How To Become An Insurance Agent In West Virginia
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?
How To Get Your Insurance License In West Virginia
The first step in getting a West Virginia 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. In West Virginia, Property, Casualty, Life, and Health are all separate lines, so to take the exams for all of these lines, you would need to complete eighty (80) hours of pre-license education.
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.
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 combined line of insurance you wish to carry. Property and Casualty are combined as one exam. The same is true for Life, Accident, and Health.
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 $88. When you show up you must have a photo ID any other documents that the testing facility has asked you to bring.
Each test is split into two sections: General Knowledge and State Specific. Be sure to study the content outlines provided by Pearson Vue:
To explain scoring, we will quote the Pearson Vue West Virginia Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook:
Equating and Scaling
There are multiple versions of each of the licensing examinations. These versions are known as forms. Although all forms of an examination are developed based on the content outlines, the difficulty of the forms of an examination may vary slightly because different questions appear on each form. To ensure that no candidate is put at an unfair advantage or disadvantage due to the particular form of an examination that he or she is given, a statistical procedure known as equating is used to correct for differences in form difficulty.
For example, in an examination with two (2) forms, Form A and Form B, the state licensing agency determines that answering 30 questions correctly on Form A demonstrates the minimum amount of knowledge necessary to be licensed. It is further determined through the equating process that Form B contains slightly more difficult questions than Form A; therefore, answering 30 questions correctly on Form A would indicate the same level of knowledge as answering only 28 questions correctly on Form B. Under this set of circumstances, a score of 30 questions correct would be used as the passing score on Form A whereas a score of 28 questions correct would be used as the passing score on Form B.
A second statistical procedure known as scaling is used to derive the numerical score to report for each candidate. Scaling is used to place a raw score on a common reporting scale on which each scaled score represents a given level of knowledge regardless of the difficulty of the form on which the raw score was achieved.
To illustrate how scaling works, suppose that in the examination example used above, the state licensing agency decides to use a score of 500 as the passing score for reporting purposes. (Note that the score selected to be used as the reported passing score is not related to, and has no bearing on, the difficulty of the examination.) Based on the information provided above, a raw score of 30 on Form A would translate to a scaled score of 500; a raw score of 28 on Form B would also translate to a scaled score of 500 since a raw score of 30 on Form A represents the same level of knowledge as a raw score of 28 on Form B.
The passing score of an examination was set by the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner. (in conjunction with Pearson VUE) after a comprehensive study was completed for each examination. Raw scores are converted into scaled scores that can range from 0 to 100. The scaled score that is reported to you is neither the number of questions you answered correctly nor the percentage of questions you answered correctly. With a passing score of 70, any score below 70 indicates how close the candidate came to passing, rather than the actual number or percentage of questions the candidates answered correctly. "
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 Pearson Vue West Virginia Insurance page.
Fingerprinting And Background Check
The state of West Virginia 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 Department of Insurance at 304-558-0610 or email the licensing department.
Fingerprinting must be completed through IdentoGo.
The fee for fingerprint services is $44.50. Your fingerprints will be submitted automatically to the Insurance Department.
Note: Fingerprints are only good for thirty (30) days, so be sure to follow the next steps quickly.
After you have passed your exams and submitted fingerprints, the next step is to apply for your license. If you have more than one line of authority that you tested for, be sure to apply for all of those lines.
The fee for an online application is $50, plus a $5 fee from NIPR, for a total of $55.
If you wish to add another line of authority at a later date, you will only need to pay the NIPR fee. If it has been longer than thirty (30) days since your original application, you will need to redo your fingerprints.
Apply for your license online with the NIPR West Virginia site.
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.
After submitting your application, the review process should take about seven to ten (7-10) business days to complete. After this period, you will receive an email from NIPR regarding the issuance of your license.
You may also check your license status with the State Based Systems West Virginia Licensee Look-Up Tool.
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 November 2018.
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.