How to Get a Life Insurance License in Washington DC

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Last updated:

Getting your Washington DC life insurance license is the first step toward becoming a life insurance agent in the state.

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking (DISB) requires you to complete a five-step process to become a life insurance agent in Washington D.C. — from taking the life insurance exam to applying for a license.

These steps will take a few weeks to complete so we recommend you bookmark this page so you can use it as a reference throughout the process.

How to Get Your Washington DC Life Insurance License

  1. Complete a Washington DC Insurance Pre-license Course (Kaplan Education Company – $149+)
  2. Take the Washington DC Life Insurance Licensing Exam (Pearson VUE – $75)
  3. Complete a Washington DC Life Insurance License Application (National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) – $105 application fee + $5.60 transaction fee)
  4. Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check (Fieldprint – $50)
  5. Watch for Your Application Results

Life Insurance License Washington DC

Obtaining your Washington DC life insurance license isn’t difficult. Just follow these five steps to start your journey toward becoming a life insurance agent. Once you earn this license, check out our guide on how to get your Washington DC property and casualty (P&C) license as well.

Step 1: Complete a Washington DC Insurance Pre-license Course

Before you take the Washington DC life insurance licensing exam, it’s important to make time to acquire the knowledge you’ll need to pass this exam on your first attempt. Completing a pre-license education course will equip you with the necessary information and tools you’ll need to prepare for your exam.

While Washington DC doesn’t have any formal pre-license education requirements, most insurance professionals opt to take a pre-license education course online. Others purchase books or self-study materials to prepare themselves for the exam.

A pre-license education course provides very specific industry knowledge that will be tested during the exam. There is very little information on the test that could be considered “common sense.” Pre-license education courses are self-paced and include study materials like practice exams and flashcards.

Beyond helping you effectively prepare for and pass the life insurance licensing exam on your first try, taking a pre-license education course also will give you a solid understanding of your duties as a life insurance agent.

Recommended

Doing a pre-licensing education course dramatically increases your chance of passing your exam on your first attempt, which can end up saving you both time and money in the long run. For pre-licensing education, StateRequirement recommends:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

Step 2: Take the Washington DC Life Insurance Licensing Exam

After you complete a prep course and your own independent studying, it’s time to take the Washington DC life insurance exam.

Washington DC uses Pearson VUE as its official testing service for delivering licensure exams.

The Washington DC life insurance exam outline contains a total of 80 scored questions that cover two sections: general and district-specific knowledge. The general section deals with basic life insurance product knowledge. The district-specific section covers insurance concepts and terms, rules, regulations, and practices specific to the District of Columbia.

You’ll have 120 minutes to complete the exam. The Washington DC life insurance exam fee is $75, which you must pay at the time of reservation by credit card, debit card, or voucher. The exam is a proctored test, meaning an official proctor will closely monitor you in a controlled environment.

If you happen to fail the Washington DC life insurance exam, you can schedule a time to retake it as soon as 24 hours after your first attempt. There’s no limit to the number of attempts you can make on the same exam.

Tip

Check out our in-depth insurance exam guide for tips to help you pass on the first attempt.

The best way to understand if you are prepared for the test is to take a Life Insurance Practice Exam.

Step 3: Complete a Washington DC Life Insurance License Application

Once you pass the life insurance exam, you can apply for your Washington DC life insurance license. The application fee is $105 plus $5.60 transaction fee, and you must apply online via the NIPR.

The DISB will issue a life insurance license to individuals who are at least 18 years old and have passed the proper licensing exam. You should submit your completed license application within 12 months of passing the exam.

To apply for a life insurance license in Washington DC, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the District of Columbia Insurance Code and the District of Columbia Administrative Code.

Send any questions or supporting documents to disb@dc.gov.

Step 4: Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check

After you apply for the Washington DC life insurance license, you must get a fingerprint-based background check from FieldprintThe fee for fingerprinting services is $50 to cover the cost of comparing your prints against criminal history records. 

To set up a fingerprinting appointment, go to the Fieldprint website or call 877-614-4364. At your fingerprinting appointment, you’ll receive a receipt. Don’t throw it away! Keep the original receipt for your records.

Step 5: Watch for Your Application Results

After you complete the previous four steps, the DISB will review your application and background check. It reviews applications in the order it receives them, and this process usually takes one to five business days from the date you submit your application.

Once the DISB finishes reviewing your application, it’ll email you with its decision or ask you to provide more information.

You can print your license from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) State Based Systems (SBS) License Manager tool. There’s no charge to print a license. If you don’t remember your license number, you can find it by using the NAIC SBS License Lookup tool.

Congratulations!

You’re now ready to get started as a life insurance agent in Washington DC.

