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Life Health > Running Your Business

Life Insurance Agency Owners and Corporate Staff Jobs

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What You Need to Know

  • U.S. life and health insurers employ about 910,000 people.
  • Unemployment in the insurance sector is 2.1%.
  • In the third quarter, about 68% of U.S. insurers said they planned to add staff.

If you’ve been maintaining your own local life insurance agency for a number of years, but find yourself wondering what it’s like on the other side of the insurance industry, here is some information and tips to get you started down the path of considering a corporate staff job.

1. Opportunities abound.

As you likely know, life insurance remains big business.

A total of $1.4 trillion of U.S. insurance industry net premiums were written in 2021.

Life and annuity insurers accounted for 47% of that, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The life insurance industry also continues to be a huge employer.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that the U.S. insurance workforce alone is larger than 2.8 million employees, and 1.6 million of them work for insurance companies ― including more than 910,000 in life and health insurance.

A number of varying roles are available for your consideration.

2. The timing is good.

According to The Jacobson Group and Ward’s Insurance Labor Market Study for the third quarter, unemployment in the insurance industry is only about half the national average — about 2.1% — and 68% of companies plan to increase staff in the next 12 months.

Medium-sized insurers are even more aggressive, with 80% saying they plan to add staff.

Turnover has historically been around 8% to 9% but now, like many industries, insurance is facing a voluntary turnover increase, with annualized rates around 12% to 15%.

Areas like technology, underwriting and claims are some of the top jobs in demand.

3. Leverage your experience to help other agency owners.

Many larger insurance companies have field territory managers or territory sales roles, which may be ideal for someone who has owned their own agency and been on the other side of the table:

  • Farmers Insurance offers significant benefits and career development resources to help those who want to move from an agency role into the territory management responsibility. In a role like this, you can leverage your agency experience to help other agencies realize their premium and profit goals, help with training, educate on products and services, and more.

    To qualify for these roles, show your strong performance as an agency owner yourself, how you drove a profitable business, and how you can utilize your influencing, networking and interpersonal skills to help others like you.

    To get started you can take a look at their “EVP Playbook” to understand what resources are available.

    Join their talent network to learn more.

  • Nationwide territory sales roles are similar. You can leverage your sales skills to help agency owners activate on key sales initiatives, and you can drive national incentive offers.

    In a role like this, you will also help conduct annual planning for the agencies in your territory, and work with the corporate office to provide feedback and input around programs, plans and pricing.

    If you have the skills to be considered for these roles, share how you drove sales in your local agency, have concrete evidence of how you grew your book of business, and how you will help others grow those skills as well.

  • Most insurance agencies will want to see your qualifications, such as a Charted Life Underwriter professional designation or insurance license.

    Make sure to highlight that in your resume and application/cover letter.It will show a deeper command of the industry, and that you take the profession seriously.

4. Consider alternative roles.

Agency owners have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of the life insurance business, where trends are going, and how life insurance companies may need to evolve to meet the demands of today’s consumers.

Allianz, consistently rated as one of top companies to work for, offers something perfect for this skill set.

They employ “internal consulting” roles where if you have “already gained significant work experience in the operational insurance business,” you can work to help shape the organization broadly and leverage your experience to help the firm with sales initiatives, pricing, premiums, analysis and more.

Additionally, you may want to consider roles in pricing, human resources, or even claims given your experience managing teams, resolving issues and more.

Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to speak to your varied experience.

5. You don’t even need to “go corporate”: Consider a startup.

There are some great, interesting start-ups like Lemonade that have entered the market over the last number of years, all designed to bring the self-service world of apps and one-click applications to the life insurance industry.

if you are creative and technically skilled, and have ideas on how the industry can grow, reach out to these organizations to learn more, share your experience on what worked and what didn’t, and help new entrants blaze a new trail.

Agency owners have a lot to offer the insurance industry.

Leverage your experience, explore a variety of options, and keep searching until you find the right fit.

Chances are, in an industry as significant and diverse as insurance, it’s out there for you.

Jesse MeschukJesse Meschuk is a career and human resources expert, and a senior advisor, with Exequity, a compensation consulting firm.





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