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Insurance Agent/Broker

Insurance agents and brokers assess people's financial needs and advise them on how to protect themselves against financial loss. They may sell life, property, casualty, automobile or health insurance policies to individuals, businesses or public institutions.

  • Avg. Salary $62,578.00
  • Avg. Wage $32.90
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 8,200
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Broker, Life Insurance Agent, Property Insurance Agent, Salesperson, Account Manager

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Insurance Agent/Broker is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Insurance Agents and Brokers
NOC code: 6231
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to ensure appropriate forms, medical examinations and other policy requirements are completed; and to identify potential clientele

SOCIAL

Interest in persuading to solicit potential clientele and to sell automobile, fire, health, property, marine, aircraft and other types of insurance to clients

directive

Interest in monitoring insurance claims and in responding to clients' enquiries

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Insurance agents represent insurance companies either as employees of a company or as independent representatives.

Insurance brokers represent their clients. They are under contract to a number of insurance companies and place policies directly with whichever company can best serve the needs of individual clients.

Insurance agents/brokers may sell property/casualty insurance policies or life insurance policies, or both types of policies. Property/casualty insurance policies (including automobile policies) protect against financial loss from damage, theft or liability lawsuits. They may be personal or commercial insurance policies. Life insurance policies provide payment to survivors (beneficiaries) when the person whose life is insured dies. A life insurance policy also can be designed to provide retirement income, educational funds for surviving children or other benefits.

Some agents and brokers sell specialized types of insurance such as marine insurance, farm and crop insurance, or medical and dental insurance.

Agents and brokers also:

  • develop clientele by generating lists of prospects (people who may need risk management information and insurance products) and visiting them to discuss their risk management and insurance needs
  • inspect property to determine its general condition, type of construction, age and other characteristics to decide if it fits company underwriting standards
  • build policies to suit clients' needs
  • keep in touch with clients to help them keep their insurance programs up to date
  • monitor insurance claims such as property damage or a death in the family
  • attend meetings, seminars and programs to keep up to date and learn new skills.

For information about duties and responsibilities related to financial planning, see the Financial Planner occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Hours of work vary in this occupation. Agents and brokers may work evenings and weekends prospecting clients, making calls or catching up on paperwork.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Insurance agents and brokers need the following characteristics:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • good business judgement
  • a genuine interest in helping people achieve their financial goals
  • persuasive persistence (an enthusiastic attitude when faced with disappointing sales and clients who say no)
  • a willingness to keep up to date with new information about tax laws, amendments to pension and benefit plans, and other changes
  • a willingness to pay attention to the details that satisfy client needs.

They should enjoy compiling information and taking a methodical approach to their work, persuading and working with people and making decisions.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Most employers require applicants to have at least a high school diploma. However, the insurance business is very competitive and many agents and brokers have post-secondary education.

Some agents and brokers learn the basics on the job before taking the courses and examinations required for the professional designation Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) offered by the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC). These courses are offered in class, virtually and through distance education by designated post-secondary institutions. Information on the requirements to earn a Fellowship CIP designation can be found at the IIC link.  

The Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IBAA) and IIC offer intensive short courses that qualify graduates to become licensed insurance brokers. IBAA also offers a four course program leading to the designation Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB)


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academic Express Adult Education & Training

Academy of Learning - Airdrie

Academy of Learning - Brooks

Academy of Learning - Calgary NE

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown

Academy of Learning - Edmonton South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton West

Academy of Learning - High River

Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat

Academy of Learning - Red Deer

McBride Career Group Inc. - Calgary

McBride Career Group Inc. - Edmonton

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Before enrolling in an education program, prospective agents and brokers should discuss their training options with potential employers.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Insurance Agent

Insurance agents assess people's financial needs and advise them on how to protect themselves against financial loss. They may represent insurance companies directly or as independent representatives, and sell life, property, casualty, automobile or health insurance policies to individuals, businesses or public institutions.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Insurance Act and Insurance Agents and Adjusters Regulation, you must be licensed by the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) to sell insurance in Alberta.

What You Need

General insurance agents must: (1) pass a Level 1 examination and, within 36 months, pass a Level 2 examination, (2) submit a security clearance document, and (3) be recommended by an authorized person. Life insurance agents and accident and sickness insurance agents must: (1) pass an examination, (2) submit a security clearance document, and (3) be recommended by an authorized person. All certificate holders must carry Errors and Omissions Insurance. For official, detailed information about licensing requirements, visit the AIC website or contact the Alberta Insurance Council.

Working in Alberta

Insurance agents who are licensed by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for licensing in Alberta if licensed agents in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Alberta Insurance Council
500, 222 - 58 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta  T2H 2S3
Phone number: 403-233-2929
Fax number: 403-233-2990
Website: www.abcouncil.ab.ca

Alberta Insurance Council
Suite 600 Bell Tower                                                                                                                 10104 - 103 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 0H8
Phone number: 780-421-4148
Fax number: 780-425-5745
Website: www.abcouncil.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Insurance agents work for:

  • general insurance companies
  • brokerage firms 
  • independent insurance agencies
  • financial planning firms.

Summer employment might be a good way to gain practical experience. Insurance companies might interview students on some college and university campuses. Or, interested individuals can set up their own appointments to discuss opportunities with local insurance company managers. Job applicants may be asked to complete screening questionnaires or attend further interviews.

Experienced, successful insurance agents and brokers may move into supervisory and management positions, or head office jobs in administration, training, underwriting, sales promotion or branch management.

In Alberta, 97% of people employed as insurance agents and brokers work in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 7,900 Albertans are employed in the Insurance agents and brokers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.0% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 79 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Agents and brokers may be paid a salary, work on a commission basis or a combination of both. Their incomes vary considerably depending on the employer, the employee's abilities and educational background, the geographic area and the responsibilities of the position.

Usually, newly hired agents and brokers are paid a base salary and look after existing client accounts. To encourage finding new clients, they often receive a percentage of commissions for the new business they attract. Some agents receive commissions from day one, although most choose to receive a salary for six months or longer while they establish a client base.

Most agents and brokers pay their own car and travel expenses. If they operate their own businesses, other overhead expenses may include office rent and staff salaries.

Insurance agents and brokers
NOC code: 6231

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.48 $42.74 $25.35 $24.18
Overall $20.88 $65.00 $32.90 $29.67
Top $23.02 $93.56 $43.53 $41.06

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Retail Trade
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

38%
38%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

13%
13%

2015 Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Financial Management
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

ADVOCIS The Financial Advisors Association of Canada website: www.advocis.ca

Alberta Insurance Council website: www.abcouncil.ab.ca

Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada website: www.fpsc.ca

Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IBAA) website: www.ibaa.com

Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC) website: www.insuranceinstitute.ca

Career Connections website: http://www.career-connections.info/

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Dec 14, 2012. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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