Choosing a career in the insurance industry may require you to obtain licenses in several states. Although it sounds complicated, with an active insurance license in your residential state, you can apply online for a non-resident license for every state except Massachusetts and Washington and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Obtain Resident State License
Contact your state insurance department to find out the requirements for obtaining an insurance license. States issue insurance licenses for life, health, or property and casualty lines. Often, life and health lines are bundled together; ask if that is the case in your state. To study for the licensing exam, plan to take a class, either online or in a classroom. Searching with your state's name and "insurance license" provides available resources to study for and take the exam.
Go to the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) website, nipr.com, to apply online for non-resident licenses in most states. To apply, you will need your resident state license number and your national producer number (NPN). You can file an application for most states through this registry for a non-resident license for the same lines that you carry in your resident state. For example, you can't obtain a non-resident license to sell property and casualty insurance if you are only authorized to sell life and health insurance in your home state. Be prepared to pay the application and licensing fees for each state to which you are applying.
Some states such as Florida and Washington require fingerprints of all individuals applying for non-resident licenses. Contact the insurance department of the state requiring fingerprints to see if you must submit them in a specific format, or if they will accept any fingerprint card form. Your local police station will be able to fingerprint you for a nominal fee. Call ahead to see if you have to pay this fee in cash.
Remember that it is illegal to write insurance business in a state before you have a valid license. Many states will allow you to submit business once the application for your license has been filed. Check with the state's insurance department to confirm their eligibility rules before soliciting business.
Don't incur the expense of a non-resident license unnecessarily. Know that you will solicit business in that state before you apply. Contacting the state insurance department is the best way to find out current requirements for non-resident licenses.
Keep records and make sure that your non-resident license is approved before soliciting business.