Wholesale brokers are a type of insurance agent and act as negotiators between an insurer and a retail agent to place accounts with insurance companies. They typically are responsible for analyzing individual accounts and recommending the services and products that are the most appropriate for the needs of their clients. These professionals are also directly responsible for establishing productive business relationships with retail insurance brokers and generating revenue.
Wholesale brokers, like other types of insurance sales agents, usually work full-time, although they have quite a bit of control over their working hours. Evening and weekends may be required in order to meet with clients. The majority of their time is spent in an office setting, though some travel may be needed in order to build relationships with customers. Many wholesale brokers work independently or collaborate with only a few other brokers.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; associate or bachelor's degree sometimes preferred|
|Degree Fields||Business, accounting, and related fields|
|Key Skills||Strong communication, analytical, customer service, and marketing skills; initiative|
|Salary||$48,200 (2015 median for all insurance sales agents)|
Sources: The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The minimum educational requirement for wholesale brokers is a high school diploma. However, some employers may require an associate or bachelor's degree in business, accounting or a related field. The key skills for wholesale brokers are strong communication skills, analytical skills, initiative, customer service skills and marketing skills. In 2015, all insurance sales agents earned a median annual salary of $48,200, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now let's check out the career steps for wholesale brokers.
Step 1: Earn a Degree
While a high school diploma can prepare one for a career in insurance sales, many employers prefer to hire wholesale brokers who have obtained postsecondary education. One can pursue associate or bachelor's programs in business and other closely related fields. As a student in an associate or bachelor's program in business, one can expect to take courses in accounting, business law, management, statistics and business logistics. Students can also take elective courses in marketing and economics.
To really stand out in a crowd, develop strong communication skills. Since wholesale brokers spend a lot of time communicating with retail agents and insurers, excellent communication skills are needed to excel in this position. To learn how to become an effective communicator, aspiring wholesale brokers can take classes in public speaking, English and communications.
Think about completing an internship. Completing an internship is an excellent way to gain practical work experience and learn about the responsibilities associated with this career. Students can pursue internship opportunities during the summer with insurance companies.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Many employers prefer a minimum of five years of experience for wholesale brokers. Aspiring wholesale brokers can begin their careers in entry-level jobs at insurance companies. Jobs like these can include customer service representatives, administrative assistants and sales agents. During this time, one can focus on building the skills that are essential for this role, specifically developing new business, closing deals and generating revenue.
Step 3: Seek Certifications and Continuing Education Opportunities
Though certification is not required for wholesale brokers, voluntary certifications are available. Institutions such as the American College of Financial Services offer continuing education courses to insurance professionals, some of which lead to specialized certifications in the insurance and brokerage fields. Obtaining these certifications and specialized skills make a wholesale broker more competitive in the job market.
To recap, with a high school diploma and about five years of experience, a wholesale broker can earn about $48,000 a year to analyze individual accounts and recommend the services and products that are the most appropriate for the needs of their clients.