Steps After Securing Your Washington DC Life Insurance License

Once you complete the above steps and have your Washington DC life insurance license, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to a) excel as an insurance agent, and b) maintain your life insurance license.

Let’s take a brief look at these below.

Obtain All Relevant Securities Licenses

If you’re planning on selling advanced life insurance products, you’ll likely need to pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and obtain the relevant securities licenses (e.g., Series 6, 7, and 63).

For more information on this step, you can have a look at our in-depth Securities Licensing overview.

Choose a Means of Selling

You’ll have to decide whether you’d prefer working as a captive agent employed by one company, or running your own business as an independent agent.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely benefit from working as a captive agent, but this will ultimately depend on your personal aspirations and opportunities.

Develop Your Marketing Approach

To succeed as an insurance agent, you’ll need to adopt a marketing approach that’s effective for you.

We recommend finding and sticking to a niche, as well organizing all client appointments for the start of your week. This is because this can improve your overall client conversions.

Keep Your License Valid

In Washington DC, you will need to complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to renew your insurance license.

Three of those hours must focus on ethics. To find these courses, you can visit the NAIC website and click on the “Course or Provider” section. 

Keep in mind that if you already have a non-resident license and are in good standing in your home state, you won’t need to complete CE in Washington DC. To find out if you need to take Washington DC courses, visit the NAIC website and choose “District of Columbia” as the jurisdiction and “Course or Provider” as the search type.

Note: To avoid delays in renewing your license, you should complete the required CE hours at least 60 days before your license expires. This will give your CE provider enough time to successfully report the completion of the coursework to the DISB. 

There is a renewal fee of $100 that will need to be paid ($200 fee for late filings).

For a more in-depth look at each one of these steps, check out our Steps After Getting Your Insurance License guide.

District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking Contact Information

Mailing Address

1050 First Street, NE, 801
Washington, DC 20002

Phone: 202-727-8000

Email: disb@dc.gov

Website: https://disb.dc.gov/

License Search: Washington DC Insurance License Lookup

Washington DC Life Insurance License FAQ

How much does it cost to get a life insurance license in Washington DC?

Obtaining a life insurance license in Washington DC requires these fees:
Insurance Pre-license Education Course Fee: $149+ via Kaplan Education Company
Exam Fee: $75 via Pearson VUE
Application Fee: $105 + $5.60 transaction fee via the NIPR
Fingerprint-Based Background Check Fee: $50 via Fieldprint

How long does it take to process a life insurance license application in Washington DC?

This process typically takes one to five business days. You’ll receive an email once the DISB reviews your application.

Can I get a temporary life insurance agent license in Washington DC?

Yes. The DISB may issue a temporary insurance producer license for a period not to exceed 180 days without requiring an exam if it determines the temporary license shall be necessary for the servicing of an insurance business. Potential recipients of such a temporary license can include:
The surviving spouse or court-appointed personal representative of a licensed insurance producer who dies or acquires a mental or physical disability.
A member or employee of a business entity licensed as an insurance producer upon the death or disability of an individual designated in the business entity application or the license.
The designee of a licensed insurance producer entering active service in the armed forces of the United States.
Any other individual who the DISB determines will best serve the public interest with a temporary license

Can I get an emergency life insurance agent license in Washington DC?

No. An emergency license isn’t available for life insurance agents in Washington DC.

Do I need to get my securities license on top of a life insurance license in Washington DC?

Probably. While you can sell certain basic life insurance products with just a life insurance license, a securities license removes the limits on what you can sell and puts you in a much better career position. As a securities license holder, you can provide your clients with products tied to the securities market as part of their retirement and life insurance plans. But, you’ll need FINRA accreditation to obtain your securities license.

What can I sell with a life insurance license in Washington DC?

With a Washington DC life insurance license, you can sell life insurance policies that pay a designated beneficiary when the insured person dies. You also can sell annuities that pay a set income at retirement.

How much can you make with a life insurance license in Washington DC?

According to ZipRecruiter, life insurance agents earn an average of $79,730 per year.

What are the limitations of a Washington DC life insurance license?

Unless you have multiple licenses to sell various types of insurance products (e.g., the combined life and health insurance license), having a Washington DC life insurance license only qualifies you to sell life insurance policies as well as retirement plans and annuities. You can’t sell other types of insurance. A securities license on top of your life insurance license removes that limitation and enables you to offer securities, including stocks and bonds.

Can I cancel my life insurance license in Washington DC?

Yes. To cancel your license, email an attached letter with your name, license number, and signature to disb@dc.gov.

How hard is it to get a life insurance license in Washington DC?

The process is quite simple! Follow the steps above and get started today!

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