The Need for Insurance Continuing Education

Continuing education for insurance is very important for agents, brokers, underwriters and other insurance professionals. This is because it helps them upgrade their existing knowledge levels about the different insurance products in the market place. At the same time it helps them enhance the selling skills so that they are able to generate greater sales. There are many online training courses and certificate courses that you can choose to enroll to upgrade your skills and knowledge.

There is no nationwide accreditation for insurance agents as the rules and guidelines that govern the insurance industry are different from one state to another. Continuing education for insurance is important as it enables you to review your performance periodically and at the same time polish your skills and keep up with the latest trends in the industry. You will also learn about the latest policies and regulations introduced in the insurance industry. There are many companies and training organizations that provide continuing education for insurance online. There are plenty of courses that you can choose from and it is also a cost effective way of improving your knowledge and skills.

Online continuing education is very popular with full time insurance professionals. This is because it helps them to save a lot of time and money which they can invest in meeting more new clients for generating new business. Online programs include courses on life and health insurance, property insurance, vehicle insurance, risk management, ethics and other related courses. All online classes are designed as per the credit requirements of the State Department of Insurance.

Organizations providing online continuing education courses offer course materials that you can study at your convenience. There are no hidden charges and the fees structure is very transparent. Once you complete the online course there will be an online test that you will have to clear. On successful completion of the test you will be given a course completion certification.

There are many multinational companies, brokerage houses, insurance agencies, insurance companies and insurance agents make use of continuing education to not only enhance their knowledge levels but also improve their selling skills to ensure high quality sales. Let us take the example of life insurance to understand how selling skills play an important role in an insurance agent’s life.

Life insurance is a very complex subject with a wide range of policies, conditions, terms and regulations and laws that govern it. These laws and regulations are subject to periodical changes and can vary from one state to another. This means that you need highly skilled and professional sales people who can promote and sell insurance products by using innovative sales and marketing techniques.

Continuing education for insurance is very important even for employees working in an insurance office. This is because as an insurance employee you should be in a position to handle insurance related queries effectively. It is only possible when you upgrade your skills and knowledge levels. Finally, if you are a insurance agent, broker or an underwriter, it is important that you enroll into a continuing education for insurance online as it can open up a new world of opportunities for you.

The Need for Insurance Producer’s Continuing Education

Education is considered the backbone of the insurance and financial industries. Agents, brokers, and producers all need to be knowledgeable in their products, services, and industry trends. Many times they are solely responsible for the decisions their clients make. Their clients rely on their information and knowledge to do what’s best for themselves and their families. Continuing education is meant to keep brokers and agents up to date on the latest industry information, any new laws and regulations, and any new products available to their clients. It is a highly regulated industry and education is very important to the State Department of Insurance and Financial Regulations.

Every state requires a different amount of continuing education credits. Some ask their agents to complete a certain amount of credits every year, while others require every two years. Please check with your state or an approved insurance education provider for more details. An approved provider can let you know when your education is due and what classes to take. Make sure to complete all of your insurance continuing education courses by your compliance period to avoid any state fines. Continuing education is required by state law, but it really does benefit the agent’s completing it. They learn a lot in the courses they take which allows them to sell more policies to their clients. The more they sell the more money they make.

Continuing education can be completed a couple different formats. An agent can choose to do it online or in a classroom. Online education covers courses such as: ethics, annuities, and long term care. Each state requires an agent to take specific courses depending on which license they hold. For instance, California requires anyone selling Long Term Care to take at least eight hours every two years. This is common in most states. Another common course is ethics. It is very important insurance professionals act ethical to their clients and the companies they work for.

As you can see it is imperative for states to require insurance professionals to complete continuing education. It benefits the agent, the insurance company they represent, and the clients they serve. Clients can be assured their agent is knowledgeable and knows what they are talking about. They know the products being offered are the latest on the market and most beneficial to their needs. Education provides the knowledge insurance producers need to be successful and help serve their clients the best way possible.

Insurance Continuing Education Classes – How They Benefit the Agent

Insurance professionals are accountable for helping clients make very important decisions on a day-to-day basis. They must act professional and ethical when dealing with their clients. Whether they are helping a client invest or purchase a life insurance policy they must be up to date on industry trends and products available. This is where insurance continuing education can really benefit both the agent and the client. Education is important in every industry, but when it comes to advising others, it’s imperative. Continuing education classes keep the insurance agent up to date on state rules and regulations and educate them on what’s going on the industry. It also provides them information on new products available to their clients. The more products an agent can discuss with their clients, the better. The agent will benefit because they have a better chance of making a sale. The client benefits because they have more options when it comes to purchasing a policy.

Classes can typically be done either online or in a classroom. Depending on how the agent can better retain the information, one would have to choose how they want to complete their educational requirements. Online is popular because they can revert back to the textbook while taking the exams. The more information an insurance professional can retain the better. If they are asked a question by a client and are unable to answer it, the client may decide to work with another agent. Knowledge is power in the insurance and financial industry.

