How much do insurance agents make?

Submitted by scottdwayne7 on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 14:43
Insurance agents can have a rewarding career, and more so, since nowadays individuals have recognized the need for having insurance protection. However, it's difficult to predict the exact earnings of an insurance agent. That is because, an agent's earnings depend on his client base and how much insurance coverage he can sell. Thus, the more you put your effort as an agent, the more policies you'll sell and the more will be your income.

To know how an insurance agent earns, you must be aware of their mode of work. Based on how they work, insurance agents are broadly classified into two types:

  1. Captive agents - Those who represent a particular insurance company.
  2. Independent agents - Those who sell insurance products from various insurance companies.

How much do the Captive agents earn?

Captive agents are employees of an insurance company and usually have fixed wages. The initial few months would be the training and learning phase for such an agent. Thereafter, the insurers usually set a target for each agent which has to be fulfilled within a pre-determined time period. According to his or her performance, his or her salary gets revised. There might even be a scope of earning performance bonuses, after the agent meet the target. The salary structure usually depends on a number of factors like the location, the company etc.


How much do the Independent agents earn?

The independent agents represent multiple companies. They don't get a fixed remuneration from the insurance companies. They usually receive a percentage commission from the insurer, which depends on the amount of insurance they sell. Moreover, revenue is only generated on sale of new policies. Thus, to earn more, the agents need to sell more insurance policies.


What is the range of income?

The average income of an insurance agent is around $62,970 for a year, as the May 2011 reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics have pointed out. However, since the individual income is generally based on the commissions earned, skilled agents having a large number of clients can earn much more than the BLS mean. The yearly income of around 50 percent of the agents ranges from $33,850 to $72,490, with the experienced ones earning as high as $115,300 on an average per year or even more than that.

Employment Annual mean wage Annual median wage
$3,21,780 $62,970 $47,450

Area Names Employment Annual mean wage Annual median wage
Arizona $6,390 $51,980 $40,750
California $23,890 $75,140 $59,240
Florida $26,940 $59,420 $46,530
Kansas $4,070 $56,010 $45,130
Nevada $2,250 $51,580 $35,640
New York $18,580 $74,890 $57,180
Texas $26,490 $57,820 $40,630
Washington $5,830 $54,710 $46,770


How much can be the agent commission?

The independent agents working for the insurance companies usually earn from the commissions after each policy sale. The agent compensation is usually paid only for the initial year of a new policy. The agents selling homeowner's insurance and auto insurance receive around 10 to 15 percent commission on the first year's policy premiums. The allowed compensation depends on the insurers though, and can be as low as 8 percent or as high as 15 percent. Life insurance agents earn a lot more, typically in the first year only. They usually receive most of the premium that the policy holder pays in the first year, or even all of it at times.


Is there a scope for earning more?

Apart from the standard commissions which solely depend on each individual agent's performance, the insurance agents have the scope of earning more if the client renews the coverage. The renewals commissions typically range between 2 to 5 percent for each policy.

Along with that, any insurance companies also offer year-end bonuses and non-cash rewards like trips and prizes for the insurance agents.


Reading discussions & reading

How much do insurance agents make? Do insurance agents make good money at all ?

Posted: 12 Apr 2009 03:51 Post Subject:


He don't even have a website?

You're kidding us, right?

Posted: 20 May 2009 03:28 Post Subject: Yeah, They get that in ALLOT of Forums!

You are not alone! Sadly enough, true! A bunch of agents out there trying to build a down line to make money off of others because they don't want to sell for themselves. They have a basic knowledge of the industry, and become their own "IMO" Idiot's Marketing to OTHERS"
"NGFGLLC" is on allot of other insurance forums pushing their crap on others.

Posted: 20 May 2009 03:56 Post Subject: Ok, this is Great!

Great Great Stuff!

I am Proud to have others like you!
I too was subjected to a company doing that. Not going to name that Particular company (IMO) as it is still pending and charges have not been pressed as of today, it is still being investigated, Going on 5 months now. But I am sure the AIC, will be contacting them very soon! And they were churning a past employers business. And it was a "HUGE" company they were churning.
They were more than happy to run with this information....

Great Forum!
Hallelujah for Honest Agents!

Posted: 20 May 2009 04:29 Post Subject:

You are not alone! Sadly enough, true! A bunch of agents out there trying to build a down line to make money off of others because they don't want to sell for themselves. They have a basic knowledge of the industry, and become their own "IMO" Idiot's Marketing to OTHERS"
"NGFGLLC" is on allot of other insurance forums pushing their crap on others.

