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Insurance Career Articles 

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How Much Do Claims Adjusters Make?

Salaries for insurance claims adjusters can vary from state to state in the United States. They also can differ depending on the type of claims adjuster and their employer. The median base salary for a claims adjuster in the US is around $65,000 annually.

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Independent Adjusters’ Annual Salary

Below are national annual average salary ranges for an independent adjuster broken down by experience level. 

Experience Level

Annual Salary Range

Entry Level$50,000 - $60,000
Mid-Career$65,000 - $75,000
Senior Management$80,000 - $90,000

 

Public Adjusters' Annual Salary

Below are national annual average salary ranges for a public adjuster broken down by experience level.

Experience Level

Annual Salary Range

Entry Level$11,000 - $40,000
Mid-Career$45,000 - $70,000
Senior Management$75,000 - $90,000

 

Company/Staff Adjusters’ Annual Salary

Below are the national annual average salary ranges for a company or staff adjuster broken down by experience level.

Experience Level

Annual Salary Range

Entry Level$55,000 - $75,000
Mid-Career$75,000 - $85,000
Senior Management$90,000 - $100,000

 

Which Claims Adjusters Make the Most Money?

Independent adjusters who work on catastrophic claims have the potential to earn over $100,000 in a year. If the adjuster is licensed to operate in multiple states and multiple natural disasters occur within their domain, the independent adjuster could earn well over $100,000 annually. 

What Do Insurance Claims Adjusters Do? >>

Top Rated Employers for Claims Adjusters

Various companies and individuals can employ adjusters. Becoming a top-rated employer in the claims industry requires high ratings in multiple aspects of employment such as

  • Culture
  • Job Security & Advancement
  • Management
  • Pay & Benefits
  • Work-Life Balance

Best Independent Adjusters Employers

Top-rated employers for independent adjusters can specialize in major loss claims. Commonly these claims involve natural disasters and fires and explosions. Employers of independent adjusters will often provide a full range of claim handling and support services. The ability to scale their workforces to accommodate large workloads empowers highly rated independent adjuster firms to handle claims involving major losses.

Individuals interested in working as independent claims adjusters may interview companies such as 

Best Public Adjusters Employers

Unlike company or staff adjusters who insurance companies employ, a public adjuster is employed by the policyholders. Top-rated public adjusting firms have high rates of success helping commercial and residential property owners negotiate with insurance companies.

Individuals interested in working as a public claims adjuster may interview with companies such as 

Best Company/Staff Adjusters Employers

High-rated employers for company or staff adjusters often have protection policies for personal and business assets. They often have flexible working policies for part-time and full-time employees and great training programs.

Individuals interested in working as a company or staff adjuster may end up interviewing with companies such as 

The Highest Paying States for Claims Adjusters

The earning potential for a claims adjuster fluctuates from state to state. Individuals in Michigan vs. Connecticut could see significant differences in their wages as claims adjusters.


Rank

State

Average Wage

1Connecticut $87,680
2New Jersey$86,760
3New York$79,760
4California$78,270
5Rhode Island$77,500

 

Claims Adjuster Benefits

Each employer offers different benefits packages and perks. There are some benefits that are more common than others depending on which type of claims adjuster the individual is.

Independent Adjuster Benefits

Independent adjusters usually have more flexibility in their daily schedule and may have more remote positions available. This is mainly due to the nature of their assignments, which often require them to travel and gather evidence on-site. Weekly pay and discounts at hotels or car rentals can be common benefits that are unique to being an independent claims adjuster.  

Public Adjuster Benefits

The benefits that public adjusters have access to are similar to company/staff adjusters. Public adjusters usually work for firms that offer typical benefits such as retirement savings accounts, healthcare coverage, and paid time off.

In addition, they also usually have consistent work hours and access to company-issued laptops and company vehicles for traveling. 

Company/Staff Adjuster Benefits

Being a company or staff adjuster comes with traditional employment benefits such as steady paychecks, training, professional development, retirement savings accounts, healthcare coverage, and paid time off.

How Claims Adjusters Get Paid

Adjusters will receive payment after an insurance claim is settled. Some adjusters will earn a percentage of the settlement and some earn an annual salary regardless of how the claim was settled. 

How Independent Adjusters Get Paid

Independent adjusters usually earn a percentage of the amount of each claim they settle. This process is commonly referred to as a ‘fee schedule.’ Fee schedules vary widely between insurance companies and independent adjuster firms.

