How to Become an Insurance Broker
Jim Hatton is a licensed insurance consultant who has been in the insurance business since 1988. He owns Jim Hatton Insurance Agency in Medford, Oregon, where he helps businesses and individuals to find appropriate insurance solutions. Jim earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Polytechnic University in Pomona, California. Before opening Jim Hatton Insurance Agency, Jim was a district manager for Farmers Insurance.
What is an insurance producer?
Insurance producers used to be called agents. An insurance producer is someone who simply sells insurance for a commission. A professional insurance producer analyzes a client’s needs while weighing their risks, and presents different insurance solutions.
Why did you decide to become an insurance producer?
I decided to become an insurance producer because insurance is something that most of the public really doesn’t understand or want to understand. I try to make a complicated and technical subject simple and understandable.
Are there common misconceptions about your profession?
As with any profession involving commission-based sales, people will always have misconceptions about a producer’s motivations for recommending particular coverage. However, insurance is a complicated subject and there are a lot of factors involved.
What is a typical day like for you?
When I get new clients, I spend a great deal of time analyzing their particular risk portfolio, pricing the account and getting underwriting approval. For my current business clients, I perform regular service work, such as making changes to their coverage as their needs change. In addition, I maintain my business. Because I own my agency, there are always administrative responsibilities, continuing education requirements and keeping current on a changing industry. For the most part, I work a standard business schedule.
What are your favorite aspects of your job?
My favorite aspect of my job is when I can help people solve their problems. I especially enjoy helping people to plan for their future retirement.
What are your least favorite aspects of your job?
My least favorite aspect of my job is dealing with clients who are late paying their premiums.
Is there anything you would have done differently while studying to become an insurance producer?
Hindsight is always so much better! If I had it to do over again, I would take advantages of the risk management courses being offered by more and more colleges today.
What classes did you take in college that are most relevant to your job?
Some of the most relevant classes that I took in college were my courses on finance and my courses on business management, because they directly relate to my current work.
What personality traits do you think would help someone to be successful as an insurance producer?
In order to be successful in the insurance business, it is crucial that a person have the ability to interact with people. But people skills aren’t enough, because insurance producers also must pay attention to the small details in order to market insurance successfully.
What personality traits do you think might hinder someone's success as an insurance producer?
If someone is introverted, he or she will probably not be successful in the insurance business. In addition, anyone who tends to be challenged with completing activities is not suited to a career as an insurance producer.
What advice, or words of caution, would you give to a student who is considering studying to become an insurance producer?
If you are considering becoming an insurance producer, I would suggest that you focus your attention on large business accounts. This is an area of true account management, and there are so many ways in which to be of service to your clients.