If you have ever contemplated becoming an insurance agent or wondered whether this career path could be right for you, then there are several qualities that you will need to possess, at least to some degree. All good insurance agents share some of the following core qualities in one way or another.

People Skills
1. Puts the needs of the client first - An agent who is only out to earn a commission, regardless of the needs of the client, is not likely to last long in the business. Agents and brokers who listen carefully to what their clients and prospects say will be able to earn their trust, which is the hardest part of their job. Those who are willing to put their clients into a product that pays a lower commission because it better fits their needs are much more likely to be successful.

2. Good customer service - Customers who are able to get a hold of their agents when they need them are much more likely to stay happy and reassured. A timely response to inquiries and phone calls is a must, and you must be able to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it - or at least have a good reason as to why you can't. One of the major complaints of those who buy life insurance policies is that there is no one around to answer their questions after they have purchased the policy.

3. Emotional intelligence - This includes the ability to listen and empathize with clients on a deeper level in order to discern what they really want and need. A good agent is tactful and knows how to help a client see financial reality clearly, even when the client is dead set against it.

Strong Personality
1. High energy level - One of the most important traits of a good insurance agent is that they appear to be excited and eager at all times. A worn-down or dreary disposition will immediately rub off on clients and discourage them from buying anything.

2. Persistence - This is perhaps the most vital quality of any good insurance agent. Those who work in this field absolutely must be able to handle rejection on a daily basis over the course of their careers, and do it with a smile. Good insurance agents understand that each "no" only brings them closer to someone who will say "yes."

3. Honesty - Insurance agents who use deception to close business seldom stay with the same company for very long - and can end up behind bars in some cases. A good agent knows that telling the truth up front will win them clients' respect and trust and is likely to lead to repeat business over time.

General Knowledge
1. Wide array of products - As the old saying goes, if all you have to work with is a hammer, then everything in the world looks like a nail. A good insurance agent will be able to offer a comprehensive selection of products and services that can meet any reasonable need a client might have.

2. Technical knowledge - A good insurance agent knows much more than how to sell a policy. The agent must understand the tax and legal aspects of the products he or she sells and how they are designed to fit into a client's overall financial situation. Many agents earn financial planning designations such as the Certified Financial Planner®, Chartered Financial Counselor or other credential. Some agents practice financial planning, income tax preparation or some other avenue of financial service as their primary profession and then write insurance business when it becomes necessary.

The Bottom Line
These are just some of the qualities that life insurance agents must possess in order to be successful. The life insurance business can be very challenging and immensely rewarding for those who are willing to learn the necessary skills to build their business. For more information on how to become a successful insurance agent, contact the recruiting offices of a few different agencies or a headhunter who works with insurance agents.

Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Best Ways to Find Life Insurance Leads

    Learn about some of the most effective ways life insurance agents find leads. Understand the pros and cons of company leads, third-party leads and networking.
  2. Personal Finance

    6 Reasons To Get Your MBA Abroad

    Given the number of high caliber business schools outside the United States, it may make sense to venture overseas for your MBA. Here's what you can gain.
  3. Professionals

    Career Advice: Accountant Vs. Financial Planner

    Identify the key differences between a career in accounting and financial planning, and learn how your personality dictates which is the better choice for you.
  4. Retirement

    Why Are Annuities Important for Retirement?

    Understand how annuities work, and identify the benefits they provide for retirement, the most salient being a guaranteed income stream for life.
  5. Savings

    Become Your Own Financial Advisor

    If you have some financial know-how, you don’t have to hire someone to advise you on investments. This tutorial will help you set goals – and get started.
  6. Professionals

    10 Must Watch Documentaries For Finance Professionals

    Find out about some of the best documentaries that finance professionals can watch to gain a better understanding of their industry.
  7. Retirement

    The Better Way to Save: Life Insurance or IRA?

    Sure, you can tap your permanent life insurance policy to help fund your retirement. But in most cases, an IRA is the better choice. Here's why.
  8. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Corporate Finance

    Read an in-depth review and comparison of a career in investment banking and a career in corporate finance, with advice about which one to choose.
  9. Professionals

    Career Advice: Stockbroker Vs. Insurance Agent

    Compare and contrast careers as a stockbroker and insurance agent. Understand the skills and attributes required for success in each career.
  10. Insurance

    Life vs. Health Insurance: Choosing What to Buy

    When you only buy the coverage you truly need, the debate over medical insurance vs. life insurance might just be one you can avoid.
  1. Can I borrow from my annuity to put a down payment on a house?

    You can borrow from your annuity to put a down payment on a house, but be prepared to pay an assortment of fees and penalties. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the biggest disadvantages of annuities?

    Annuities can sound enticing when pitched by a salesperson who, not coincidentally, makes huge commissions selling them. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can I determine if a longevity annuity is right for me?

    A longevity annuity may be right for an individual if, based on his current health and a family history of longevity, he ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can your life insurance company sue you?

    A life insurance company generally cannot sue you, but it can sue your estate. The company may do this in order to recover ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do financial advisors have to find their own clients?

    Nearly all financial advisors, particularly when new to the field, have to find their own clients. An employer may provide ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!