Salary, Wages, Pay: Insurance Sales Agents
The median annual earnings of wage and salary insurance sales agents were $40,750 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,860 and $64,450. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of $21,730 or less, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,460. Median annual earnings in 2002 in the two industries employing the largest number of insurance sales agents were $40,480 for insurance agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities and $42,130 for insurance carriers.
Many independent agents are paid by commission only, whereas sales workers who are employees of an agency or an insurance carrier may be paid in one of three ways: salary only, salary plus commission, or salary plus bonus. In general, commissions are the most common form of compensation, especially for experienced agents. The amount of the commission depends on the type and amount of insurance sold and on whether the transaction is a new policy or a renewal. Bonuses usually are awarded when agents meet their sales goals or when an agency meets its profit goals. Some agents involved with financial planning receive a fee for their services, rather than a commission.
Company-paid benefits to insurance sales agents usually include continuing education, training to qualify for licensing, group insurance plans, office space, and clerical support services. Some companies also may pay for automobile and transportation expenses, attendance at conventions and meetings, promotion and marketing expenses, and retirement plans. Independent agents working for insurance agencies receive fewer benefits, but their commissions may be higher to help them pay for marketing and other expenses.