How Public Adjusters Get Paid

Public adjusters can earn a flat rate, hourly rate, or a contingency fee based on the outcome of the insurance claim. Similar to an independent adjuster, public adjusters typically choose to receive a percentage of the settlement. The policyholder is then responsible for paying the firm they hired.

How Company/Staff Adjusters Get Paid

Company or staff adjusters are salaried employees of an insurance carrier. Regardless of the claim’s outcome, these adjusters will get paid their annual salary from their employer. It is also likely that company and staff adjusters will receive an annual bonus.

Where Can a Job in Insurance Claims Lead?

Becoming a claims adjuster will immerse you into the insurance industry and give you the ability to move into management or analyst positions. Some claims adjusters decide to transition to sales or business development positions with forensic engineering firms or equipment restoration companies.

How To Get Started As a Claims Adjuster

Most individuals interested in becoming a claims adjuster will need to have at least a high school diploma and be able to pass an insurance licensing exam. 

 

 

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - August 29, 2022
Woman preparing to intern for a finance internship

What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Do?

Becoming an insurance claims adjuster can be a complex job and is often overlooked as a profession in the insurance industry. Insurance claims adjusters play an important role in the insurance industry and the need for adjusters remains consistent over time as catastrophes and accidents happen every day. 

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Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters

There are a few different types of insurance claims adjusters, and each would influence what the day-to-day work is like.

Company or Staff Adjuster

A Company or Staff adjuster works full-time for one insurance adjuster firm exclusively. Generally, these positions mean that you are salaried and receive benefits from the firm, such as a pension, life and health insurance, and continuing education training. Company and staff adjusters respond to claims for the one insurance company they work for. Often, these are home and personal auto claims.

Independent Adjuster

Independent adjusters work as contractors for multiple insurance firms or third-party administrators. They often work with catastrophe claims and will travel to the impacted areas after major weather events or emergencies.

Independent adjusters are sometimes referred to as “catastrophe claims adjusters” because they are the ones on the ground after major weather events and emergencies.

Public Adjuster

Public insurance adjusters work directly on behalf of policyholders. They help businesses or individuals file insurance claims if a proposed settlement seems unfit from an insurer. Generally, public adjusters are contract workers rather than salaried.

How To Become A Claims Adjuster >>

Day-To-Day Work As A Claims Adjuster

Regardless of what type of insurance claims adjuster you are, you will be doing investigative work. Once an insurance claim is filed, a claims adjuster is called in to take over the process. They gather information and details to work out what happened in the incident and find a fair settlement price. 

Some of the information a claims adjuster collects during their investigation include:

  • Police reports 
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of an incident or property damage
  • Statements from everyone involved in an incident

Each type of adjuster has different goals when conducting their investigation. For example, a public adjuster wants to get the highest possible amount paid to the insured, whereas a company/staff adjuster or independent adjuster works in the interest of the insurance company.

Download our free eBook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Are Claims Adjuster Jobs Stressful?

Working as a claims adjuster can be stressful, especially during difficult times like natural disasters. Communicating and negotiating with someone who recently lost all of their possessions can be demanding and difficult.   

Work Environment

Claims adjusters can work from home, work in an office, or work in a hybrid environment depending on their role, employer, and subject matter of the claim. When investigating a claim, most adjusters will need to travel to conduct their investigation, especially if the claim involves property damage. 

What Hours Do Claims Adjusters Work?

The hours claims adjusters work vary considerably. A company or staff adjuster for an insurance company may work regular 9 to 5 hours and rarely on weekends; independent or public adjusters are more likely to work irregular hours to accommodate client schedules and do investigative work.

Independent and public adjusters, in particular, may have to work well over 40 hours a week during catastrophic events. However, there will also be times during the year when their workload is much less. As contract adjusters, they have more control over how much they want to work than company or staff adjusters.

While being a company or staff adjuster is a steady 40-hour-per-week job, the independent and public routes offer more flexibility. If it’s the busy season, you could work well over 40 hours per week, but you could work considerably fewer hours during less busy times.

Claims Adjuster Salary

Salaries can vary from state to state however the median base salary for a claims adjuster in the United States is around $65,000. The more experience an individual has, the more money they can expect to earn as a claims adjuster.

Job Outlook for Claims Adjusters

Currently, there are 349,400 claims adjuster jobs in the United States. From 2020 - 2030, over 25,000 jobs are expected to become available each year. These openings should provide interested individuals with enough opportunities to become a claims adjuster.

