Getting your New York life insurance license is the first step toward becoming a life insurance agent. If you want to market and sell life insurance policies, follow this step-by-step guide for obtaining a life insurance license in New York.
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) requires you to complete a four-step process to obtain your life insurance license — 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 New York Life Insurance License – Quick Version
- Complete a New York Insurance Pre-license Course (Kaplan Education Company – $149+)
- Take the New York Life Insurance Licensing Exam (PSI – $33)
- Complete a New York Life Insurance License Application (DFS Secure Portal – $40 application fee)
- Watch for Your Application Results
Steps to Get a New York Life Insurance License
Obtaining your New York life insurance license isn’t difficult. Just follow these four 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 New York property and casualty (P&C) license as well.
Step 1: Complete a New York Insurance Pre-license Course
Before you take the New York 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.
In New York, you must take a 20-hour, pre-license course on life insurance. After completing the course, you’ll need to present a valid photo ID and an original certificate of completion from the approved prelicensing education provider when you arrive to take your licensing exam. Your pre-license course certificate will remain valid for 12 months.
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.
For New York insurance pre-license education courses and exam prep, StateRequirement recommends:
Step 2: Take the New York Life Insurance Licensing Exam
After you complete a prep course and your own independent studying, it’s time to take the New York life insurance exam.
New York uses PSI as its official testing service for delivering licensure exams.
The New York life insurance exam contains a total of 100 scored questions that cover two sections: general and state-specific knowledge. The general section deals with basic life insurance product knowledge. The state-specific section covers insurance concepts and terms, rules, regulations, and practices specific to New York.
You’ll have 120 minutes to complete the exam. The New York life insurance exam fee is $33, 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 New York 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.
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 New York Life Insurance License Application
Once you pass the life insurance exam, you can apply for your New York life insurance license. The application fee is $40, and you must apply online via the DFS Secure Portal.
The New York State DFS 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 New York, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the New York Insurance Law and New York Administrative Code.
Send any questions or supporting documents to Licensing@dfs.ny.gov.
Step 4: Watch for Your Application Results
After you complete the previous three steps, the New York State DFS will review your application. 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 New York State DFS 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 DFS Secure Portal. There’s no charge to print a license.
You’re now ready to get started as a life insurance agent in New York.
Next Steps After Securing Your New York Life Insurance License
Once you complete the above steps and have your New York life insurance license, here’s what you should pursue next.
Get Your FINRA Securities Licenses
Individuals planning to market and sell market-based life insurance products also must obtain the proper securities licenses. As a securities license holder, you can offer securities as part of your services. That’ll make you a credible authority in addressing all of your clients’ financial needs.
To learn more, check out our Securities Licensing guide.
To obtain these licenses, you’ll first need to take and pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Professionals in the securities industry are required to take the SIE and a series of examinations administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
The SIE exam ensures every life insurance professional has a basic understanding of securities. While taking the SIE exam isn’t a requirement for all insurance professionals, those who don’t obtain at least one securities license limit their ability to work with clients. With a securities license, you can give your clients the option to invest in securities-related products as part of their life insurance plans.
To help you start preparing for the SIE exam, check out our full guide on How to Pass the SIE Exam.
Obtaining a license to sell securities also requires sponsorship from a firm, company, or organization regulated by FINRA. The sponsor will pay the testing fees required for your SIE exams and submit your personal information to FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD). The Series 6 and Series 7 licenses require a FINRA exam sponsorship before you can take the exam. The exam for a Series 63 license doesn’t require any sponsoring entity.
Once you get your securities license(s), FINRA will list you as a “registered representative.” By achieving the securities licensee designation, you’ll become a highly sought-after professional and set yourself up for a successful career in the insurance industry.
Series 6, 7, and 63 Licenses
Some of the most common securities licenses for insurance agents include the Series 6, 7, and 63 licenses because they allow licensees to sell almost every type of individual security.
The Series 6 (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative) Securities License is the primary license sought by insurance sales professionals and financial advisors, allowing them to sell grouped securities related to insurance products.
Series 6 works together with Series 63 because they are the two partner licenses required to sell insurance policies tied to investments. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) oversees regulation of the Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law) license.
The Series 7 license allows you to buy and sell securities (e.g., stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) as part of an investment plan for your clients. To get a Series 7 license, you will first need to register as a new candidate with FINRA and pass the Series 7 exam. The Series 7 exam is commonly known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Exam, but is sometimes referred to as the “Series 7 Top-Off Exam.”
Get a Job in the Insurance Field
Once you earn your license, you can start applying for jobs in the insurance field. With a life insurance license, you can provide advice and recommend insurance products to clients, sell life insurance policies that pay a beneficiary upon an insured person’s death, and sell annuities that pay a set income at retirement.
Find life insurance job postings on our Insurance Jobs Board.
When applying for an insurance-related job, potential employers will request your license number and National Producer Number (NPN). You can request a letter of certification, which proves you have a life insurance license in New York, by logging in to the DFS Secure Portal. You may need to submit this letter along with your job applications.
Complete Continuing Education and Renew Your License
In New York, you must take 15 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to maintain your license in good standing. To find these courses, visit the New York State DFS Continuing Education Course Offerings website.
If you have a non-resident license with good standing in your home state, you don’t need to take CE courses in New York.
You can’t renew your license until you complete your continuing education hours and pay any outstanding fines.
In New York, you also must renew and manage your life insurance license every two years. To avoid delays in renewing your license, you must complete the required CE hours at least 120 days before your license expires. Your CE provider will report your successful completion of the course to the New York State DFS. The renewal fee is $80.
Learn how to renew your license with our New York insurance license renewal guide.
New York State Department of Financial Services Contact Information
1 State Street
New York, NY 10004-1511
Phone: (800) 342-3736
License Search: New York Insurance License Lookup
New York Life Insurance License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a life insurance license in New York?
Obtaining a life insurance license in New York requires these fees:
Insurance Pre-license Education Course Fee: $149+ via Kaplan Education Company
Exam Fee: $33 via PSI
Application Fee: $40 via the DFS Secure Portal
How long does it take to process a life insurance license application in New York?
This process typically takes one to five business days. You’ll receive an email once the New York State DFS reviews your application.
Can I get a temporary life insurance agent license in New York?
No. New York doesn’t provide a temporary life insurance license.
Can I get an emergency life insurance agent license in New York?
No. An emergency license isn’t available for life insurance agents in New York.
Do I need to get my securities license on top of a life insurance license in New York?
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 New York?
With a New York 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 New York?
According to ZipRecruiter, life insurance agents earn an average of $79,730 per year.
What are the limitations of a New York 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 New York 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 New York?
Yes. To cancel your license, submit a written letter that requests the cancellation of your license to the New York State Department of Financial Services at 1 State Street New York, NY 10004-1511. You must include your license with the request letter. If you don’t have your license in your possession, you must clearly state this in your letter.
How hard is it to get a life insurance license in New York?
The process is quite simple! Follow the steps above and get started today!