Weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers in the insurance industry averaged $701 in 2002, considerably higher than the average of $506 for all private industry.
Most independent sales agents own their own businesses and are paid a commission only. Sales agents who are employees of an agency may be paid a salary only, a salary plus commission, or a salary plus a bonus. An agent’s earnings usually increase rapidly with experience. Many agencies also pay an agent’s expenses for automobiles and transportation, travel to conventions, and continuing education.
Insurance carriers offer attractive benefits packages, as is frequently the case with large companies. Yearly bonuses, retirement investment plans, insurance, and paid vacation often are standard. Insurance agencies, which generally are smaller, offer less extensive benefits.
Unionization is not widespread in the insurance industry. In 2002, 3 percent of all insurance workers were union members or were covered by union contracts, compared with 15 percent of workers throughout private industry.