The insurance industry - and the world in general - are changing and evolving faster than ever, and the best way for an insurance agent to keep up and thrive in a constantly changing market is to engage in continuous education and learn constantly.
In our digitalized, globalized, blink-and-you-miss-it economy, meeting your state requirements to take the licensing exam and complete the licensing process is only the beginning of a lifelong commitment to taking frequent training courses to stay on top of the trends and deliver world-class service to your customers.
As an agency, the moment your insurance sales agents get their agent licensing or their state insurance licensing should not be the moment they stop learning. On the contrary, this is when their opportunity to really learn and grow begins. A smart agency owner knows to require agents to meet continuous educations requirements, learn about new insurance products constantly and further their license education with courses in supplemental topics such as insurance sales, customer service, financial services, and more.
Is Your Existing Insurance Agent Training Program Working?
Let us ask you a tough question: do you even offer training programs to the insurance agents working at your agency? If you don’t, it’s time to sit down and think hard about this.
Pre-licensing education and pre-licensing courses prepare future agents with the basics so they can job search and start working. However, this is not what you would call a good education: online training for insurance agents can usually be completed in a couple of weeks to get ready for an insurance exam. Do you think that two weeks of online courses are enough to teach the intricacies of life and health insurance? Do you expect your new hires to know the ins and outs of property and casualty insurance right off the bat?
The benefits of offering insurance agent classes within insurance agencies are proven. Offering in-house training to your agents can demonstrably help you meet your company’s goals, increase sales, and reduce agent churn.
Let’s talk now about how to train insurance agents.
How to Create a Successful Training Program
Start with Goals
What do you want your agents to excel in? Insurance companies are always putting out new products and updating their policies, and insurance carriers often offer free training on their own products. Maybe you want to start there.
Or perhaps your agency specializes in a certain type of insurance, and you want your best agents to know it inside and about, so they can better help customers. Then creating specialized courses might be the way to go.
Another point to consider is that if you want your agents to grow and develop into the future leadership of your company, you should train them for it. Leadership education is incredibly valuable to a company since it will light a fire under your most ambitious employees, who will then push the company forward.
Once you have determined what you want to achieve with the training for your people, be it increased sales, better leadership skills, or something else, it’s time to start planning the training to achieve it.
For example, if you want to increase sales, consider educating your agents in all the newest products, as well as niche and more obscure offerings. Complement this with sales and customer service training, perhaps also some etiquette and definitely a few sales psychology lessons, to equip them with all the right tools.
Make It Easily Accessible
Your agents are busy, so make training easy and convenient for them. The time for fixed-scheduled presential lessons in a classroom ended a long time ago. Training should be offered in a flexible schedule, ideally broken into short units, and preferably available online. Consider creating videos, suggesting reading material, and hosting short discussion sessions at a convenient time and with a duration no longer than a standard meeting.
What the Best Insurance Training Programs Have In Common
Really effective training programs that make a difference in a company’s bottom line have 3 things in common:
You want your agents to learn continuously, and to build their skills and knowledge over time. Training should be carefully planned to include all desired topics and to teach them with increasing depth as time goes by. Remember to not only teach knowledge but also train skills.
The online boom has uprooted the traditional in-person learning system and replaced it with on-demand training. In most cases, your agents should not all have to take their lessons together, at the same time, in a room, facing a trainer. Speakers are a great addition to your training plan, but the bulk of it should be offered online, in small units, and be available all the time.
Don’t teach for the sake of learning. Make sure that the training you offer is designed towards meeting your corporate goals, and also think about your agent’s own goals and how to help them reach them through continuous education.
No good training program is complete without some mentoring, to share experience and add context to the theory that has been learned. It’s not difficult to set up a mentoring program in your company, so that more senior members spend a little time with ambitious young agents, and help them clarify their goals and hone their skills.
Gain access to reputable training programs for insurance agents
There are excellent training programs already available, and you don’t have to create your own if you don’t have the time or the inclination. One of the many perks of joining SIAA is that you get access to many top online training programs for your agency.