LOL. Wow, the assumptions just keep on rolling don't they?
For your and others info, I have been an agent for many years. I have sold tons of policies. I found myself in the position to help other agents get the contracts they deserve that they can't get on their own. I help agents, I don't hurt them in any way shape or form.
So tell me, what would you rather have, the highest contract you can get or to go direct with a company on a lower contract? Would you rather be on contracts high enough that you can actually offer other agents very good contracts or be at street level?
You see, I've been the insurance agent that has been screwed over by uplines trying to make as much off me as possible. Since I've gotten to the position I have, I promised myself that I would never do that to agents and would offer them what they usually can't get anywhere else.
You should really find out more about me and what I actually do before you lump me into some big "IMO' pile on your list.
I do understand what you are talking about when it comes to certain IMO's and all, but I assure you, I don't play that game!
If you really want to find out what I do and a little more about me and what my philosophy is, you can contact me at your convenience.
Otherwise, please stop ASSuming you know about me.

Posted: 20 May 2009 08:43 Post Subject:

Great-Stuff, Thanks for the kind words.

Over the past 15 years, I've always done my best to make a difference within an industry rot with moral and ethical decay, corruption, and illicit business practices. My investigations have led to fines and restitution in excess of $1.3 Billion and the permanent revocation of 13 insurance licenses. Very few things in life give me more pleasure than taking a bad agent (or agency) off the street.
Some things, however, still tend to confuse me. The case above, for example, involving Mr. King and a couple of agents who seem to be circling him like vultures, predisposed with reducing what he does for a living to something he should be ashamed of. These agents obviously know him or are competitors of some sort. Otherwise, why would they spend their valuable time making such a big deal out of nothing?
Or maybe I have it all wrong. If a person heads or works for an IMO, does that automatically make them a bad apple? I have investigated plenty of IMOs and, in fact, am currently working to bring down a couple of very large agencies in Texas and California. So, I guess, I have a pretty clear picture of what is/is not bad.
I have a question: If I complete an investigation of say, 70,000 bad cases, and afterwards assign these cases to agents I trust (so that they can re-write all the bad business) does that make me an IMO? If IMOs are all that bad, I certainly don’t want to be part of one.
Thanks, Mark

Posted: 20 May 2009 09:46 Post Subject:

I don't think I even know who these two are. I don't think I've ever had any dealings with them.
One thing for sure though...If they took the time to talk with me they would find out that I'm a bit different from what they might have ran into in the past.
I personally think it must be some other IMO or competitor of some kind. Otherwise, they have nothing to go on other than ASSumptions.
Whoever it is I can surely say that I have never done them wrong and they have no basis for these personal comments about me.
I sure wish they had enough gumption to step out of the shadows and confront me directly. But, of course they won't do that.

Posted: 26 May 2009 03:35 Post Subject:

Although we receive the question about "how much insurance agents make" quite frequently, this recent discussion really brings up a second question...perhaps a follow up question. Insurance agents is such a broad category, and does not necessarily distinguish between the different careers in insurance.

For example, an insurance agent may make most of his income off of other agents (such as is the case with most IMO's). Even if not an IMO, an insurance agent could employ captive agents and make most of his money off of the efforts of others.

On the other hand, you have insurance agents that are independent that will never employ another agent. These insurance agents make most of their money (in fact all) off of their sales and bonuses / commissions. These agents may claim to be the hardest working, but it really depends how you look at it.

Many agents spend an incredible amount of time mentoring their new hire agents. I, for example, spend a lot more time riding with agents and field training them on their own appointments...then I do actually working on my own sales. As a result, a larger portion of my income is derived from the sales of others...but that doesn't mean I don't know insurance! I train agents that way because it helps them succeed and I would never ask them to split commissions with me...they have set up the appointment (or my team has set it for them) and I am just there to observe and counsel.

There are many different ways for an insurance agent to get paid...and none of them are right or wrong. There are negative practices in the insurance field, but labeling all IMO's as scam artists or multi-level marketers is inaccurate. However, as with any other industry, a few bad apples can spoil the bunch...and a couple negative publicities can lead to mass confusion and distrust!