Similar Occupations

There are many positions that are similar to being a claims adjuster. Some of them are within the insurance industry and some are in other industries like finance. Jobs that are similar to a claims adjuster include:

  • Appraisers and Assessors
  • Brokerage Clerks
  • Compliance Officers and Inspectors
  • Cost Estimators
  • Credit Analysts
  • Fire Inspectors
  • Insurance Underwriters
  • Insurance Policy Clerks
  • Loan Clerks
  • Tax Emaniers
  • Title Examiners

Getting Started as an Insurance Adjuster

To become an insurance adjuster, you will need a minimum education of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. While some insurance companies may require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, it is not required to get into the profession in all cases.

In some states, you will also need to have an adjuster license. Even if you don’t live in a state requiring a license, you may decide to get an out-of-state license, called a Designated Home State license, so you are able to work throughout the country. 

The Designated Home State adjuster license is available to individuals who are residents of a state that does not license adjusters, or to individuals that are company adjusters and reside in a state that only licenses independent adjusters and want to designate a non-resident state as their home state. By obtaining a license in another state under the Designated Home State exemption, adjusters can adjust claims in the designated state and any states that have reciprocity with the designated state.  

For example, a Florida 70-20 Non-Resident Designated Home State Adjuster license provides non-Florida residents a chance to designate Florida as their “home state” and work claims in Florida along with many other states. 

Which States Require an Adjuster License? >>

If you get licensed, you will need to maintain that license with insurance continuing education. Each state has unique requirements, so it’s best that you consult your state department of insurance website for specific details.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - August 11, 2022
Tree on a damaged home representing a scene a claims adjuster would evaluate

How to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster

If you like investigative work, crunching numbers, and negotiating settlements, you could have a bright future as an insurance claims adjuster. Regardless of whether you are interested in a steady 9 to 5 job, or would prefer to choose when and how much you work, there’s an insurance claims career path that is right for you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is an Insurance Claims Adjuster?

Claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims to determine the liability of insurance companies. Adjusters can assess claims involving:

  • Construction defects
  • Equipment losses
  • Fires
  • Mechanical and electrical failures
  • Natural disasters
  • Personal injuries
  • Third-person property damage

Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters >>

Required Skills to Be an Insurance Adjuster

The skills required to become an insurance adjuster can seem straightforward but put in practice can be difficult. Adjusters will need customer service skills such as: patience, empathy, and communication. 

For example, when talking with an individual who just lost their house in a natural disaster, the adjuster should be respectful while working through the claims process with the insured.

Insurance adjusters should also be able to drive a vehicle and learn a claims management system. Claims software such as Xactimate can make the process go smoothly but each environment will have its own set of operating procedures that new adjusters will need to learn.

Insurance Claims Adjuster Education Requirements

To become a claims adjuster, applicants should have a high school diploma or GED. Depending on the employer or specific job requirements, applicants may need an associate's or bachelor's degree. 

Licenses For Insurance Adjusters

The state you reside in determines if a license is required to function as an insurance adjuster.

Which States Require an Adjuster License? >>

If you live in a state that requires a license, you will need to pass an exam to earn the license and renew the license with continuing education credits throughout your career. Each state has its own licensing exam and some state licenses will allow you to adjust in multiple states. 

State Requirements For Renewing Insurance Adjuster License >>

Career Paths for Insurance Claim Adjusters

Becoming a claims adjuster will immerse you into the insurance industry and give you the ability to move into management or analyst positions. Some claims adjusters decide to transition to sales or business development positions with forensic engineering firms or equipment restoration companies.

Salary Ranges

Salaries can vary from state to state however the median base salary for a claims adjuster in the United States is around $65,000. The more experience an individual has, the more money they can expect to earn as a claims adjuster. 

Job Outlook

Currently, over 349,000 claims adjusters are employed in the United States. From 2020 - 2030, over 25,000 jobs are expected to become open each year. This should provide interested individuals with ample opportunities to gain employment as a claims adjuster, especially adjusters with multiple state licenses.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Insurance Adjuster?

For individuals who have no work experience or high school diploma, it may take 2-4 years to meet all the requirements. If an individual has a high school diploma and some relevant work experience, and all they need to do is earn an adjuster's license, it can only take a few weeks to become a claims adjuster. 

