) have sought out a career as an insurance broker. Your generation grew up in the tech boom and therefore tech jobs or cutting edge companies may have greater appeal to you. However, few careers offer the stability and financial growth opportunity of being an insurance broker. Of course, it doesn’t come easy. You need to be good to make a lasting and financially beneficial career out of insurance.
Benefits of a Career as a Broker
Insurance brokers make residual income from commissions. What does that mean? It means that as long as the account remains with your brokerage, you will be paid on it. Why is that important? As you build up your book of business and experience, if you have solid client retention, you will continue to get paid on previous production in addition to new production. Over time, this equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions annually but it doesn’t come overnight.
Few careers allow an employee to dramatically increase their business acumen. Being an insurance broker does. If you possess an inquisitive nature, having the opportunity to meet with thousands of business owners over your career will vastly increase your knowledge of how business works. As your business acumen grows, so does your value to current and future clientele. Insurance is not solely crafting and placing coverage but also advising your client with their business. Behind payroll, insurance is often the second largest expense on a profit and loss statement (P&L). Therefore, business owners take this expense seriously and want to partner with a knowledgeable professional to architect and obtain coverage solutions.
If you are like I was, prior to entering insurance, I assumed insurance was stuffy and boring (think of the movie Office Space). I didn’t want to work for Bill Lumbergh writing insurance policies. What I didn’t know at the time, and what you may not know now, is that being an insurance broker is actually fun. Brokerages are filled with sales professionals that are, for the most part, outgoing extroverts. That dynamic coupled with friendly competition, consistent increased earnings, collaboration with your account management staff and the opportunity to learn about different businesses creates an enjoyable working atmosphere.
Equity is earned. Do not expect to be named a partner after a few years of solid production. However, if you put in a decade of consistent performance, are a good brand ambassador and corporate citizen, equity is an option worth exploring. Becoming an equity partner in an insurance brokerage allows you to scale and be part of something larger than yourself. As an equity partner, you have the opportunity to enjoy some of the benefits of business ownership without incurring the same risk of venturing out on your own.
The market for insurance can be volatile. Not volatile for your career but rather for your clientele. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) initially having so many changes when it first came out and now with the new administration vocalizing change, it is difficult for your clientele to keep up with regulatory changes. Workers’ compensation is high dollar ticket which, depending on the State you are in, can be very volatile for employers also. Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) protects employers against discriminatory charges among other things and has seen an uptick in claims in recent times. These are just to name a few. There are plenty of other insurance options for business owners, i.e. property, general liability, commercial auto, errors & omissions, directors & officers, etc.
This means that when you secure a line of coverage with a new account, you have the opportunity to secure all other lines of coverage for that business. If the owner trusts you with one line of insurance, prove your worth for all lines and round out the account. This will contribute towards higher client retention, increased income and provide your client with one point of contact for their business insurance needs.
The demographic for Insurance Brokers is aging. It could be because today’s on-demand society wants everything now. What ever the reason is, there is opportunity for younger professionals to enter the field. Entering the field at a younger age has its benefits. When you initially begin your career as an Insurance Broker, you likely aren’t making very much money. You haven’t earned it yet and the brokerage is taking a chance on an unknown producer. Normally, earlier on in your career, you have lower expenses and therefore do not require as much to maintain as someone more advanced in their career. However, once you begin to build your knowledge and book, your earning capacity increases. How quickly this happens ultimately depends on you but the opportunity is most certainly present. With an aging population of Insurance Brokerage Owners, the number of brokerage owners retiring will increase over the next 10 to 15 years. If you have built up a successful book and expanded your insurance and business knowledge base, succession opportunities may arise.
Insurance isn’t going away, it is a requisite of business. As a broker, you have the opportunity to become intimately familiar with your customers’ needs and help protect the business they’ve worked so hard to build. Second to faith and family, an owner’s business is often the most important part of their life. Protecting that asset is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you worked hard your whole career to build a business, think of the type of person you would entrust to protect it. That is who you need to become as a broker.
Many large brokerage firms have intern programs that will allow a prospective Broker to learn the ropes. Some also have career path programs to help guide you along your journey. Regional or retail agencies may not have these programs but you will likely have greater access to the brokerage owner. Having a mentor in this industry is advisable. Choosing the right mentor is important.
When reviewing a career as an Insurance Broker, do your homework. Learn about what it takes to become successful. Reach out to Insurance Brokers on LinkedIn and ask if they have some time to chat with you. Most brokers I’ve met are willing to share their experience, just be respectful of their time. This information could prove valuable in your decision making process. You may also want to identify some top brokerages in your area and request a meeting with a Principal. This will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about insurance and the brokerage can also evaluate potential new talent; you.
Just remember, the first year or two won’t be glamorous. You will need to pound the phones searching for new clients and you likely won’t make very much money. However, don’t be shortsighted! In 5 years, 10 years or 15 years, you won’t regret the decision you made if you’ve put in the work. Being a Broker allows you to create a lifestyle that is lucrative and one that will provide for you and your family for years to come.
Author: Rob Comeau is the CEO of Business Resource Center, Inc. The MGA division of BRCI works with many of the top brokerages in the US. BRCI frequently consults with brokerage owners on training new producers and shortening the validation curve for new talent. To view the sales training cycle that BRCI offers, please click here.