The Salary of a Life Insurance Agent


Independent life insurance agents frequently work strictly on commission, and many salaried agents also earn wages partially based upon their sales. Because of this, agents' income may vary drastically depending upon their salesmanship skills and the number of policies sold that accrues commissions each month. Because of this, veteran life insurance agents' income is often much higher than those just starting in the industry.

Average Salary

  • The average insurance agent's salary is $43,942 as of December 2010, according to Half of all life insurance agents in the business earn annual salaries between $40,133 and $49,570. Only 10 percent of agents earn salaries that exceed $54,693 each year. To qualify for positions that pay salaries of this level, an agent must have two years of experience in his field and hold at least an associate's degree.

Commission Range

  • Because commissions are a major part of any agent's salary, commission structures--and monthly commission amounts--greatly impact his earnings. Although some life insurance agents are paid strictly on salaries, most earn some income per sales they close. Although the agent's end-of-year commission rate varies by commission rates and sales volume, agents report earning commissions between $2,994 and $23,640 annually as of December 2010, according to PayScale.

Top-Paying States

  • Agents who operate in a few choice territories may have an earning advantage over their counterparts in other parts of the country. Agents in Rhode Island earn the highest average annual salary, $80,280 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Agents based in Massachusetts are similarly well paid, earning average annual salaries of $78,740. California, New Jersey and New York are also areas where insurance agents receive high annual pay.

Top-Paying Industries

  • Workers licensed to sell life insurance may operate under several different types of employers. Those that work as insurance sales agents may expect to earn salaries between $27,344 and $44,309 annually as of December 2010, according to PayScale. Those that work as financial advisors earn higher salaries, receiving $29,716 to $54,305 each year for their services.

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