The Inside Scoop: Is Life Insurance a Good Career Path?

Written by Matthew King, time it takes to read this article is  minute(s).

Some industries have the drawback of undulating consumer demand. To clarify, there might only be certain times of the year when a particular industry is popular.

The insurance industry is not one of them. People purchase insurance coverage every day, which is why there are over 445,000 insurance sales agents in the US. Many people focus on selling life insurance when breaking into the industry.

Wondering “Is life insurance a good career path?” We’ve compiled key information into a guide that can help you get started. Let’s explore the most important details you should know.

How Does Life Insurance Work?

Life insurance might seem complicated at first, but it’s simple in practice. A life insurance policy is an agreement between an insurance company and a policyholder. When the insured person passes away, the insurance company will pay a certain amount of money to the beneficiary.

There are certain nuances to stay aware of, such as the type of life insurance coverage you have. There are two primary forms of coverage:

  • Permanent life insurance
  • Term life insurance

Permanent life insurance coverage requires monthly payments until they pass away. On the other hand, term life insurance coverage requires payments for a specified period.

The way a beneficiary receives payouts will depend on their policy.

It’s not uncommon for beneficiaries to get monthly installment payments after the insured individual passes. Others could receive a lump sum instead.

People who purchase life insurance should consider certain factors, such as the amount of coverage they need. They should also assess their monthly premiums and the length of their coverage.

It’s important to note that life insurance doesn’t cover all scenarios that lead to death. For instance, an insurance company might not provide a payout for someone who engages in substance abuse or risky behavior.

Salary in the Life Insurance Industry

As of May 2022, the average insurance sales agent in the US makes just under $58,000 per year. While this includes agents of all types, life insurance income can vary widely.

This depends on your level of experience, whether you work for yourself, and your qualifications. The good news is that there’s no income ceiling in the life insurance industry.

As you become more proficient at your role, you can make exponentially more than the national average. This is especially true for people who decide to open their own firm.

Career Opportunities

Many people overlook the different pathways available to someone who works in the life insurance industry. You don’t always have to stay in sales. Let’s look at the ways your career can progress.

Financial Analyst

This role involves assessing a life insurance company’s projects. You’ll be in charge of helping them make responsible financial decisions.

You’ll have the best chance of landing this role if you have a business or finance degree. However, it’s possible to laterally shift from another position in the life insurance industry.

Insurance Actuary

Life insurance actuaries assess risk and determine price policies. They’re essential for achieving maximum profitability. Secondary roles include advising on capital balancing and regulatory compliance.

This position requires a strong foundation of mathematics knowledge. If you aren’t good with numbers, it’s not the right option for you.

Life Insurance Broker

Unlike career insurance agents, brokers represent buyers instead of insurance providers. This means they aren’t bound by the conventional rules that providers set.

Their primary job is to help buyers find the best coverage for their needs. Those who enjoy working with other people will likely find this job satisfying.

Insurance Investigator

As the name implies, insurance investigators look for evidence of insurance fraud. Most life insurance claims will need to be investigated, but some need more attention than others. An insurance investigator will conduct a comprehensive analysis of suspicious incidents to see if fraud occurred.

Customer Service Representative

These professionals handle client concerns like complaints and questions. Their job is to make the client’s experience as pleasant as possible. They’ll ensure clients fully understand their coverage options and the agreements they’ll sign.

Claims Adjuster

People with life insurance coverage work with claims adjusters to receive the proper benefits. The adjuster will assess their situation and determine the best course of action.

This is a key position at an insurance agency, and it plays a large role in the company’s success.

Risk Manager

Insurance providers hire risk managers to mitigate their financial risk. This comes in the form of implementing more efficient processes. It can also involve reconfiguring strategies that don’t work.


It’s an underwriter’s job to determine if a candidate qualifies for life insurance coverage. They aim to strike a balance between eligibility and profitability.

To clarify, an underwriter could tell a potential client they don’t qualify for certain policies but could take advantage of alternative options.

Life Insurance Industry Challenges

Although working in life insurance can be lucrative, it’s not without its challenges. Understanding these will help you overcome them as you progress in your career. Listed below are some of the most notable.

Inconsistent Income

During the early stages of working in life insurance, you might find that your income is inconsistent. This is especially true for people who open their own agency instead of working for existing firms.

If you work for yourself, you’re in charge of every dollar you make. Without a strong clientele base, it can be difficult to make ends meet. When you work for another company, your income will also largely depend on your performance.

You can’t expect to get enormous commission payments when you first start. It’s important to push through this period of uncertainty. Otherwise, you’ll never reach your full potential.

