How to Get an Insurance License in Wisconsin

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

How to Get an Insurance License in Wisconsin

If you’re thinking about becoming an insurance agent in Wisconsin, the first step you’ll need to take in order to kickstart your career is to obtain a Wisconsin insurance license.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to become an insurance agent in Wisconsin, as well as what to do once you get licensed.

Tip: 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.

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Wisconsin Insurance License

In order to get your Wisconsin insurance license, you’ll need to complete the following five steps:

  1. Figure Out Which Insurance License You’ll Need
  2. Complete a Pre-Licensing Education Course
  3. Pass the Relevant Wisconsin Insurance License Exam(s)
  4. Complete a Fingerprint and Background Check
  5. Submit Your Insurance License Application

Below we have explored each step in more detail.

Step 1: Decide Which Insurance Licenses You Need

The first step will be deciding what type of insurance coverage you’ll want to sell — at least at the start of your career.

This is because the type of insurance policies you’re hoping to sell will dictate the type of license you’ll need. For example, you’d need a Property & Casualty (P&C) license to be able to sell auto, home, or business insurance.

Here’s a list of some of the different types of insurance agent licenses that are available in the state of Wisconsin:

  • Accident & Health
  • Life
  • Casualty
  • Property
  • Personal Lines P&C
  • Variable Life
  • Credit
  • Crop
  • Legal Expense
  • Surety
  • Title
  • Travel
  • Surplus lines

While there are a large number of different licenses to choose from, the vast majority of insurance agents will either obtain a Property and Casualty (P&C) or Life and Health license.

In fact, many agents actually opt to go for both of these licenses as it allows them to offer clients a much wider range of the most common insurance products.

However, if you already know you want to specialize in one particular type of policy, you’ll of course only have to focus on the specific license that’s relevant to this insurance type.

It’s worth noting at this point that if you’re looking to work as a public insurance adjuster, you’ll need to obtain a separate license — which you can find more information about in our Wisconsin Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a Wisconsin Pre-Licensing Education Course

The next step you’ll need to take toward becoming a licensed insurance agent in Wisconsin is completing a pre-licensing education course.

In accordance with statutory law (ch. Ins 26, Wis. Adm. Code), all insurance agents interested in applying for a property, casualty, personal lines, and/or life & health insurance license are legally required to complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education from an approved provider.

From these 20 hours, eight must relate to principles of insurance, general Wisconsin insurance laws, and ethics. The remaining 12 will need to consist of line-specific insurance law material (e.g., content that’s specific to property and casualty insurance, etc.).

You can choose to take a course in a classroom setting or via self-study — as long as it’s with an approved provider. Once you’ve completed the required hours, you will receive a Certificate of Course Completion, which you will need to bring to the exam testing center in order to sit your exam(s) — this can be in paper form or electronically but will only remain valid for one year post completion.

Note: Due to the sheer number of pre-licensing education courses available, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed when deciding which one is right for you. To avoid this, we typically recommend making a decision based on the following factors:

  • The course’s flexibility (e.g., does it allow flexible learning, does it require completing within a short time-window, etc.)
  • The course’s price: This one is obvious; our only tip here is to not go too low, as from our experience you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to these
  • The course’s reputation: How reliable is each provider? The last thing you want is insufficient and/or incomplete resources before your exam

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:

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If you want more information before getting started, you can also have a look at our in-depth overview of the five best pre-license education courses in 2024.

Step 3: Pass the Relevant Wisconsin Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will likely need to take (and pass) a Wisconsin insurance license exam, though it’s worth noting that this will depend on the insurance line in question.

Here’s a list of all insurance lines of authority that require candidates to pass an examination:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines P&C
  • Credit
  • Title
  • Navigator
  • Public Adjuster

You’ll be able to register for your exam online via PSI WI exams or by calling 888-818-5805. There is a $75 fee that will need to be paid per exam ($50 for public adjusters).

Keep in mind that you can sit for more than one exam at a time (e.g., if you want to pass both the property and the casualty exam).

Even so, we recommend avoiding this route; this is because passing your exam is hard enough as is, and there is arguably little to gain and a lot to lose with the added risk of confusing separate line material.

We found that the best approach is to study for one at a time, averaging between two to six weeks of study time per exam — depending on whether you are studying full time or part-time, as well as on how comfortable you are at taking proctored exams.

Note: You might be able to get your exam fee fully reimbursed by the state if you are a veteran. For more information, you can have a look at our Wisconsin Insurance License Exam guide.

Step 4: Complete a Fingerprinting And Background Check

The next step after completing your pre-licensing education is completing a fingerprint and background check.