Why Become an Insurance Adjuster?

Becoming a claims adjuster can give you the ability to:

  • Earn a salary higher than the average salary in the United States
  • Work from home
  • Be flexible with which claims get worked on
  • Have health insurance and a retirement plan

Download our free eBook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Steps To Becoming an Insurance Adjuster

Below are steps to follow if you are considering becoming an insurance adjuster.

Step 1: Pick an Insurance Adjuster Career Path

There are a few different routes available to claims adjusters. Each path offers different benefits and should be investigated closely to determine which makes the most sense for you.   

Types of Insurance Claims Adjusters >>

Step 2: Complete an Insurance Licensing Course and Exam

Start becoming familiar with the insurance licensing requirements for the states you expect to work claims in. If you live in a state that requires adjusters to be licensed, you should get your home state license first. Typically, that license will have reciprocity with many other states, allowing you to apply for a non-resident adjuster license without needing to take that state’s adjuster licensing exam.

Ease Into Prep with an Insurance License Practice Question Every Day

If you live in a state that does not require an adjuster’s license, you can legally adjust claims without becoming licensed. Since insurance adjusters often deal with natural disasters, however, being licensed in multiple states will help you become a successful claims adjuster. Some state licenses allow you to work in multiple states. If you would like to adjust claims in multiple states while living in a state that does not require an adjuster’s license, you can get a Designated Home State (DHS) license.

The DHS adjuster license is available to an individual who is a resident of a state that does not license adjusters, or to an individual that is a company or staff adjuster and resides in a state that only licenses independent adjusters and wants to designate a non-resident state as their home state. By obtaining a license in another state under the Designated Home State exemption, adjusters can adjust claims in the designated state and any states that have reciprocity with the designated state.  

For example, a Florida 70-20 Non-Resident Designated Home State Adjuster license provides non-Florida residents a chance to designate Florida as their “home state” and work claims in Florida along with many other states. 

Expert Tip: Adjusters with no state licenses may have trouble finding employment as a company or staff adjuster because they usually work for large firms that cover multiple states.

Step 3: Maintain Licensure (Continuing Education)

States that require licenses likely also require continuing education credits for adjuster license renewal. Continuing education (CE) credits can be earned from live or online courses. Occasionally, CE can also be earned from employer-provided training sessions, or by publishing articles or giving lectures related to the insurance claims industry. 

Check your state’s licensing requirements to find out what CE is required and how you can fulfill those requirements to keep your license active. 

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - August 11, 2022
Claims adjuster reviewing damage to a vehicle

NAIC Adopts Best Interest Standard

Best interest standard and fiduciary rules have been the focus of several regulatory bodies, especially after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the DOL Fiduciary Rule in 2018. Earlier this year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted a best interest rule as a revision to Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (#275), enabling state regulators and legislatures to take up the rule. This article provides an overview of best interest rules (including the NAIC best interest rule), who is adopting them, and what they mean for insurers.
 
In February 2020, NAIC enacted its own best interest standard as a revision to its regulation 275. In a press release, NAIC describes it like this: “All recommendations by agents and insurers must be in the best interest of the consumer and ... agents and carriers may not place their financial interest ahead of the consumer’s interest in making the recommendation.” The rule requires that agents and carriers act with “reasonable diligence, care, and skill” in making recommendations. 
 
Now that NAIC has approved the revision and issued guidelines, the insurance regulators in all 50 states and the U.S. territories can take it up in their respective jurisdictions. 

Best Interest Standard Definition

Best interest is a term used in a number of situations including the medical and legal fields. In the financial sector it means setting aside any personal beliefs or biases and working for the good of the client at all times. It goes beyond recommending what may be a good fit and finding the best fit.

The NAIC Best Interest Standard Protects Annuity Consumers

The updated NAIC Annuity standard requires insurance producers to recommend annuities that are not only suitable for the client, but are in the clients best interest. For example, if you are looking for a new car to use for your daily commute virtually any automobile is suitable for your needs. However not all automobiles are in your best interest. To determine your best interest the automobile dealer needs to understand more about you, your needs and your wants. They would need to document those needs and wants and disclose any conflicts of interest they may have. This may even require that dealer to recommend an automobile sold by another dealership.

 

About NAIC Model Regulation

Founded in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The NAIC is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories to coordinate regulation of multistate insurers.
 
