How To Become An Insurance Agent In Washington
What Kind Of Agent Are You Going To Be?
A majority of people who are applying for their insurance license have a plan in already in place of where they are going to use it. If you don't yet have a plan on how you will be using your insurance license, this is the place to start. Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself:
- What type of insurance am I going to sell?
- Am I starting my own agency, or working inside of an existing agency?
- It may depend on how your agency is set up to tell you what type of licenses you need to hold.
- What types of licenses does my company require me to hold?
Answering these questions should give you tell you the types of insurance licenses you need. If you are still unsure of which lines to pursue, you can always ask the folks in the state licensing office at 360-725-7144.
How To Get Your Insurance License In Washington
The first step in getting a Washington insurance license is taking pre-license education courses. These are state required courses pertaining to the subject matter that will be on the license exam. To fill the pre-license requirement, you must complete a certain amount of credit hours depending on the lines of authority (types of licenses) you wish to attain.
You must complete twenty (20) hours of pre-license education per line of insurance that you will test for. Property and Casualty are separate lines, even though they are combined in the exams, so you will need to complete forty (40) hours in total for this exam. The same is true for the Life and Disability lines.
You will receive a certificate upon completion of the courses. Keep these certificates, as you will need them when taking your exams.
Most applicants choose to take these courses online, as it fits their schedule better, but there are also in person courses available. You should choose which format in which to take your courses based on your preferred method of learning. The goal isn't just to get the courses out of the way, it's to prepare you to pass your license exam on the first attempt.
StateRequirement recommends Kaplan Education Company for all pre-license education courses.
You can find a list course of approved Washington pre-license education providers on the Washington Pre-License Education page.
Note: The state of Washington provides an excellent guide showing the pass rates of each of the providers. Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner School Summary
Insurance License Exams
The next step after completing all of your pre-license coursework or self-study is to take the insurance exam. You will take one exam for each line of insurance you wish to carry. Life and Disability (L&D) and Property & Casualty (P&C) lines are combined exams in Washington, so you only have to take two tests if you wish to attain all of these lines of authority: Property, Casualty, Life, and Disability.
This is a proctored test, which means that you will be in a controlled environment with a person watching over you. For people who haven't tested in a situation like this should be aware of this fact, and work on taming their nerves prior to sitting for the exam.
The fee for each attempt of the exams is $62 (one exam per combined lines of authority). When you show up you must have a photo ID any other documents that the testing facility has asked you to bring.
Both the Life and Disability and the Property and Casualty exams, contain one hundred fifty (150) questions, and have a time limit of one hundred ninety-five (195) minutes.
PSI Exams offers content outlines for each of the exams, though there will be changes taking place on March 1st, 2017 (03/01/2017).
Check out our Insurance Exam Guide. It's extremely in-depth, and will hopefully help you pass the first time.
Insurance license tests are intentionally difficult, but not impossible by any means. You should study to the point of comfortability with the information before you attempt the test. Failing the exam isn't the end of the world, but keep in mind that you will need to pay the fee each time you attempt the test.
Note: StateRequirement recommends that you study for one exam at a time, then after passing, starting on your next line. The exams are difficult enough on their own without confusing information from one line to another.
You may register to take your exams and find more information on the PSI Exams Washington page. PSI Exams provides more testing information in their Washington Insurance License Examination Candidate Information Bulletin. Keep your PSI Exams score report after passing the exams, as you will need it when applying for your license.
Note: When contacting PSI Exams about your testing, also ask them about their fingerprinting services, as this is your next step.
Fingerprinting And Background Check
The state of Washington requires that all insurance license applications provide fingerprints prior to licensing. Giving your fingerprints will initiate a background check. If you have any prior misdemeanors or felonies, this may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts. For more information on this topic, call the Washington Department of Insurance at 360-725-7144, or visit their page on fingerprinting.
Fingerprinting must be completed through IdentoGo. You will schedule an appointment at one of the locations in Washington, and the will electronically record your fingerprint information using LiveScan (as opposed to ink and paper). Many PSI Exams locations can also perform the fingerprinting, so be sure to ask them about this when testing.
The fee for fingerprint services is $32 plus a "rolling fee" of around $20, for a total of around $52. Your fingerprints will be submitted automatically to the Washington Insurance Department.
After you have completed your exams and fingerprinting, the next step is to apply for your license. If you have more than one line of authority that you have took the education for, be sure to apply for all of those lines.
The fee for an online application is $60. Adding a line later will not cost anything.
The application process is located within Washington's Online Services account system. You must upload your PSI Exams score report with your application, as it is not automatically sent to the Department of Insurance.
License Application Review
Once you have submitted your application and passed your exams, your license application will be reviewed by the state. Your background check will also be reviewed.
If everything is to acceptable standards your license should be issued quickly. If there are any items from your background check that need to be reviewed, it may slow down the process of issuance. If this is the case, the state may contact you to provide context to the issues that they have run into.
It should take about three to five (3-5) business days after the state has received your background check information to issue your license. The background check itself can take up to fifteen (15) business days, but is usually closer to between five and seven (5-7) business days.
After the license is issued, you will receive an email from the state regarding your acceptance.
You've done the work, put in the time and effort, and now hold the key to your own success! We're proud of you. Take five (5) minutes and celebrate.
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources, and was most recently updated in August 2017.
Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. Huge Hammer LLC and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.
Disclosure: StateRequirement has an affiliation with Kaplan Education company, and may receive compensation based on user activity on this site. We truly believe that Kaplan offers excellent products and services, and compliments the mission of StateRequirement.