What they do
Insurance agents sell life, home, car and other insurance policies to individuals and organisations. Insurance agents are employees of an insurance provider and sell that company's policies. Insurance agents contact potential clients to arrange interviews so that they can discuss the client's needs and suggest an appropriate insurance policy. When discussing insurance policies with potential clients the insurance agent outlines the risks that the policy covers, the rates the client will have to pay and the how much they can expect to be paid if they make a claim.
Most insurance agents in Western Australia work in offices in the Perth metropolitan region, though there are work opportunities throughout the State. They typically spend long periods on the phone, attracting new clients and maintaining relationships with existing clients. Some travel to client's homes or workplaces may also be required. Some insurance agents may sell policies to clients in a particular industry, so may have to regularly visit industrial sites. For example, selling agricultural insurance may require farm visits.
Tools and technologies
Insurance agents use standard office equipment, such as computers, telephones, printers and fax machines. They may also use calculators and/or computer programs to compare the costs and pay-outs of different insurance policies as well as the premiums clients will have to pay. They may also need a driver's licence so that they can travel to clients' homes or workplaces.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as an insurance agent without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in insurance or financial services. The education and training requirements for this occupation are undergoing a formal review. This may or may not lead to changes in the requirements.
The Certificate III and IV in Financial Services are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in insurance (level 3 or level 4) or financial services (level 3 or level 4). The traineeships usually take 12 to 18 months to complete. The financial services (level 3) traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
You may need to hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence to work in this field. Contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for more information.