The NAIC promulgates model regulations for many insurance products providing guidance to state insurance departments. Each individual state regulates their insurance business and may use the NAIC model regulations to help in that process.
 

NAIC Model Regulation for Suitability in Annuity Transactions

In 2010, the NAIC introduced their Model Regulation 275 - Suitability in Annuity Transactions. This model regulation outlined an insurance producer’s responsibilities when recommending an annuity to a client. In 2020 the NAIC updated that model to require insurance producer’s to work in their client’s best interests.
 
According to the NAIC Best Interest standard, to satisfy the best interest obligation, a producer or an insurer must satisfy the four obligations: 
  • Care 
  • Disclosure
  • Conflict of interest
  • Documentation
To satisfy the four obligations, when making a recommendation, producers must: 
  • Know the consumer’s financial situation, insurance needs and financial objectives.
  • Understand the available recommendation options. 
  • Have a reasonable basis to believe the recommended option effectively addresses the consumer’s financial situation, insurance needs and financial objectives. 
  • Communicate the basis of the recommendation to the consumer. 
  • Disclose their role in the transaction, their compensation, and any material conflicts of interest.
  • Document, in writing, any recommendation and the justification for such recommendation.

NAIC Suitability in Annuity Transactions: Model Regulation Training Requirements

The NAIC Annuity model requires insurance producers to successfully complete a four hour annuity product training course that covers the types of annuities, uses of annuities, taxation of annuities and more. Importantly the regulation requires that appropriate sales practices are part of this training. 
 
For those producers who have completed this training already, states who have adopted the Best Interest standard require a new 4 hour or a supplemental 1 hour best interest course. These courses ensure the producer understands the best interest sales practices. For those who have not completed the 4 hour annuity product course, that new 4 hour course is required. 
 

NAIC States’ Plans

Iowa was the first state to put the new NAIC rule in play. They have been followed by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota,Nebraska, Ohio and Rhode Island. States with rules pending include Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.

New York, for example, will not revise Regulation 187 to meet the NAIC best interest rule because New York wants to hold brokers and agents to a higher standard. Some states appear to be taking New York’s view. Massachusetts finalized its own fiduciary standard, although it excluded insurance agents, and New Jersey, Nevada, and Maryland are pursuing similar rules.
 

When you look at a best interest rule like New York’s or the NAIC’s and compare it with the fiduciary standard for CFP® professionals, it’s hard to tell the difference. After enacting its Regulation Best Interest (BI), the SEC indicated that it views fiduciary and best interest as the same. Other organizations, most notably CFP Board, maintain that the fiduciary standard is stricter. 

A fiduciary standard, says CFP Board, “should put the interests of the client first and should include both a duty of care and a duty of loyalty.” Certain consumer groups and states agree. They don’t feel the “best interest” standard goes far enough. 
Many states prefer the NAIC rule, with 11 adopting the rules already. Another 7 states have Annuity Best Interest rules pending in their legislatures.
 

States Adopting and Proposing NAIC Requirements and Courses

Kaplan will be following the progression of the NAIC Best Interest Rule, along with any other standards individual states adopt. We encourage you to follow along. As they become part of each state’s insurance continuing education, we will also add them to our insurance CE packages

States Adopting NAIC Requirements

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

States Proposing NAIC Requirements

  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

States with NAIC Courses Released

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio 
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

States with NAIC Courses Pending

  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts

Best Interest Standard Training Courses for Annuity Agents

If you are ready for a Best Interest Standard Training Course, you can get started with Kaplan’s 1-Hour Training Course, or dive right into our 4-Hour Training Course. Learn more about training course options in your state.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by Randy Kemnitz, Ph.D., CFP® - January 14, 2022
NAIC Best Interest Rule - Caring for Client

Video Series: ESG & Socially Responsible Investing

Our experts discuss emerging topics in socially responsible and ESG investing.

As investment practices shift toward sustainability and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts, Jennifer Coombs, Associate Professor at the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company and Michael Young, Manager of Education Programs, from The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) address questions important to financial professionals.

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Posted by CFFP, a Kaplan Company - June 14, 2021

VIDEO: Insurance Exam Study Tips

Join Kaplan Financial Education experts Julie Ramsey and Mary Orn as they discuss some key insurance license exam study tips. Mary and Julie have helped thousands of students pass their insurance licensing exams and they have put together these exam study tips to help you succeed too. By following their eight tips, you will be able to put together an efficient study plan to pass the exam the first time.

