Is Life Insurance a Good Career Path

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A profession in the life insurance industry offers several advantages, including job stability, generous compensation, a flexible timetable, and the potential to work independently as an insurance agent or as part of a salaried team. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that life insurance positions may require extended work hours and involve certain repetitive tasks.

What is the Income Potential for Insurance Agents

In May 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that insurance sales agents had a median annual income of slightly below $50,000, equivalent to an average of around $24 per hour.

It’s important to note that while some agents earn less than this figure, others have the potential to earn significantly more. According to BLS data, the lowest 10% of insurance sales agents earned only $29,970 in 2021, while the highest 10% earned over $126,000. On average, agents made $69,340 per year.

Lisamarie Monaco, a national independent life insurance agent, highlights that the specific earnings for independent agents can vary based on the insurance carrier they work with. Each carrier has its own guidelines for agent compensation. Typically, as an agent, you receive a commission from the insurance carrier once the insured (your client) makes their initial premium payment.

Compensation in the life insurance industry also depends on the specific role, as explained by Linda Chavez, the founder and CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder. Sales positions often involve commission-based pay, resulting in significant variation in earnings. On the other hand, underwriters and claims processors typically receive salaries that are comparatively lower than those in other industries. Customer service representatives usually earn hourly wages.

Kelly Maxwell, the CEO of Seniors Mutual, an online life insurance agency, indicates that a new agent who earns commissions typically receives 110% of the annual premium as their pay. For instance, if a client pays $100 per month, the agent can earn $1,320. However, life insurance companies usually provide only 75% upfront, with the remaining portion disbursed in months 10, 11, and 12. Maxwell also emphasizes that life insurance agent salaries vary depending on the geographical location and, for commission-based agents, it is important to consider the expenses associated with purchasing leads.

Types of Careers in Life Insurance

A career in the life insurance industry offers various pathways, encompassing diverse job titles such as:

  1. Life insurance agent
  2. Underwriter
  3. Case manager
  4. Claims processor
  5. Customer service representative

Furthermore, individuals can choose to work either for a life insurance agency or as an independent agent, fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. According to Maxwell, most positions in the life insurance sector operate on a commission-based structure, granting agents independence. This entails purchasing leads from a lead vendor or a higher-level agent, subsequently working on those leads to secure sales and earn commissions.

Maxwell also notes that while there are some companies that offer a salary-based option for license-only agents (LOAs), this type of arrangement is becoming increasingly uncommon. In this scenario, all commissions earned are directed to the company, which then determines the agent’s compensation.

Code Is: 910109

Starting Out in Entry-Level Life Insurance Career

Entry-level opportunities in the life insurance industry encompass various roles that serve as common entry points. These roles include becoming a life insurance agent, underwriter, or case manager. Additionally, entry-level positions can be found in claims processing, customer service, or marketing departments.

Kelly Maxwell suggests that being employed as a salaried Licensed Office Assistant (LOA) by a company is a favorable option for individuals starting their careers in this field. “This arrangement can greatly benefit new agents who are in the learning phase,” explains Maxwell.

Lisamarie Monaco advises newcomers to consider learning the business from a reverse or back-end perspective. She recommends connecting with like-minded individuals and mentors to acquire comprehensive knowledge and support when aspiring to become an independent agent and entrepreneur.

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According to Maxwell, entering the life insurance industry is relatively straightforward. He states, “All you need to sell life insurance is a valid life insurance license in the state where you wish to work.” Once you acquire the license, numerous insurance agencies and large companies offer employment opportunities. The industry consistently seeks new talent. Obtaining a life insurance license typically involves a few weeks of studying and successfully passing an examination. Additionally, it is possible to obtain a non-resident license in other states, expanding the scope of potential sales opportunities.

Life Insurance Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for insurance sales agents is projected to experience a 6% increase from 2021 to 2031, indicating average growth within the industry. However, the Insurance Information Institute highlights the concerning fact that approximately 106 million adults lack sufficient life insurance coverage. Moreover, only 47% of households without life insurance would have financial security in the event of the primary wage earner’s passing, compared to 68% of those who possess life insurance.

This situation presents a compelling opportunity for independent life insurance agents, who currently hold a 50% share of the life insurance market, to embark on a career path that addresses this disparity and contributes to bridging the gap.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pursuing a Career in Life Insurance

Considering a career in life insurance and wondering if it’s the right path for you? Take a look at the following advantages and disadvantages to assist you in making an informed decision.


Job Security: The field of life insurance provides a sense of stability due to the ongoing demand for essential life insurance products. With a consistent need for coverage, there are abundant opportunities within the industry.

  • Potential for High Earnings: Life insurance careers offer the potential for substantial income, particularly in sales roles that often provide lucrative commission-based compensation. Successful individuals in this field can enjoy significant financial rewards, with the possibility of achieving six-figure incomes.
  • Flexibility: Unlike traditional desk-bound jobs, life insurance agents often enjoy flexibility in their schedules. As an agent, you have the freedom to set your own appointments and create a work-life balance that suits your preferences. You can tailor your schedule to accommodate personal commitments or family time.
  • Growth Opportunities: Alongside the potential for high earnings, life insurance careers offer the possibility of expanding your professional network and building a team of agents under your guidance. This scalability allows you to grow your own agency within the industry.


  • Monotony: One drawback of pursuing a career in life insurance is the potential for monotony and repetitive tasks. Some individuals may find the nature of the work uninspiring, making career advancement challenging within the industry.
  • Long Working Hours: Life insurance professionals often need to work beyond regular business hours to accommodate client needs. This can lead to extended workdays, including evenings and weekends, which may affect work-life balance.
  • Income Variability: While life insurance can be financially rewarding, it also carries the risk of income instability. Your earnings depend on the sales you generate, resulting in a lack of fixed income. Additionally, sales targets can vary, making it challenging to predict and plan your financial future.
  • Lead Generation Challenges: Finding quality leads can be a significant hurdle, especially in the early stages of a life insurance career. Generating leads independently is often necessary, and this can be a difficult and time-consuming process.

Linda Chavez emphasizes the importance of understanding your personal goals and preferences when considering a life insurance career. While some individuals may find the field appealing due to its job security and potential for good pay, others may seek alternative career paths offering greater advancement opportunities or more engaging work.

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