Sunday, 19 October 2014

How to become an insurance agent in India

An insurance sales agent is the one who helps you to select an insurance policy which will provide protection for your health, property and life. The policy is recommended which will address your specific needs as per your circumstances. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that there is no undue adverse effects on the insurance company whose policy the agent is recommending. Find out how to take up a career as an insurance agent and develop the right skills to be a successful one.
What an insurance agent does
  • Find a new client
  • Prepare a report & design a policy as per the client’s circumstances
  • Maintain records
  • Help settle a claim
  • Offer financial advice to minimize risk
Benefits of being an Insurance Agent
You are your own entrepreneur and your own boss! You don’t work under anybody, but are independent. You are free to select your own clients. You have flexible working hours and do not have to stick to time-bound schedules. 

Even somebody with no experience can become an insurance agent. Insurance companies provide good training programs which are conducted by their own qualified people. Promotional & marketing tools are provided to enhance performance. 

Performance is rewarded well & in some instances insurance companies even allow a successful agent to open his own office with allowances being paid by the company.

Who can apply
1. You should have cleared Std.XII if you are in an urban area / you should have passed Std.X for rural areas

2. You should be 18 years of age

Steps to becoming an insurance agent
1. Contact your local branch office & meet the development officer.
2. The branch Manager will interview you.
3. Once you clear the interview, you will be sent for training to the divisional training centre.
4. The training will be for a specified number of hours on certain days, sometimes only on weekends.
5. Once you successfully complete your training, you will have to appear for an online exam conducted by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), known as the Pre-Licencing Examination.
6. Once you have successfully passed the exam, you will get your licence from IRDA. This licence allows you to work as an insurance agent.
7. You then get appointed as an insurance agent by the Branch Office, working as part of a team under a Development Officer. The Development Officer will be providing field training and advice you on various aspects to help you set your foothold in the insurance sales field.

Types of Policies
Every insurance company has its own varied set of policies about which the insurance agent should have updated knowledge. Some of the policies are:
  • Pension policies
  • Health policies
  • Unit-linked policies
  • Money-back policies
  • Endowment-cum-savings policies
  • Term Assurance policies
  • Whole life policies
  • Childrens’ policies
Professional Courses
To update your knowledge about insurance products, you can undertake professional courses. Such courses also provide continued education about changes in tax laws, Government benefit programs and government regulations. The course can also help you to update your sales skills on how to conduct your business.
It is a good idea to look out for notifications on seminars and conferences conducted by insurance companies and by IRDA.
IRDA provides courses which are considered mandatory for continued education of an insurance agent. Such courses will focus on consumer protection, insurance laws and technical aspects of a policy. IRDA's website also provides a list of offline and online agent training institutes.
 
Skills required to be a successful insurance agent
  • You should have good communication skills
  • You need to develop your interpersonal skills in order to understand a client’s needs
  • You should be a self-motivator
  • You need to update your knowledge about various policies
  • You should be hard-working and be able to take the initiative to find new clients
  • You should have the ability to solve problems efficiently
  • You should have time management skills so as to be able to deal with various problems, preparing presentations and meet both existing and new clients. You may be working up to 60 hours a week or even longer!
Whom to contact to become an insurance agent?
You can contact any of the reputed insurance companies in India and find out about their training schedules for agents. Other than General Insurance and Life Insurance companies, there are also stand alone health insurance companies in both the private and public sector. A few companies also specialize in agriculture insurance and export credit guarantee. Check out the comprehensive list at wikipedia.

Good to know: IRDA regulates the insurance business in India. 
Official website: www.irda.gov.in/

For contact:
1. Head Office:
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
3rd Floor, Parisrama Bhavan, 
Basheer Bagh,
Hyderabad - 500004
Telangana State
India
Ph: (040) 23381100 / Fax: (040) 6682 3334 

2. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Delhi Office
Gate No. 3, Jeevan Tara Building, 1st floor
Sansad Marg, 
New Delhi-110001 
India
Ph: (011) – 2374 7648 / Fax: (011)  2374 7650