 

Mary: Hello, my name is Mary Orn.

Julie: Hi, I'm Julie Ramsey. And welcome to our studio. We want to give you the inside track, so welcome. Mary and I are here today, and we wanted to show you the studio. What we've done here is lots of insurance videos, and these are to help people who are going through the licensing process, because a lot of times, insurance seems like a different language, doesn't it? And so, these are just to break down the concepts and make it simple. So welcome.

Mary: As instructors, we've helped thousands of students pass their exam, and we've put together some study tips to help you as you prepare for your state exam. Our number one recommendation is that you print the state exam outline. You can get it from one of two spots...either the website of your department of insurance or from the testing provider.

Julie: That's really good information, Mary, because one of the biggest mistakes that students make is they treat all of the information the same. This is just as important as this, and it's not when you're studying for your exam. You want to prioritize the most heavily tested, down to the least heavily tested. Prioritize those...so the state the exam outline does that. So study those first five sections really well. Know them inside and out, and then you can just go down by priority.

Mary: Yes, it's important because there's a weighting to the exam. Certain topics are questioned more than others. Another tip is to utilize the practice exams. This is a good chance to practice reading the full question.

Julie: Absolutely, that's really important. And when you're taking these practice exams, your goal is to score an 80% or better, and consistently. Don't just take one exam, do well on it, and say, "Okay, good, I'm done studying." Because if I'm scoring consistently in every session, if I'm scoring 80% or better, I should pass the first time.

Mary: And take notes when you're going through the practice exams. Jot down what it is you got wrong. Don't rewrite the whole question, but just make sure you understand why you got a particular question wrong.

Julie: That's a really good point. It also helps you find efficiencies. "Gosh, I'm really having a hard time understanding annuities," or "I'm really having a hard time understanding this." So you're right...I could learn where I need to hone in on. Mary, I've got another test taking tip.

Mary: Let me hear it.

Julie: Okay. It is time management. How should I best utilize my time, so that I'm prepared and can pass the test the first time?

Mary: So what you're saying is, don't cram the night before?

Julie: Pretty much.

Mary: No all-nighters. Here's what you need to do. After you complete your prelicensing course, spend two to three days studying for your exam. As Julie mentioned, there's a priority that you want to put into place. There's a weighting to the exam. Study the most difficult items first, study the areas where you're weaker first. Get a good night's sleep, and then the morning of the exam, give yourself a little mental vacation, a little break.

Julie: You deserve it. Another test taking tip is scratch paper. When you go take that exam, they're going to give you a piece of scratch paper. And you want to best utilize that scratch paper. Mary, do you have any thoughts for that?

Mary: I do. I love this one because this allows you to do a memory dump. You walk into the test with your piece of paper before you do anything related to the exam. Put everything from your brain down onto the paper. Formulas, acronyms, charts, anything you want to make sure you remember, and then you set it aside. When you come to that question, you can quickly take a peek at the notes that you've written.

Julie: Now that's a really good idea, and it also helps with problem areas. We see a lot of folks that have problems with homeowners. And in one of our taping sessions, we have an instructor who goes through the different areas of homeowners, and we have this homeowners chart. And if I know I'm having problems in that area, then I can memorize that chart. I can write that down on the scratch paper when I go take my test and be successful.

Mary: Perfect. Read the full question. That is really important when you are taking your exam. There will be a lot of information in there, and chances are, what the question is really getting at is that last sentence.

Julie: That's a really good point. A lot of times when people take the test, it's not what you know, but it's can you take a test? So you really want to break down that question and know what it's asking. So here's our recommendation. The first time, read the question. The second time...yes, you do have to look at twice...read the question and then answer it, and then look over it a third time. So you're going to read the question, you see your answer, and then you say, "Yeah, you know what? I got this right." And you want to do that with every question, not just one, but all of them. So, each question you're looking at three times. You're confident, and you're ready to move on.

Mary: It's important to weed out extra information. As I mentioned, there's going to be a lot of stuff in that question. Use the answers to help tip you off. Many times, some of the answers, two or three, might be similar. They might contain some of the same information, so you can read through those and go, "Oh yeah, that's what they're talking about." Now, I'm going to go back into the question and read it again as part of that three-step process. Caution…after you’ve read through everything and answered your question, move on. Don't sit and think about it, don't go back and change your answer. Chances are the first one you put down is the correct one.

Julie: That's a very good point. I've got another one.

