Career and Education Opportunities for Insurance Agents in Columbia, South Carolina
If you want to be an insurance agent, the Columbia, South Carolina area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 6,140 people are currently employed as insurance agents in South Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow 12% to about 6,850 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for insurance agents are expected to grow by about 11.9%. Insurance agents generally sell life, property, or other types of insurance.
The income of an insurance agent is about $16 per hour or $34,570 per year on average in South Carolina. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $45,430 yearly on average. Insurance agents earn less than people working in the category of Sales and Clerical generally in South Carolina and more than people in the Sales and Clerical category nationally.
There are twenty schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as an insurance agent. The most common level of education for insurance agents is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be an insurance agent if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Insurance Agent
In general, insurance agents sell life, property, or other types of insurance. They also may refer clients to independent brokers, work as independent broker, or be employed by an insurance company.
Insurance agents attend meetings, seminars and programs to learn about new products and services, learn new skills, and receive technical assistance in developing new accounts. They also sell various types of insurance policies to businesses and individuals on behalf of insurance companies. Equally important, insurance agents have to explain features, advantages and disadvantages of various policies to advance sale of insurance plans. They are often called upon to interview prospective clients to obtain data about their financial resources and needs, the physical state of the person or property to be insured, and to consider any existing coverage. They are expected to call on policyholders to deliver and explain policies, to analyze insurance programs and suggest additions or changes. Finally, insurance agents insure that policy requirements are fulfilled, including any needed medical examinations and the completion of appropriate forms.
Every day, insurance agents are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.
It is important for insurance agents to perform administrative tasks. They are often called upon to design marketing strategies to compete with other individuals or companies who sell insurance. They also customize insurance programs to suit individual clients, often covering a variety of risks. They are sometimes expected to monitor insurance claims to insure they are settled equitably for both the client and the insurer. Somewhat less frequently, insurance agents are also expected to attend meetings, seminars and programs to learn about new products and services, learn new skills, and receive technical assistance in developing new accounts.
Insurance agents sometimes are asked to explain needed bookkeeping requirements for customer to execute and furnish group insurance program. And finally, they sometimes have to insure that policy requirements are fulfilled, including any needed medical examinations and the completion of appropriate forms.
Like many other jobs, insurance agents must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:
- Advertising Agent. Sell or solicit advertising, including graphic art, advertising space in publications, custom made signs, or TV and radio advertising time. May obtain leases for outdoor advertising sites or persuade retailer to use sales promotion display items.
- Cage Cashier. Exchange coins and tokens for patrons' money. May issue payoffs and obtain customer's signature on receipt when winnings exceed the amount held in the slot machine. May operate a booth in the slot machine area and furnish change persons with money bank at the start of the shift, or count and audit money in drawers.
- Cashier. Receive and disburse money in establishments other than financial institutions. Usually involves use of electronic scanners, cash registers, or related equipment. Often involved in processing credit or debit card transactions and validating checks.
- Product Demonstrator. Demonstrate merchandise and answer questions for the purpose of creating public interest in buying the product. May sell demonstrated merchandise.
- Real Estate Agent. Rent, buy, or sell property for clients. Perform duties, such as study property listings, interview prospective clients, accompany clients to property site, discuss conditions of sale, and draw up real estate contracts. Includes agents who represent buyer.
- Retail Sales Manager. Directly supervise sales workers in a retail establishment or department. Duties may include management functions, such as purchasing, budgeting, and personnel work, in addition to supervisory duties.
- Retail Salesman. Sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, or apparel in a retail establishment.
- Telemarketer. Solicit orders for goods or services over the telephone.
- Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative. Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Insurance Agent Training
University of South Carolina-Columbia - Columbia, SC
University of South Carolina-Columbia, , Columbia, SC 29208. University of South Carolina-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,500 students and an admission rate of 59%. University of South Carolina-Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Insurance which graduated three students in 2008.
Accredited Adviser in Insurance: The Accredited Adviser in Insurance program gives you the tools you need to establish a clear professional advantage in the marketplace and fulfill your commitment to customer service.
For more information, see the American Institute for CPCU and Insurance Institute of America website.
Associate in Insurance Services: The Associate in Insurance Services program is a nationally recognized educational program designed specifically for insurance personnel.
Certified Pension Consultant: The Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) credential is designed for benefits professionals working in plan administration, pension actuarial administration, insurance, and financial planning.
For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.
Board Certified Estate Planner: Board Certified in Estate Planning (BCE) is the only designation designed and offered to brokers, advisors, and planners who have clients interested in estate accumulation, preservation, and distribution.
For more information, see the Institute of Certified Fund Specialists website.
Certified Sales Professional: The Certified Sales Professional (CSP) program gives a thorough understanding of consultative selling.
For more information, see the Manufacturers Representatives Educational Research Foundation website.
Certified Salesperson: The SMEI Certified Professional Salesperson program is ideal for professionals who are employed as a sales representatives, account managers, distributor representatives and business development personnel.
For more information, see the Sales & Marketing Executives International website.
Licensing agency: S.C. Department of Insurance
Address: 300 Arbor Lake Drive, Suite 1200, P. O. Box 100105, Columbia, SC 29202
Phone: (803) 737-6095
Website: S.C. Department of Insurance
LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.
The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.