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I own an insurance agency.
How would you describe what you do?
I sell personal insurance mainly; auto, home, and life insurance. It’s eighty percent sales, twenty percent management.
What does your work entail?
It’s pretty much sales. You have to get prospects then figure out if they’re people that need what you have. Then you have to figure out if they’re going to be profitable and that they aren’t going to cause you all kinds of problems because insurance is kind of like a loan. You can’t get people that are not going to pay their bills.
It’s good for somebody that say, went to college, moves back home, doesn’t ever want to move, wife’s happy there, and is like, “I’m going to build a career here that I can have forever and get a lot of free time and go watch my kids play ball.” It’s long-term. It’s a jog, not a sprint.
Pretty much from there it’s just selling the deal and closing the deal, and managing it, keeping customer service for the people that bought from you.
How did you get started?
My family had been it.
What do you like about what you do?
Freedom. I own my own business. I can go do whatever I want to do, work whenever I want to. There’s unlimited potential for income. I might make $40,000 more this year than I made last year and I might make $100,000 less next year? It’s all up to me. One thing that I will say though, one really positive is it’s very stable too. Once you build an agency and you get a renewal base, 90 percent of the people will stay with you, so I could be gone for two weeks and still make the same amount of money.
What do you dislike?
When someone comes in and wants insurance from you and you can’t cover them because they’ve had two claims, or it’s a friend of yours and the accidents were really not their fault but they have two claims and that’s the rule and you can’t cover them.…the insurance company kind of tells you want you can and can’t do with
I can’t set the prices on the policies, I just have to sell what I’ve been given. If you owned your own business where you sold t-shirts, you could decide if you want to sell them for $40 or $6. This isn’t that business. They tell you they’re 38 bucks, they may be twice as much as anybody else but you have to go sell it.
regards to writing policies, and sometimes it makes it hard because it differs from what you would want to do if you owned the place.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
It’s all commission and performance bonuses.
How much money do you make?
What education or skills are needed to do this?
College degree. It doesn’t really matter what their degree is in as long as they have one. They’ve got to be able to work with people really well. That’s the key, communication and working with people. That’s what sales is, you’ve got to have a good personality and be able to deal with a lot of situations and learn how to deal with peoples emotions.
What is most challenging about what you do?
I’d say it’s to take what you’re given and work with it. I can’t set the prices on the policies, I just have to sell what I’ve been given. If you owned your own business where you sold t-shirts, you could decide if you want to sell them for $40 or $6. This isn’t that business. They tell you they’re 38 bucks, they may be twice as much as anybody else but you have to go sell it. Also dealing with the weather and things that are out of your control that can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can get a bonus for Christmas for $60,000 or I can get a bonus for Christmas of $0. And that all depends on how many people filed claims against me. Anytime there’s a damn storm, we’re up in the middle of the night watching it. Trust me, dude, I’m telling you. It’s wild. It can literally, on my income anymore, it can make the difference of $100,000 to $150,000 a year in my pocket. I don’t pay it out of my pocket, but there’s a loss ratio which means they look at how much you take in and how much you pay out. And depending on if your percentage’s in the right place, you get a bonus.
What is most rewarding?
I’d say the most rewarding in this business would be long-term, the renewal base business where you built a business and you worked hard and it gets to a point where it can be put on cruise control. And you see lots State Farm agents and all those guys, they’re always hunting for two weeks, traveling and whatever.
I can get a bonus for Christmas for $60,000 or I can get a bonus for Christmas of $0. And that all depends on how many people filed claims against me. Anytime there’s a damn storm, we’re up in the middle of the night watching it. Trust me, dude, I’m telling you. It’s wild. It can literally, on my income anymore, it can make the difference of $100,000 to $150,000 a year in my pocket.
The most rewarding thing of it is, it’s not like a doctor where you’ve got to be there to see patients. Once you’ve built the business, then you can kind of go and do whatever you want to do.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
I wouldn’t start from scratch. I guess that’s the best way to put it. I would somehow either buy in or get put into an existing agency that already has a book of business. But it’s very long-term…I mean, it’s very hard to go in and just start from nothing. It takes so many years just to get to where you’re even making some money. I’d also, before you sign on, make sure you really do your due diligence on what the company’s telling you about what you’re getting. Sometimes they’ll bullshit that and say “Oh, you’re getting this many clients and you’re getting this and you’re getting that,” and then you get in there and go, “Oh, wait a minute,”.
How much time off do you get/take?
Time off, I guess that would include my other business ventures. If you want to look at it from that standpoint, probably four months. And the typical agent’s not probably going to be able to do that, but easily six to eight weeks. It’s different for everyone. I own my own business. If some guy is an agent for Farm Bureau, that guy actually works for Farm Bureau. He’s like a loan officer at a bank.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
I would say the misconception is that we make more money off things than what they really do. Like what insurance agents do or an insurance company even in general. People think you make so much more money than what you do. People don’t realize that, yes, I took in, $10,000 grand but, as soon as they wreck their car, I pay it right back out.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Just to build a big agency. My deal’s pretty much to get it where I make $350,000 to $400,000 a year and don’t even have to go by there. That’s my goal. And I mean, mine’s a little different. My whole goal in the long-run is to set it up to have people to sell for me. I’m trying to set up the business and let it run itself.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
It’s a long-term business. It’s a very long-term business. It’s not something you walk in to and in a couple of years you’re going to just boom, all of a sudden you’re making $100,000. It’s good for somebody that say, went to college, moves back home, doesn’t ever want to move, wife’s happy there, and is like, “I’m going to build a career here that I can have forever and get a lot of free time and go watch my kids play ball.” It’s long-term. It’s a jog, not a sprint. It takes so long to develop those relationships with wealthy clients and get lots of money to come in the door, that if you’re moving all the time, you’re going to be starting back over all the time.