Posted: 28 May 2009 01:40 Post Subject:

What some agents don't realize is that there are production levels that have to be made in order to get the IMO contracts. These are huge levels that no one agent could possibly do. So, needless to say, I have to meet certain criteria to sustain these contracts. It takes many agents to meet this. Now, because I am able to get these contracts, I can give good contracts. I give GA contracts out like candy. MGA contracts are at my disposal to give and I give those quite frequently too. I'm not in this to make a killing off one agent. I'm like Wal-mart, I deal in volume. That way, the agents reap the benefits...after all, they are the ones selling!!
Most of my contracts are given out at a simple 5% overwrite. That's just one level down from me in most cases.
I guess because of what I do and the way I do it (not screwing the agent), I take it a little to heart when someone bashes me without merit. Stating the exact opposite of what I do and who I am.
I still suspect that those two negative posts about me where from competitors. They (just like me) are all over these boards.
If it is competitors, the only reason they would do it because I have a tendency to let agents know what they should be getting. I'm ratting the greedy ones out you see.
I do have to agree that there are some shady ones out there, and how they remain in business is preying on the unsuspecting, usually green, agents. They come to me once they've seen the light! Then they get really surprised when I start raising some of their contracts by as much as 20% and more.
Thanks for letting me rant a bit. I tend to get excited when exposing greed!

Posted: 28 May 2009 05:51 Post Subject:

However, as with any other industry, a few bad apples can spoil the bunch

You are absolutely right Chris. But its unavoidable as well. Negative practices are also a part of the system. You only have to carefully choose the right option.

Posted: 01 Jun 2009 03:43 Post Subject:

Many negative practices are the result of sheer laziness and greed. I read a story about an agent who was pushing expensive policies and products (didn't really have specifics) to people within his community. He admitted that it got to where he didn't even want to go to the grocery store because he was afraid he'd run into a disgruntled client.

Did he make good money? He says he did...but what kind of quality of life is there if you're afraid to go out in your community. Not to mention the difficulty sleeping at night!

There are many shortcuts that agents can take, and many people to take advantage of. I'm simply not willing to do that just to be "successful." My definition of success must be totally different than those agents. If you do the right thing for the right person, you never have to apologize for your actions!

Posted: 02 Jun 2009 08:52 Post Subject:

I was wondering how much he has hurt the community.

He get people in buying the wrong products that wouldn't be useful for them. Just think how many people might have bought wrong and expensive coverage from him.

I think that though he might have benefited from this practice businesses would eventually stop coming to him and he would be left with to find alternate ways to cheat people.


Posted: 18 Jun 2009 04:24 Post Subject:

I think its mostly depends on his work.

Posted: 18 Jun 2009 09:26 Post Subject:

I think its mostly depends on his work.

Not sure what you have meant by this. May be you would explain it more.

Posted: 21 Jun 2009 12:17 Post Subject:

It's amazing if you think about the impact that one person can have on their community, for better or worse! Think of all the people that were this agent's clients...Do you think they will ever trust another insurance agent? Maybe...but it will be incredibly hard to build that trust with them.

It should be the goal of each of us to be a trusted advisor and to become so with integrity and honesty! After all, if we each treated our clients as we would our family many clients would be in different products. I've personally walked out of a client's house and advised them against going with any of my products.

The fact of the matter is that there are strengths and weaknesses to each company...

If I emphasize the strengths...and downplay the weaknesses...

THIS IS DISHONEST, UNETHICAL, and happens constantly in many sales industries!

Posted: 27 Jun 2009 01:57 Post Subject: Insurance agents/brokers

I work for a very big private transportation firm. We do work all over NYC, NJ, CT, Long island, Up state New York too.

And because our business is 100 percent owner operated each driver has to get his own insurance with the premium being like 1.5 million to 2 million to cover each passenger.

And now, I am interested in being an insurance broker, I like the idea of being on my own, working and being a professional in the field. I do not fear being rejected. And I am not interested in selling life insurance. I can do it if needed, but thats not my focus.

Anyway, our office is right next door to an insurance office, who maintains about 75 percent of the drivers insurance. They are an insurance broker. And they don't even speak very good english. But they make great money. I know this because ive known them for years. And I never thought about doing what they did.

But one thing for sure in regards to sales and customer service I surpass these people beyond a resonable doubt. Even my dad bought insurace from there.

Now these drivers are not your regular nyc drivers, they pay top dollar for insurance. Some drivers pay up to 10,000 a year for full coverage.

Now if I was an independant broker, I know I can gain more than half of their clientel. If I had a little office with a fax machine and a PC I know for a fact I can take their business. They are really bad when it comes to customer service.

Now this is where I ask you guys the pros for help. Because I have yet to get a license. I read on state farms website that they help people become agents, but I don't know if I would have to only work for them ? I really want to do this. I am so hyped. Please let me know and what you think I need to do in order to be a licensed broker. I know you have to take a course in NY state and take a pre exam and then a real exam.

Give me a break down, much appreciated guys. I respect everyone here and wish everyone best of luck.

