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Insurance agents

At the outset let us understand the definition of an "Agent". The Indian Contract Act defines an Agent as a person employed to do any act for another or to represent another in dealing with a third person. In Insurance industry the term "Agent" is ordinarily applied to a person engaged by the Insurer to procure new business. The role of an Insurance agent is to act as an advisor for all forms or types of insurance, be it Life insurance or General Insurance. The implications are the same for Private or Governments insurance companies.

In today's competitive and yet uncertain world, insurance is a highly competitive business as the area of business is vast so also the need for it among the large populace. Thus to keep up with the cut-throat competition in the market one has to be highly motivated and resourceful, more so because the customers also are becoming more demanding to clinch the maximum insurance deals.

Now, the Agents being the "bridge" between the Insurance companies and the customers, who in insurance parlance are called the "Insured", have to be very customer friendly and also have to sharpen their skills, have to enhance their knowledge and have to be armed with the latest information and have to be aware of the changing rules in order to clinch good business. An insured agent is required to solicit and procure new insurance business, in a manner that is consistent with the interests of the policyholders and the insurance company.

As a bridge between the insurer and insured the agent is required to contact prospective customer for insurance, study their insurance requirements and convince them to buy the policies. After helping the customer to identify the kind of policy he needs to buy the agent has to help him with all the formalities for the proposal for new insurance, like, filling up of proposal forms, helping to calculate the premium, collecting the supporting document, and the required tests to be done if necessary. He should also enlighten the insured about the special conditions and the warranties that imply so also the rules for the claim.

Thus the procedure for becoming an Insurance agent according to the IRDA Regulations Act 2000 is :

*Be at least 18 years of age.*have passed at least the 12th standard or if appointed in a place of 1 lakh or more population or 10th standard otherwise.*Undergo training programmed for 100 hours in life or general insurance business, as the case may be, from an institute approved and notified by the Authority. In the case of a person wanting to become a composite insurance agent, the applicant should have completed at least 150 hours of practical training in life and general insurance business, which may be spread over six to eight weeks. Then he should pass the pre-recruitment examination conducted by the recognized Insurance Institute of India. The license issued by IRDA will be valid for three years. The license can be renewed after these three years by completing at least 25 hours of practical training in life or general insurance business or at least 50 hours practical training in life and general insurance business in the case of a composite insurance agent.

Thus the insurance sector is fast becoming a necessity in today's fast paced world. More so because it promises a brighter future for an agent in this business, provided he has the right attitude and flair for it !

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