While there are hundreds of thousands of insurance agents across the country, only a small number of them join professional insurance industry associations. Some agents might not want to pay the monthly dues required to be a member, and others wonder how spending a couple of hours a month with other insurance agents could possibly benefit them. Here are some reasons why you should join an association if you are an insurance agent.
1) Continuing Education — Most insurance associations offer regular CE classes for their members. Local chapters often have classes monthly on a variety of topics, and the state chapter generally provides opportunities to earn CE credits at its annual convention. In some associations, such as the National Association of Health Underwriters, members can earn a few credits each year just from being a member who attends meetings.
2) Networking — Insurance is a broad industry with many different niches. Agents can sell group health insurance, individual health insurance, cancer and disability plans, term and whole life insurance, medicare supplements, annuities and long-term care insurance. Property and casualty agents can also sell commercial and general liability insurance, auto and home insurance, worker’s compensation insurance and other property lines. Because each market segment is different, most agents specialize in just one or two lines of insurance. By attending membership meetings, you can meet agents who specialize in different lines than you and trade referrals.
3) Compliance — Beyond just continuing education, association membership will give you access to various different ways to learn about industry regulations and stay compliant in your business. Most associations have a website full of information, such as the latest legislation affecting the industry, upcoming industry events, product and carrier information, and forums where you can talk to other agents. In addition, industry magazines provide news, perspectives and alerts on the ever-changing insurance world.
4) Designations — When an agent wants to specialize in a certain segment, he might seek out specialized courses where he can further learn about insurance laws and regulations. Taking these courses and passing the related exams earns you an industry designation which you can list after your name and make your clients aware of. Associations often sponsor these classes so that members can have access to them frequently and at reasonable prices
5) Representation — Most associations have lobbyists that work at the state and even national levels to represent the interests of insurance agents. A portion of the dues you pay go to the efforts of these lobbyists, who are continually in front of your legislature to be sure lawmakers are made aware of your things that affect both you and your clients. In a sense, these dues you pay are a form of career insurance in that your associations is providing someone in Washington to be your voice.
6) Leadership — Because of the very fact that so few agents bother to join an association, your membership alone makes you a leader among your peers. People who care enough to spend money to further their professional knowledge are generally agents committed to their industry for the longterm. these members become leaders within their association and their field, and you can not long learn from the existing leaders, but over time, you can become one yourself.
7) Mentors & Friendship — Becoming an insurance agent is a long and arduous process. Few people succeed in the industry past a few years. By joining an insurance industry association, you can find people already in your field who can mentor you through your learning process and be great resources for you. Over time, you will develop lifetime friendships with colleagues that are mutually beneficial and rewarding.
In summary, insurance groups offer a lot of positive things to individual agents. The small price you pay in monthly dues easily delivers a longterm return on your investment by helping you be the most informed and knowledgeable agent that you can be.