Posted: 20 Aug 2009 06:46 Post Subject:

My boyfriend of three years has began a career of being an independent health/life insurance salesman. He truly is bright and i have alot of faith in him. I do, however, have doubts about the career choice itself. I'm well aware that there are many different factors to determine the success rate of being a salesman, but wonder if ultimately its a profitable and worthwhile adventure. He also has spoken about myself getting certified and starting off by being his "secretary" but urged my license in selling because i could recieve commissions. Just curious how successful we really could be?

Posted: 20 Aug 2009 09:05 Post Subject:

Hi dased and confused..

See, the insurance industry is surely the biggest financial industry, and you could rest assured that being a part of it you could have a lot of opportunities coming your way!

Just curious how successful we really could be?

Now, you haven't mentioned anything about his past experiences as a salesman. Neither have you mentioned anything about your career choice. Based on your qualifications (and also past experiences if any) you'll need to decide whether you'd like to join this field.

Also, you shouldn't forget that the sales profession is about achieving figures and you shouldn't fall short of it. Keep me fed of your likings, once you've given it a thought. Steven

Posted: 23 Sep 2009 11:56 Post Subject: Insurance Recruiting Contracts

Ok so I am a independent agent and have been working with a group for the past year. I have been doing interviews to bring fresh new talent into this industry as I make a profit from there production. Upon interviewing some licensed agents I was asked if I had a recruiting contract with any companies? I was then informed that those types of contracts can yield you 100% + on sales. I would like to offer my current agents a higher commission but cant because I am maxed out myself. Of course I would not mind more commission myself but raising my current agents commission now would only help retain more agents for the long run. Is there such a thing as a recruiting contract? And what are the pros and cons? Thanks for all your help everyone!

Posted: 26 Sep 2009 02:22 Post Subject:

I earn $40-50 k per month.

But I work 60 hours a week.

Posted: 30 Sep 2009 07:49 Post Subject: Peak this

How much does an insurance agent makes that is just starting off

Posted: 07 Oct 2009 10:28 Post Subject:


Posted: 08 Oct 2009 05:39 Post Subject:

If you're a customer service rep your salary is supposed to range between $21k-$37k. If you're an office manager it would range between $49k-$53k. The more experience you have higher would be your pay.

Posted: 24 Oct 2009 02:40 Post Subject: Property and Casualty Agents in Florida

I am considering getting this license. Will I be able to find a job now? Are these jobs commission only?

Posted: 24 Oct 2009 08:35 Post Subject:

Will I be able to find a job now?

You'd need to pursue a course and then sit for the tests. There are 2 kinds of agents- one who'd work under a carrier as a captive agent and the other who'd work independently.

Posted: 05 Dec 2009 09:50 Post Subject: potiential

worked for insurance carrier, as a captive agent left the full time in end of 2005 making 105 K . I left the full time position due to personal family matters. I have recently accepted a position for a new Insurance Agency and have added the P & C with commercial licence to my exsisting general lines life and health. I have been an insurance agent since 2003. I worked hard and was greatly rewarded. My new employer has just opened the doors for business. He is wanting for me to get paid as a csr and work as a full time insuance agent for 25k a year. What license does a csr have to obtain and what are the duties. Confused in texas.

Posted: 16 Dec 2009 04:30 Post Subject: how much is insurance

how much do we the people pay for other people 2 have insurance that can not afford the bill? i need 2 know 4 a school assimant

Posted: 27 Dec 2009 01:17 Post Subject: Leads

Do most people that just got their license get leads and from where? I am just starting out and need some help. I have a 215 health, life and annuity license in Florida.

Posted: 18 Jan 2010 10:42 Post Subject: renewals

What should a p&c independent contractor make on renewals from their company? (75%, 50%,?)

Posted: 19 Jan 2010 02:21 Post Subject:

Usually the same as the FYC (first year commissions) or c. 5% less.

Posted: 01 Feb 2010 01:25 Post Subject:

The truthful answer to this question is not nearly as much as many would have you believe.

Posted: 09 Feb 2010 02:02 Post Subject: no experience

what if you have no experience? For example, I have a friend and she is about 20 years of age and she told me she is making 1500 dollars a week, she has no experience and no education but a GED. I have a double masters and I'm not making that kind of money. Is she being honest? Please reply with an answer on :oops:

Posted: 09 Feb 2010 06:49 Post Subject:

Hello Rick, I'm sure that most of the "old-timers" on here will agree with me on this:

With our minds out of the proverbial gutter, it depends on who she's working for. For example, if she's working for Primerica, she isn't making that much money and literally hasn't a hope in hell of ever making that much money, but she's been thoroughly brainwashed and therefore believes she will - some day.

There are a number of other "cultish" companies out there who subject their agents to a type of "mental overload" sometimes as often as two or three times a week. Someone with a double Masters, like you, usually has a much firmer grip on reality than others who are, we'll say, "less sophisticated."

