As a budding or established insurance agent, the most important document of your career is your insurance license: the license that makes it legal for you to broker insurance and participates in insurance-related business dealings.
However, to acquire and keep your license, there are several things you need to be aware of to obtain an insurance license in the first place, as well as to ensure you don’t lose your license or are prevented from having your license renewed.
- Not passing the insurance exam.
Probably the most obvious item on this list – but impossible not to mention – is not passing the insurance exam, which allows you to go on and submit an application for your insurance license.
Before taking the insurance exam, it’s recommended that you study for 2-8 weeks before to make sure you’re comfortable with all the material that you might be tested on.
Then, you can begin the application process.
- Not disclosing convictions on your application (or having committed certain felonies).
Though previous convictions don’t automatically prevent you from acquiring an insurance license, denying the existence of your convictions will so be sure to disclose any prior convictions on your application.
Of course, certain charges do prohibit you from gaining an insurance license, such as any first-degree felonies or crimes involving breaches of trust or legal agreements and fraud.
- Not meeting the Continuing Education requirements.
After you’ve acquired your insurance license, you’ll need to continue your insurance education to keep it.
Depending on the type of insurance license you have – and from what state your license is issued – you’ll need to complete a varying number of hours of Continuing Education before your license is due to be renewed, which is usually every two or three years.
In Iowa, for example, insurance producers need to complete 36 hours of continuing education within a three-year period before the license is due to expire.
There are numerous Continuing Education programs to help insurance agents stay up to date and in the know about their profession, to allow them to thrive in their work with valuable professional expertise while tallying up the compulsory CE hours required to keep your license.
One of the leading Continuing Education providers for those with insurance licenses in Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas are Community Educators who offer a range of valuable courses to improve agents’ insurance and business practices while allowing them to gain CE credit.
- You’ve not paid your fines for missing your CE quota before the renewal date.
If you fail to complete the correct number of hours of continuing education to retain your license – determined by the license you have and the state it was issued for – then you will have to pay a fine for each hour not completed by the deadline, which is usually around $50 per hour.
If you aren’t up to date with your continuing education hours and haven’t paid your fines, you won’t be able to get your license renewed.
- Abuse of the license.
There are a number of ways that someone holding an insurance license can abuse their license, to the extent that they are liable to have that license revoked. These are:
- Fraud: If an insurance license holder willfully commits fraud against a policyholder, agent, or insurance organization.
- Rebating: Offering incentives aside from the benefits of the policy itself to entice a party to buy a policy is a license revoking act in most states.
- Twisting: The act of coercing a party to let their current insurance policy run out so that they can buy another policy is also a license revoking offense, despite the practice being relatively commonplace.
So, if you want to obtain and keep your insurance license, be sure to keep these five things in mind during your journey as an insurance agent to make sure your ambitions come to fruition.