How to Be a General Insurance Agent (and what is it like?)
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “insurance agent”?
The first thing that I thought of is:
A good-looking lady dressed in formal asking me to do a survey in a MRT station.
The survey is a prelude to the life insurance products that she will try to sell next.
Life insurance is a major segment of the insurance industry.
The insurance industry is more than just life insurance. In fact, the general insurance segment is just as interesting.
In this article, we will share:
- Life Insurance vs General Insurance;
- Role of an Insurance Agent;
- Qualifications and Minimum Requirements to be an insurance agent; and
- Challenges and Rewards as a General Insurance Agent.
Life Insurance vs General Insurance
You can classify the insurance industry into life insurance, and non-life insurance. We refer non-life insurance as general insurance.
Most of us are familiar with life insurance. We learned about them in schools. We see life insurance agents everywhere.
As the name indicates, life insurance relates to your personal life. They can be either:
(1) Protection: Provide a benefit in the event of specified event, e.g. term insurance
(2) Investment: Growth of capital by regular or single premiums, e.g. Whole life insurance
Anything else that is non-life is general insurance.
General insurance includes:
- Travel insurance
- Motor insurance
- Liability insurance
- Marine Cargo insurance
- Fire insurance
The limit to what type of general insurance is human creativity. As long as there are uncertainties with potential losses, there will be a need for insurance.
One difference between general and life insurance is you have one more type of clients:
Businesses face lots of different risks. They can transfer some of these risks to the insurance company.
Role of an Insurance Agent
You might be thinking:
Other than selling, what else is the role of an insurance agent?
Yes, selling is a big part of an insurance agent’s role. Without selling, insurance agent would have nothing else to do.
But, insurance agents’ job do not stop after closing the sale.
An insurance agent is a representative of the insurance company. He has the legal rights to sell you insurance. He also has other responsibilities:
Assessing Client’s situation and recommend the correct insurance product
Every client is different. An agent should always find out about the client’s needs before recommending products.
All insurance is dealing with a specific risk. A qualified insurance agent will assess the existence of the risk. They will also advise on how can you deal with these risks before jumping to insurance.
This is how Anthola’s help their clients in their risk management. You can read more about our approach in our risk management framework.
Helping Clients with Claims
One of the most common issues with insurance is claims. The claiming process can be long and frustrating.
There can be lots of emails and letters bouncing back and forth.
Good insurance agents help their clients with claims. They will get relevant documents from their clients. Then they will submit the claims.
The agent will handle queries from the insurance company,. Unless there is a need to request more information, the agent will not disturb the client.
In short, successful insurance agents are not just a salesman. They are a consultant. They are also a liaison between the client and the insurance company.
How to Qualify as an Insurance Agent?
To be a general insurance agent, you should:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Minimum 3 GCE ‘O’ Level
- Basic Insurance Concept and Principles (BCP)
- Certificate of General Insurance (CGI)
- Personal General Insurance (PGI)
- Health Insurance (HI)
You can find out more about the CGI, PGI and HI from Singapore College of Insurance.
Life as a General Insurance Agent
I have been a general insurance agent since 2010. As an agent, I am the bridge between my clients and insurance companies.
Most of my clients are businesses. They understand the importance of insurance, and how insurance can help their business manage risk.
The question is who should they buy the insurance from?
My role is to convince them to buy the insurance from Anthola. I do that by providing the best service. This is done by understanding the insurance needs of my client. Based on the needs, I will then negotiate the terms with various underwriters in the insurance companies.
Being a general insurance agent is challenging. For every client, I will have to understand the industry nature and their business. But with experience, this has become easier.
As my routine involves helping my client to solve their problems, my schedule is very flexible.
Insurance agents are more than just selling products. They are also a valuable consultant to their clients.
Helping clients to manage their risk should be the ultimate goal of any insurance agent. Commissions from sales are the rewards.