On the other hand, Bill Gates was a college who really knows?

Posted: 19 Feb 2010 04:14 Post Subject:

As with all commission based jobs, I think insurance agents pay depends on how hard the agent works. The harder an agent works, the better he is paid.

(link removed by moderator lori--Shane, welcome to the community...please read and adher to our TOU, after you have posted the required number of 'qualifying' posts you can add your link to your SIGNATURE...but NEVER EVER in a post..any questions feel free to contact me directly)

Posted: 05 Mar 2010 08:05 Post Subject:

I already own a business and wish to become a property and casualty agent..I love being independent but really enjoy have a steady income. Which would be more profitable Independent or become a broker for another company? Also, after the education and licensing procedure what would be my next step?

Posted: 03 Apr 2010 08:13 Post Subject: Pennsylvania Life Insurance

Is Pennsylvania Life Insurance a captive or independant agency? Do you know what there usual commission structure is?

Posted: 20 Apr 2010 02:46 Post Subject:

what type of school do you need to be an insurance agent?

Posted: 20 Apr 2010 02:50 Post Subject:

You need to attend a school that has been appointed by your state insurance department to train you as an agent. Once you complete the required in-school hours, then you take a state exam.

Posted: 28 Apr 2010 11:21 Post Subject:

You need to attend a school that has been appointed by your state insurance department to train you as an agent. Once you complete the required in-school hours, then you take a state exam.

Not all states require insurance prelicensing education, but all states require that you pass an examination. There are roughly a dozen states that don't require any prelicense education in order to get a license. Other states allow you to test prior to taking the education, but you'll have to prove that you met the educational requirement prior to issuance of a license.

To get specific, we need the state.

InsTeacher 8)

Posted: 05 May 2010 01:07 Post Subject:

how much commission do agents pay their producers

Posted: 08 May 2010 12:46 Post Subject:

how much commission do agents pay their producers

Did you mean how much do insurers pay their agents/producers?

Depends on the product and the producer. Life insurance, with commissions and bonuses, can pay more than 100% of the first year premium as first year compensation. May or may not pay renewal commissions in subsequent years.

Disability/Health insurance is around 20-25% first year, and pays renewal commissions in subsequent years.

Property & Casualty varies with the product, auto, home, business, commercial, etc. Figure between 15% and 25% first year, with renewal commissions.

If you really did mean how much do agencies pay their producers, the answer is often somewhere between 50-75% of the agency commission (which might not include bonuses or incentives), depending on experience and how much the agency needs to support a producer's activities. One might have to pay a "desk fee" or for leads, both subtracted from one's commissions.

Posted: 09 May 2010 11:42 Post Subject: hours?

What kind of hours does an insurance agent work? Im looking for a desk job in CS perhaps. Does this require weekends? Im tired of working Saturday and Sunday!

Posted: 09 May 2010 02:01 Post Subject:

Well, perhaps the insurance industry is not the best choice for you. Because our industry is customer-focused, we agents tend to work every day of the week, as needed. That's not to say that we work 168 hours a week, and some of us only put in 20-30 hours across those seven days.

But most agents, especially those of us who are interested in writing new business, will do appointments during the day, at night, on the weekends, what ever is most convenient for our clients. I've met with clients at 3:00am because it fits their schedule best, and I have driven over 100 miles one-way to meet with a client. Why not? It's not about me, it's about them.

If you're looking for a desk job, Mon-Fri, in an insurance agency not open on the weekend, I'm sure you'll eventually find one. Just don't expect to be highly compensated.

Posted: 09 May 2010 02:10 Post Subject:

Yeah, well I'm still new at this. Perhaps I shouldn't have siad agent. And yeah, looking for a desk job. My family owns and runs an insurance office, unfortunately with the economy they can't afford another person. And you're right being an independent isn't right for me. With a baby on the way I probly couldn't afford the long hours right now.

I'm just wondering what it takes to get an entry level cs job. I'd still feel like I would be helping people with important matters. :) thanks for the reply.

Posted: 13 May 2010 10:19 Post Subject: Buying an agency

How much could I expect to pay for an insurance agency that has been in business for over 40 years at the same location with about a 3000 book of business. Is there an industry standard of what the company would be worth

Posted: 01 Jun 2010 10:36 Post Subject:

I hope there are a couple of other factors that must be taken into consideration while deciding about an agency. Merely being in business for 40 years doesn't count. You should also consider factors like the latest achievements, competitors, nature of products etc.

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 01:42 Post Subject: ways of increasing insurance penetration

help me with some ways

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