The insurance license certification process varies depending on the state in which you are seeking a license. Since the process is not governed on a federal level, each state sets forth its requirements and process for license certification. You’ll quickly find that your state’s Department of Insurance website is a valuable resource. Fortunately, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a map that links to the various state insurance departments.
Types of Insurance License Certifications
There are various types of insurance licenses. Each state offers a different assortment of licenses. For example, the State of Texas offers licenses for general lines, personal lines and surplus lines, to name a few. New York offers property/casualty which covers both commercial and personal lines, life, accident and health and more. Before you begin your journey to become a certified licensed insurance professional, visit the Department of Insurance website for the state in which you want to become certified to find out the types of licenses the state offers.
Starting the Insurance Application Process
In many states, the first step in becoming a certified insurance producer is filling out the insurance producer application. Some states use the National Insurance Producers Registry (NIPR.com) to coordinate the insurance certification process. By completing the online application, NIPR will notify your state that you are beginning the process of becoming a licensed insurance producer.
Some states have mandatory pre-licensing education requirements. Connecticut, for example, requires its residents to sit for 80 course hours prior to sitting for the state licensing exam. Then there are states like Texas and Delaware that don’t have a pre-licensing education requirement. The only way to know whether or not you are required to take a set number of course hours is to visit the state’s Department of Insurance website.
Criminal Background Check
In some states, a criminal background check is as simple as completing an application and entering “Yes” or “No” to the question of whether you have been convicted of a felony. Other states require fingerprinting so they can run a background check using both the FBI database and the database of the local police force.
If you happen to live in a state that only requires a “Yes” or “No” answer on the insurance application, tell the truth. Lying on the insurance application is grounds for denying or revoking your insurance license.
State Insurance Exam
Most states contract out the administration of the state licensing exam. Three of the most widely use licensing administrative companies are Prometric, PSI Exams and Pearson VUE. These companies not only administer the exam; they provide information such as exam outlines and guidelines for how to go about obtaining an insurance license in your state. Your state’s Department of Insurance provides information on which company administers the state exam.
For state specific licensing requirements, review the post: How to Become a Licensed Insurance Producer in the United States