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Life Insurance Agent - A Compelling Career Choice for Those With the Right Approach They need to think about the consumer first, before themselves and before the companies that they represent

By Divya Tusnial

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Life insurance industry in India has come a long way, especially in the last two decades when Private Life Insurance companies were given the green signal to operate. Surprisingly though, the awareness regarding the need for Life Insurance is still very limited in the country. People have a general understanding that there is a need to save for the family and for their future, but very little awareness regarding how to go about it.

For many decades now, Life Insurance Agents have been selling insurance in the country. It has for long been the largest distribution channel for life Insurance companies. Agents represent companies whose products they sell and come to be known as that company's agents.

How has this channel of distribution grown in the last few decades. Undoubtedly, the number of Agents has multiplied. The number of agents as on 31st March 2018 is 20,82,667. The agents obviously have a good understanding of the products that they sell. But how adept are they at understanding their client's needs? How well do they know, or rather how much are they committed to their clients' wellbeing and financial security? How equipped are they to give the right advice to their clients?

The Crux of it

For a Life insurance agent, convincing a customer to buy a life cover is the toughest job. It may not be that tough if they are thorough with their knowledge and more importantly, have their clients' best interests at heart. Many a times, people do not like to consider buying insurance because they do not like to confront the possibility of inauspicious events or tragedies. Others, who are more willing to consider it, find the subject complex, and think that most Agents will misguide them into buying something they do not need. They feel that Agents are more invested in their own earnings and therefore will not guide properly. Some even think that it's a waste of money if the policyholder survives the term.

All the fears can be valid. But it needs a patient and considerate Agent to help them get past these concerns and make them aware of ways to secure their families' future. Agents need to think on behalf of their clients. Their primary job is not to fulfil a business objective or criteria. It is not about their personal earnings and how many clients they can manage to acquire. That is absolutely the wrong approach. They need to think about the consumer first, before themselves and before the companies that they represent. It is Consumer before everything else. If we truly understand what our clients want and what would be most beneficial for them, not only will we succeed in that deal, but we will fulfil our business objectives many times over.

The New Way

Gone are the days when agents' were mere salespersons who just had to sell products in order to achieve the sales targets and get commission out of it. Today, Agents need to transition to a level where they become advisors and not just salespersons. One of the reasons why Agents are not driven or passionate about this work is that they work only part-time. An industry as demanding as Life Insurance requires people who have more staying power. We need to have subject knowledge and demonstrate perseverance if we have to make a mark. We will put in that extra work only if we treat it as a long-term career option. Otherwise Agents will keep looking at it as a short-term gain and never fully engage with their customers.

The truly driven and passionate Agents will see this as a full time career opportunity. Companies Provide robust training and refresher courses throughout the Agent's career with them. They provide the right technology and tools to make the consumer on-boarding process smoother. We are assisted by the right technology in selling as well as getting the consumer on board. It makes our life a lot easier when we are able to make sales digitally because our clients can view details and calculations based on the data that they feed in, so that they get the right solutions to their needs. It helps them make their decision faster, with full transparency and in a much shorter time.

With support like this, the only ask from the Agent is passion and commitment. There is no holding back after that.

In order for them to succeed as a professional full-time Agents, they must adhere to the following:

  • Proper training from the company so that the agent understands the company's products and their features

  • Understanding client's requirement and advice products as per their requirements

  • Develop the ability to listen and empathize with clients to understand which product will work best for them

  • Know the products really well to know exactly what is suitable as per customer needs. Agents should advise products keeping in mind the customer's investment portfolio and financial background

  • Be quick to respond to consumer queries, via phone calls or mail or even personal meetings. This definitely boosts consumer confidence in the agent.

  • Behave responsibly and remember who he is representing. He is the face of the Company that he represents

  • Be equipped with all policy related information for the right guidance and advice

  • It's very important to do regular follow-up with clients and track the premium payment so that the policy doesn't lapse. It also helps get regular feedback from clients

Success of an insurance advisor lies in being consumer focused. Our clients need to see the value in our advice. Our sheer existence is because of them. If you have the passion, the dedication and consumer focus, this is the place for you.

Divya Tusnial

Financial Advisor, Tata AIA Life Insurance

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