High Pressure

Working in life insurance can be stressful at first. You’ll be learning the nuances of the industry and getting accustomed to the lifestyle.

It’s imperative to properly manage the stress you experience. Otherwise, you risk burning out.

A life insurance sales role is best for people who love fast-paced work environments. It’s also great for people who are self-motivated and strive to consistently improve.


It’s no secret that the insurance industry isn’t glamorous. You’ll spend much of your time reviewing documents, communicating with clients, and reporting to your superiors (if you have them).

This can easily become monotonous and make it difficult to stay engaged. To accommodate this issue, try your best to remain focused on your long-term goals. This will ensure you keep your momentum and continue progressing in your career.

Difficulty Finding Leads

As previously mentioned, the early stages of your career can be hard to handle. In many cases, you’ll be responsible for acquiring leads.

This is true unless you work for a business that provides a list of leads. If you’re left to find leads on your own, you may have trouble getting enough to make your career sustainable. You’ll also face frequent rejections, as you’ll need to send cold emails or make cold calls.

Is Life Insurance a Good Career Path?

As long as you understand what the industry requires of you, life insurance can be an amazing career path. There are branching career opportunities that come with amazing income potential. You even have the opportunity to work for yourself in certain circumstances.

All of this is backed up by an industry that’s here to stay. People will always need life insurance, and you’ll find it easier to make money as your career progresses.

First Steps to Take

When starting, it’s important to hit the ground running. Be prepared to give your career your undivided attention. It’ll take countless hours and plenty of mental energy to break through the initial barriers you face.

To make this situation more manageable, prioritize life insurance training. This will equip you with a skill set that allows you to thrive in the industry.

When looking for a training provider, research their past reputation. It’s essential to see what other people have to say about the results they got.

What information do the courses contain? Ensure the information is relevant and is something that will help you on your career path.

Prioritize training providers that offer ongoing support. It can be difficult to deal with issues on your own.

Explore the training’s cost before making your decision. You often get what you pay for, and it’s not recommended to choose the cheapest providers. With enough due diligence, you’ll find the best solution for your needs.

Best Practices

Succeeding in the life insurance industry requires a set of best practices. The good news is these are easier to implement and maintain than most people anticipate. Let’s look at them further.

Provide Stellar Customer Service

Providing stellar customer service should always be your main priority. It plays a direct role in how far you take your success. In practice, this involves going above and beyond for each client you deal with.

You should be easy to get in touch with and always willing to help clients overcome issues. Dealing with clients can sometimes be irritating, but you should remain level-headed.

Always speak to them in a calm, collected manner. Developing a reputation for being rude or hotheaded can easily derail your career.

Communicate Effectively

Communication is by far the most valuable skill life insurance professionals have. This allows them to fluidly converse with other parties and convey important details.

For instance, let’s assume you’re selling a life insurance policy to an elderly couple. You’ll need to illustrate the policy’s major attributes in a way they can understand.

You should also avoid neglecting key information. When people find out certain info at a later time, they might feel deceived. This could cause them to choose a competitor instead.

Networking Is Key

Your career’s progression will heavily depend on who you know. Go out of your way to network with other professionals regularly. A great way to do so is by attending industry events.

These are prime locations to meet like-minded individuals who can help your career advance. You should also stay in touch with people you meet.

Networking with them once and getting their contact info won’t always lead to opportunities. Reach out to them occasionally to ask how things have been going for them.

The last thing you want is to contact someone you haven’t spoken to in a year and ask for advice, info on leads, etc.

Manage Your Time Appropriately

Time is the most valuable resource for any life insurance professional. There are only so many hours in the day, and you must use them appropriately. When you aren’t working, allocate time to improving your skill set.

This could involve listening to podcasts, reading books, or researching industry information. While this might not seem impactful at first, it goes a long way toward honing your abilities. To better manage your time, eliminate habits that don’t provide a payoff for what you invest.

For instance, somebody might be an avid gamer who spends hours on end playing on their computer. This type of behavior will need to change if you want to succeed.

Stay Motivated

Do what you can to stay motivated. This will help you grind through difficult times and take your career to new heights. Motivation comes in many forms, and the best option for you will differ from those of your colleagues.

Many people find that tracking their progress helps them stay motivated. When you look back on how far you’ve come, you’ll feel an urge to keep moving forward.

Get Started ASAP

If you’ve decided that life insurance is for you, it’s best to start as soon as possible. This will allow you to quickly make progress and develop further as a professional. Consider the answer to “Is life insurance a good career path” so you can make the best decision for your needs.

InsuranceSales101 has a variety of resources for aspiring insurance agents. We also offer life insurance training programs to help people learn the nuances of the industry. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you jumpstart your career down this path.

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