As a captive agent I was always chasing sales contests and bonuses. Don’t misunderstand me. Like any self-employed individual, I am in business to earn a profit. I love what I do and get the warm fuzzies when I am able to help someone but the electric company does not take warm fuzzies. If I want the lights to stay on in my house I have to pay them cash. The same goes for the grocery store, car payments and oh yes, health insurance. They all want money.
Every adult knows it takes money to operate in our economy. Too bad teenagers often don’t understand that simple fact.
Most insurance agents are commission sales people. We don’t get paid unless we make a sale. Doctors, lawyers and accountants are all paid by the hour for their unique knowledge and skills. Insurance agents are trained in a very specific and complex discipline.
While not doctors, we deal with medical issues daily. We are not lawyers but we have to be intimate with some areas of the law. Although we are not accountants, hardly a week goes by when we are not asked about tax implications.
Still, although we have to be conversant in all these areas while perfecting our knowledge of the policies we represent, in most states, we have to have an additional license before it is legal for us to charge people for our services.
Here in Texas, where I live, before I, as an insurance agent, am allowed to charge a fee for my services like a lawyer or accountant does, I have to have an additional Insurance Counselor’s license. That requires similar education as a CPA but and additional 20 years experience as an insurance agent.
Fortunately, for me, I have all the requirements and can be numbered amoung those who have the Insurance Counselor’s license. Unfortunately, there are less than 1000 of us in the entire state of Texas. That means that most insurance agents have to give away their knowledge for free and hope that the person they are advising buys their product. If not, they do not have any legal recourse.
A major irritant for me, before I qualified to be an Insurance Counselor, was people who would listen to my advice and then purchase the exact same product from a friend or relative. I could not understand why I would study so hard to learn to be a professional just to be treated as a sales person. It just did and does not feel right.
Perfectly good insurance agents are not able to earn the income they deserve except by sales commissions. They are indeed professionals in their field but are, in many eyes, nothing more than a sales person.
Often their companies take them for granted. I find humor in Scott Adams comic strip, “Dilbert” for October 19. If this has happened to you, I appreciate you as a professional even if your company is treating you as a mere sales person.