Getting your Washington 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 Washington.
The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) requires you to complete a five-step process to obtain your life insurance license — from taking the life insurance exam to applying for a license.
How to Get Your Washington Life Insurance License – Quick Version
- Complete a Washington Insurance Pre-license Course (ExamFX – $189+)
- Take the Washington Life Insurance Licensing Exam (PSI – $35)
- Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check (IdentoGO – $49.25)
- Complete a Washington Life Insurance License Application (Washington OIC Online Services – $60 application fee)
- Watch for Your Application Results
Steps to Get a Washington Life Insurance License
Obtaining your Washington 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 property and casualty (P&C) license as well.
Step 1: Complete a Washington Insurance Pre-license Course
Before you take the Washington 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 Washington, you must complete 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 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.
Step 2: Take the Washington Life Insurance Licensing Exam
After you complete a prep course and your own independent studying, it’s time to take the Washington life insurance exam.
Washington uses PSI as its official testing service for delivering licensure exams.
The Washington life insurance exam outline contains a total of 100 scored questions that cover eight sections:
- Federal Laws and Regulations
- Washington Laws, Rules, and Regulations
- General Insurance Concepts
- Life Insurance Basics
- Types of Life Insurance Policies
- Life Insurance Policy Provisions, Options, and Riders
- Federal Tax Considerations for Life Insurance
You’ll have 150 minutes to complete the exam. The Washington life insurance exam fee is $35, 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 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.
Step 3: Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check
After you take the Washington life insurance exam, you must get a fingerprint-based background check from IdentoGO. The fee for fingerprinting services is $49.25 to cover the cost of comparing your prints against criminal history records.
To set up a fingerprinting appointment, visit the IdentoGO website and click on the “Schedule a New Appointment” button.
At your fingerprinting appointment, you’ll receive a receipt. Don’t throw it away! Keep the original receipt for your records.
After completing your fingerprint-based background check, you must submit your license application within one year of passing the licensing exam. If you fail to do so, you’ll need to retake the exam.
Step 4: Complete a Washington Life Insurance License Application
Once you pass the life insurance exam and complete the background check, you can apply for your Washington life insurance license. The application fee is $60, and you must apply online via the Washington OIC Online Services portal.
The Washington OIC 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, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the Washington Insurance Code and the Washington Administrative Code.
Send any questions or supporting documents to the Washington OIC via this contact form.
Step 5: Watch for Your Application Results
After you complete the previous four steps, the Washington OIC will review your application and background check. It reviews applications in the order it receives them, and this process usually takes three to five business days from the date you submit your application.
Once the Washington OIC 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 Washington OIC Online Services portal. There’s no charge to create an account or print a license. If you don’t remember your license number, you can find it by using the Washington OIC Agent Search tool.
You’re now ready to get started as a life insurance agent in Washington.
Next Steps After Securing Your Washington Life Insurance License
Once you complete the above steps and have your Washington 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 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.
Tip: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 Washington, via this contact form. You must provide the following information:
- Your name
- Your Washington OIC Online Services account number
- How do you want your letter delivered (e.g., via postal mail, fax, or email)
- A valid postal address, email address, or fax number
- Your dated signature (an email signature block is acceptable)
- The $5 fee (per letter)
The Washington OIC usually processes requests within three days of receiving them.
Complete Continuing Education and Renew Your License
In Washington, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to maintain your license in good standing. You must complete three hours in ethics/consumer protection. To find these courses providers, visit the department website and click on the Approved CE Providers section.
If you have a non-resident license with good standing in your home state, you don’t need to take CE courses in Washington.
You can’t renew your license until you complete your CE hours and pay any outstanding fines.
In Washington, 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 60 days before your license expires. Your CE provider will report your successful completion of the coursework to the Washington OIC. The renewal fee is $55 and the late fee is $55.
Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner Contact Information
Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
P.O. Box 40255
Olympia, WA 98504-0255
Email: Use This Contact Form
License Search: Washington Insurance License Lookup
Washington Life Insurance License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a life insurance license in Washington?
Obtaining a life insurance license in Washington requires these fees:
- Insurance Pre-license Education Course Fee: $189+ via ExamFX
- Exam Fee: $35 via PSI
- Fingerprint-Based Background Check Fee: $49.25 via IdentoGO
- Application Fee: $60 via the Washington OIC Online Services portal
How long does it take to process a life insurance license application in Washington?
This process typically takes three to five business days. You’ll receive an email once the Washington OIC reviews your application.
Can I get a temporary life insurance agent license in Washington?
No. Washington doesn’t provide a temporary life insurance license.
Can I get an emergency life insurance agent license in Washington?
No. An emergency license isn’t available for life insurance agents in Washington.
Do I need to get my securities license on top of a life insurance license in Washington?
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?
With a Washington 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?
According to ZipRecruiter, life insurance agents earn an average of $79,730 per year.
What are the limitations of a Washington 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 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?
Yes. To cancel your license, submit an attached letter with your name, license number, and signature via this contact form. The date the Washington OIC processes your request will be your license-cancellation date.
How hard is it to get a life insurance license in Washington?
The process is quite simple! Follow the steps above and get started today!
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in July 2022.
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