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Insurance Agent Vs. Real Estate Agent

Insurance agents and real estate agents perform many comparable duties. This article looks at some of the similar tasks they perform, as well as some of the distinctions in their roles.

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Comparing Insurance Agents to Real Estate Agents

Insurance agents and real estate agents are both sales professionals who focus on different types of products or services. Although real estate agents have more formal training requirements insurance agents earn higher salaries.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Insurance Agents High school diploma or GED; license $49,990 10%
Real Estate Agents Postsecondary courses; license $44,090 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Insurance Agents vs. Real Estate Agents

Insurance agents and real estate agents are both responsible for advertising their services so that they can increase their client base. Real estate agents may have the additional responsibility of promoting properties they represent. They both need to acquire information from their clients. Insurance agents may sometimes travel to meet clients while real estate agents frequently travel to properties to gather information for listings or to show them to interested parties. They both need to produce paperwork for clients and keep copies of their records. Real estate agents may also conduct negotiations to try to alter the terms of a sale but insurance agents do not set policy prices themselves and do not negotiate.

Insurance Agents

Insurance agents, who are also known as insurance sales agents, typically work for insurance companies, but some are self-employed. Overtime work may be required and it's also common for insurance agents to work in the evenings. The main responsibility of insurance agents is to sell insurance to clients, so they need to have strong communication skills to successfully sell their services. They may opt to specialize and focus on a specific type of insurance, such as life insurance or health insurance, although most insurance agents sell multiple types of insurance policies.

Job responsibilities of a insurance agents include:

  • Promoting services to clients
  • Evaluating their clients' insurance needs
  • Updating client policies
  • Storing documents
  • Answering client questions

Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents help sell or rent properties or may assist clients looking to purchase or rent a property. With experience they can become a real estate broker, which qualifies them to operate their own real estate company. Business skills are important for real estate agents because they often promote their services and handle things like bookkeeping. They need good negotiation skills in order to finalize contracts. They may opt to work in a real estate office or work from home, and it's normal for real estate agents to work overtime.

Job responsibilities of a real estate agent include:

  • Traveling to properties to show them to clients
  • Collecting information for listings
  • Promoting properties they have listed for sale or rent
  • Answering client questions
  • Finalizing sales and rental contracts

Related Careers

Those thinking about a career as an insurance agent may also be interested in becoming an insurance appraiser since they also use policy information when processing claims. Individuals thinking about a future in real estate may also be interested in becoming a rental property manager since property managers help promote and rent out properties on behalf of their owners.

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