Career in Insurance Sales

Career in (Insurance) Sales

This time of year is the time that many of us start to think about our lives; what we are going to do from the next year; and may even be considering a career change.

Over the last year I received several CV’s from our readers, people looking for work.  I cannot help most as they are trained in unrelated fields, but today I want to introduce readers to an opportunity in sales and, more particularly in insurance sales.

Those interested can then send their CV’s, that I will onward transmit to many interested FSP’s that I am in contact with.

The reality is: that a salesman is not born but made.  Most of us are afraid of sales and think that it is impossible.  For many it may be but many will have the correct profile to enter a very lucrative career if exercised correctly.

Sales people are widely considered to be the best remunerated in the world and most think insurance salesman are on top of the pile.  This is true to a certain degree – for those who work hard and are diligent in their duties.  Yet, more than 80% fail because of not working hard enough.

Sales people are considered to be those that ‘write their own cheques’.  This relates to the fact that you earn in accordance to the number of sales.  The more you sell the more you earn.  The top insurance earner earned over R14 million last year, yet 6000 exited the industry because they could not earn a living wage.

The insurance industry is renowned to be lucrative but was always extremely difficult to access. Some recent developments have made it much easier and more fail safe to look at this as a career choice.  Previously you were given two weeks training and then left to your own devices to earn your own income – with no basic.

Sanlam recently changed all that and are encouraging new entrants to enter this market, realising that intermediary sales are still the best way of acquisition. They offer a learner ship and establishment program to successful candidates.  Other insurers will soon follow, I am sure.

Sanlam offer a basic salary that reduces over the next twelve months, allowing the candidates to sustain a living while learning a rather difficult subject and gathering experience in selling.  One such candidate exceeded her target by 200% in November – a month traditionally thought of as slow in the industry.  She will probably be one of the 20% survivors.

Sanlam is confident that they can raise the success/survivor rate to well above the 20% rate quoted.  Their process of interviews (some of which I was invited to attend); psychometric testing; and, personality profiling will assist in better selection – raising the success ratio.

They will also train successful candidates to write and pass the regulatory exams and train you in obtaining a full qualification – now a requirement in the insurance industry.

They never abandon you during the incubation period and will monitor and interact with you on a weekly (and even daily basis if required) to help those selected to succeed.  They are keen to see a success rate much closer to 100% than the 20% we are accustomed to.

It is interesting that the company that I started my career with 35 years ago have taken the lead in this exciting new initiative.  We will expect such action from the new insurers and not from a staid player.  Not so as they head up new innovations and a much needed revival in an industry.

The insurance industry has, however, gone direct, mostly to the publics’ detriment as the subject matter is largely too difficult to understand.  Imagine that an insurance intermediary needs a qualification equivalent to a BA degree, but Joe public is assumed to be astute enough to buy direct.  Ridiculous.  See the opportunity you may have?

Sanlam started me well and I was able to create a career that sustained me in a fairly comfortable life for a period of 35 years.  Perhaps this could be for one of you, our readers.

Related to an industry in sales will be a career in tele canvassing.  The sales person is increasingly dependent on good tele canvassers, to arrange appointments and to benefit from a percentage earn out.  This is a good solution to people who can sell but do not like travelling.

Many previous colleagues who grew tired of insurance sales went into other sales jobs, some starting their own businesses successfully.

Deon Hattingh is a financial advisor that enjoyed a career of 35 years in insurance advice and sales.  He may be contacted on