Article

Insurance Agent
September 14 , 2012

Individual agents are the hands and legs of the insurance industry. They account for a major percentage of insurance sales in India. It is hard to be an earning individual and never to be approached by an agent in a lifetime. The average Indian would have one or more of a neighbor, uncle, aunt, cousin who is a life insurance agent.

An agent's responsibilities are to meet prospective clients, understand their needs and recommend suitable products. Most of them are adept in meeting clients but falter in the other two. Seldom will an agent be interested in learning about client's need or recommending product addressing the need.  Thanks to hefty commissions tied to insurance cum savings/investment products, insurance agents are responsible for canvassing and mis-selling insurance, especially life insurance leaving majority of the little pool of insured population of India grossly underinsured.

Agents are hired by insurance companies and trained by them to bring in business for the insurer. They are not on the company's payroll. Instead they make money from commissions on sales they make. An agent can work for only one life insurer, as against an insurance broker who can sell products of several insurers. So you see why seeking advice on insurance need from an agent is a bad idea.

Every insurance agent needs to be licensed by IRDA to sell insurance products. Customers have the right to know how much of their premiums go to agents' pockets. It is mandatory for insurers to disclose this information but it is so often shrouded in jargons that barely any insured customer would have idea of commissions on her product.

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