According to Section Ins 6.59 (4) (a), Wis. Adm. Code, this is a requirement for all individual residents applying for an insurance license, as well as for all individuals adding additional lines of authority.

To reserve a fingerprinting appointment, you’ll need to go to the Fieldprint Wisconsin website and use the following code: FPWIOCIInsurance.

Keep in mind that you will need to have the following information on-hand in order to complete your reservation:

  • Your full legal name and address
  • Your date of birth and gender
  • Your SSN, height, and weight
  • Your hair and eye color
  • Your ethnicity, place of birth, and citizenship status

There is a $36 fee that will need to be paid in order to book an appointment. Processing generally takes anywhere between 24 and 72 hours.

Keep in mind that if you have a felony criminal conviction involving dishonesty or breach of trust, you will need to apply for and obtain a federal crime waiver by submitting this 1033 Short Form Application to the following address:

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
Agent Licensing Department: Crime Waiver Application
PO Box 7873
Madison WI 53707-7873

Note: Fingerprints are valid for 180 days, after which they will no longer be accepted by the Commissioner of Insurance.

Step 5: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With your exams and fingerprinting out of the way, you’ll be ready to actually apply for your license.

To do this, you’ll need to submit your resident application online through NIPR and pay a processing fee of $10 per major insurance line (i.e., life, health, P&C, etc.).

Note: If you’re a qualifying veteran, you’ll be able to receive one initial license fee waiver — reimbursing the cost of your first application. You can find more information about this on the Commissioner of Insurance’s Veterans Fee Waiver page.

Step 6: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to NIPR, all that’s left to do is wait.

If everything on your application has been filled out correctly, your license should be issued within 24 to 48 hours.

It’s important to be aware that the issuance of your insurance license can take a bit longer than this if there are any items from your background check that need to be looked over. However, the state will likely get in touch with you to give some context if they run into any issues.

In any case, the state will send you an email regarding the status of your license once this review has been completed, so keep an eye out for that!

Pro tip: 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.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

After Getting Your Wisconsin Insurance License

Once you’ve passed all your exams and your licensing application has been approved, you’ll be a qualified insurance agent in Wisconsin.

At this point, there are four main steps that we recommend new insurance agents to take:

  1. Obtain Any Relevant Securities Licenses: If you’re planning on selling advanced life insurance products, you’ll need to pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and obtain the relevant securities licenses (e.g., Series 6, 7, and 63).
  2. 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 insurance agency as an independent agent.
  3. Develop Your Marketing Approach: To succeed as an insurance agent, you’ll need to adopt a marketing approach that’s effective for you. Finding and sticking to a niche, as well organizing all client appointments for the start of your week, are two great ways to do this.
  4. Keep Your License Valid: In Wisconsin, you’ll be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain your license’s legitimacy. Keep in mind that three of these hours must relate to ethics.

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

Wisconsin Office of the Insurance Commissioner Contact Information

Mailing Address:
125 South Webster Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53703-3474

Phone: (608) 266-3585

Fax: (608) 267-9451

Email: ociagentlicensing@wisconsin.gov

Website: https://oci.wi.gov/

License Search: Wisconsin Insurance License Search and Lookup

Wisconsin Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Wisconsin?

Yes. In Wisconsin, you’ll need to renew your insurance license every two years. In order to do this, you’ll be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education, with three hours relating to Ethics. Keep in mind that a renewal fee will need to be paid, which is $35 for residents and $70 for nonresidents.

How long does it take to get an insurance license in Wisconsin?

After you’ve completed the required pre-licensing education, passed the relevant Wisconsin licensing exam (if applicable), and submitted your application alongside your fingerprint and background check, processing should take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours.

How much does the Wisconsin insurance license cost?

This will depend on the insurance license in question. For all major insurance lines, the cost is $75 per exam, plus a $10 application fee when you submit your application (excluding the small transaction charge imposed by NIPR). For more information, you can have a look at our Wisconsin Insurance License article.

Is the Wisconsin insurance license exam hard?

Yes, but this will ultimately depend on how well you go about preparing for the exam. If you give yourself ample time to revise (i.e., between two and six weeks) and use the right preparation materials, passing on your first attempt should be quite likely. The difficulty can also depend on the line in question (e.g., property and casualty lines, etc.). For more information, you can have a look at our in-depth insurance licensing guide.

How do I get a life insurance license in Wisconsin?

To get a life insurance license in Wisconsin, you will need to complete a pre-licensing education course, sit and pass the relevant insurance exam, complete a fingerprint and background check, and file an application with the state’s Commissioner of Insurance.

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