The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Faster employment growth is projected for agents selling health insurance.
Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26
Insurance sales agents, 10%
Total, all occupations, 7%
Sales representatives, services, 7%
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Because the profitability of insurance companies depends on a steady stream of new customers, the demand for insurance sales agents is expected to continue. Employment growth will likely be strongest for independent sales agents as insurance companies rely more on brokerages and less on captive agents as a way to control costs.
Many clients do their own Internet research and purchase insurance online. This practice somewhat reduces demand for insurance sales agents because many purchases can then be made without an agent’s services. However, agents will still be needed to interact with clients to help them understand their options and choose a policy that is right for them. Many customers lack the time or expertise to study the different types of insurance to decide what they need and will continue to rely on advice from insurance sales agents.
Agencies are also implementing “marketing automation,” a set of software tools that allow agents to maintain contact with their clients more efficiently. Although this is expected to improve insurance sales agents’ productivity, it is not expected to substantially reduce employment demand. Agents will still be needed to reach out to new, prospective clients and sell different insurance policies.
Employment growth should be stronger for agents selling health insurance, as this segment of the insurance industry is projected to grow faster than others. Employment of insurance sales agents in direct health and medical insurance carriers is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026.