An insurance agent needs:
- good communication skills
- an aptitude for working with numbers and calculations
- a high level of perseverance and motivation
- good interpersonal skills.
Most insurance agents in Western Australia work in offices in the Perth metropolitan region, though there are work opportunities throughout the State. They typically spend long periods on the phone, attracting new clients and maintaining relationships with existing clients. Some travel to client's homes or workplaces may also be required. Some insurance agents may sell policies to clients in a particular industry, so may have to regularly visit industrial sites. For example, selling agricultural insurance may require farm visits.
On average, insurance agents can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an insurance agent develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Insurance agents use standard office equipment, such as computers, telephones, printers and fax machines. They may also use calculators and/or computer programs to compare the costs and pay-outs of different insurance policies as well as the premiums clients will have to pay. They may also need a driver's licence so that they can travel to clients' homes or workplaces.
You can work as an insurance agent without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in insurance or financial services.
The Certificate III in Financial Services is offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can complete a traineeship. The insurance clerk and insurance officer (general) traineeships usually take 12 to 18 months to complete. The insurance clerk traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
You may need to hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence to work in this field. Contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.