Many of the successful insurance producers have been in the business for many years. They are not required to take any formal education classes, just continuing education. So for some agents, this is the only form of education an agent has completed since they received their license. As you may assume, laws, policies, and products change over time. This is why continuing education is so valuable to producers. It enables insurance and financial professionals to stay up to date on trends and help their clients to the best of their ability. At the end of the day the clients come first. Insurance is a highly regulated industry and fraud is not tolerated. If an agent gets caught committing insurance fraud they could have their license suspended or even revoked. The Department of Insurance for each state regulates this. They have a lot of power and really help or hurt you as an agent.

Home Insurance Discounts and Savings Available For Wise Homeowners, Coastal Policyholders

Smart homeowners looking for savings this year may have netted the $8,000 tax credit, but trends show they won’t be nearly as wise to insurance discounts that could cut their home insurance rates- this year and next. And those discounts are surviving even the toughest of times, despite rising costs across the insurance industry.

Industry & Consumer Trends: Survey shows many homeowners aren’t accessing eligible discounts

Unfortunately, homeowners living on the tightest of budgets could benefit the most from insurance discounts but they aren’t maximizing discounts. And many of these homeowners aren’t aware that discounts exist. In fact, a recent survey found that “nearly 38% of respondents with a household income of less than $25,000 said they weren’t taking advantage of all possible homeowners discounts or said they didn’t know” that discounts can be used to reduce their overall home and car insurance costs.

The 2009 national survey, reported by industry association Trusted Choice, also found that 53 million household respondents “admitted they are probably not taking advantage of all homeowners insurance discounts or said that they simply didn’t know” about policyholder discounts they likely qualify for.

While nickels and dimes make good cents for homeowners, the survey numbers just don’t make sense in today’s economy where every penny counts. There’s a range of insurance discounts available — even for coastal policyholders — and these can mean savings on rates ranging from 15 percent to as much as 30 percent.

So why don’t homeowners take advantage of insurance savings?

Many homeowners just don’t know much about their insurance, and discounts, or don’t act on all discounts that they do know, whether it’s a new policy on the first-time buyer’s starter home…or the fellow who needs extended coverage on a $3 million beachfront luxury. Survey statistics support this finding:

“The survey also found that the largest percentage of respondents, about 26%, estimated they save 6-10% on their insurance premiums by using discounts. In reality, many consumers could be saving significantly more – as much as 30%.” — Trusted Choice

Shopping for competitive rates and the resulting discounts is a learning process, one that takes time and awareness. It starts with a review of the home insurance policy and the carrier discounts and should extend to the condition of the home, as well as the situation of the homeowners. Policyholders should also explore home insurance options, competitive rates and seek discounts available across the range of providers or home insurance carriers.

But the process and language can confuse homeowners — especially those who are inexperienced or shop without the help of an insurance agent. After all, the industry jargon of your homeowner policy isn’t written for pleasure reading and agents accustomed to the policy process can help make sense of the lingo, as well as make recommendations on discounts, criteria and savings.

An independent insurance agent is a good learning guide for any policyholder, but new homebuyers and homeowners usually benefit the most. Their awareness is limited by experience, and they’re often unfamiliar with insurance terms, the extent or limitations of coverage. Many new policyholders aren’t even aware of how much the home insurance actually costs from year to year.

Moreover, new homeowners in newly built homes may have found the smart savings of the super $8,000 tax credit. But many are missing out on extended savings — the insurance discounts applicable to new wiring, smoke alarms…even credit score and marital status can net lower rates on home insurance costs.

Likewise, the inexperienced often believe that home insurance rates are standard or standardly managed by their mortgage company. They’re not aware that there’s industry competition or that they can change carriers if they choose.

FYI: Competition in the industry can also evolve discounts, even for homeowners ‘at-risk.’

Currently, there are fewer choices for coastal homeowners, yet new carriers have moved into some geographic markets opened since the withdrawal of big insurance carriers–these carriers cancelled policies because they no longer want to cover homes vulnerable to weather risk. So even the most experienced home insurance policyholders — perhaps living in their retirement dream homes — may find choices after all, along with lower rates and discounts.

While there’s a lot that homeowners don’t know about their home insurance, competition and industry trends, the best way to get educated is to ask — for guidance and for recommendations on discounts that lead to savings, plus the tips for capturing those savings year after year.

Lessons to Learn

Get smart — know your home insurance policy and ask for expert guidance if needed.

Explore options with a wise insurance guide — Independent insurance agents can help homeowners explore all the options – these agents aren’t attached to one company, and can shop quotes across the industry range.

Request home insurance quotes – be sure to cover all competitive rates and sources.

Compare rates sensibly – make sure the comparison is apples to apples, and includes a review of coverage and discounts. Ensure coverage is also aligned with the mortgage requirements.

Apply discounts… leverage savings.