Mary: Let's hear it.

Julie: Pace yourself. You know, it's not a race. You don't get an award at the end if you're the first one done.

Mary: Don't spend too long on one question. Get yourself into a nice, steady rhythm so that you're reading the question and the answers. You go through your three-step process, you answer, you move on. If you're not sure, mark it. If you have time at the end of your test, you can come back and do a quick little review.

Julie: That's a really good idea. And, you know, I have a hard time sitting down when I'm taking an exam for that long of a period of time. It's not like when I was studying, where I can get up and go make popcorn or get a candy bar. And so I have a hard time sometimes focusing, and a lot of students find that too. So what we recommend is taking a break. How do you take a break? I'm there, I have to take the test. Every 30 questions, maybe just put your head down. Just rest, kind of clear your mind, so then you're fresh and you're ready to go. Just do that every 30 questions and pace yourself.

Mary: And it can be very stressful to take this test, so you want to make sure you stay relaxed and give yourself that mental break.

Julie: Absolutely.

Mary: Watch out for the “except” questions...questions that end in the word "except."

Julie: That's a really good point. The words "except," "never," "always," a lot of times throw students off. So we want to talk about turning that “except” question into a direct question. Now we're not asking you to rewrite the question...that would be way too hard. But what you can do is take the word "except" and just put it up on a shelf. Just ignore it for a minute.

Mary: Perfect. So the question may be, "All of the following are agent responsibilities except…." And as Julie mentioned, you're going to take that word out and put it on the shelf. And now what you're looking at is a question that says, "All of the following are agent responsibilities." You've just turned that into a true-false question. Now, you can read through the four answers, decide which are true, which are false, and you get to your one exception.

Julie: So you're saying the eeny, meeny, miny, moe game doesn't work with this?

Mary: No more eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

Julie: Okay, all right. Well, I've got one more.

Mary: Go.

Julie: The testing site. Now you're going to schedule your test ahead of time. But the day of the test, know where you're going. Leave early. There could be construction, there could be traffic, and you're sitting there, and you're freaking out for your test. Additionally, schedule the exam in the morning if you can. I mean, it doesn't have to be at 7 am, by no means, but schedule it in the first part of the day. That way, you're confident, you're ready to go, you're fresh, and ready to take the test.

Mary: The last thing you want to do is go through an entire day of work, or family life, or things that are taking your mind away from the exam, and then have to go in to take the test.

Julie: Absolutely.

Mary: Now, it's okay to be nervous. It's good to be nervous, but also have confidence in yourself. You have prepared for this exam!

 
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Need more help getting ready for the insurance licensing exam? Check out Kaplan's Insurance Licensing exam prep programs , which are available in all 50 states.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - August 14, 2020
woman studying for her insurance licensing exam

How Hard is the Life and Health Insurance Exam?

If you've learned what a life insurance agent does and are now considering a career in the life and health insurance field, you are probably wondering, “Is the life and health insurance exam hard?” Each state has their own insurance exams, so the tests and requirements vary, making this question more complicated to answer. However, the overarching topics covered on the exam, as well as the passing scores, are similar for all states. If you have a good understanding of the topics and how the exam works, you are well on your way to passing the life and health insurance exam.

For life and health insurance exams, you will be tested on the following general topics:

  • Life insurance general knowledge
  • Life insurance policies
  • Policy riders and options in life insurance coverage
  • Life insurance tax issues
  • Annuities
  • Annuity policy tax issues
  • Health insurance general knowledge
  • Dental, individual, and group policies
  • Medical plans
  • Disability income
  • Special needs individual insurance
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  • Health insurance tax issues

You will want to print out the State Exam Outline so you understand what material will be covered under each of these topics and how it will be weighted on the exam. The State Exam Outline tells you how many questions are included in each section of the test. We advise you to focus more of your study time on sections that have more exam questions.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Pass Rates and Recommended Study Time

From what we know, insurance exam pass rates fluctuate considerably by state. Some states publish their pass rates while others do not, making it impossible to offer an accurate national pass rate for any exam. Nevertheless, the passing score for all exams is 70%, and utilizing exam study tools can help you gauge whether or not you are on target to pass on the first try.

The average exam-taker should expect to spend about 35 to 40 hours studying to pass the life and health insurance exam. It is recommended that you do your studying over the course of a few weeks (an insurance certification study package can help with this), rather than trying to cram the week of or night before the exam. We recommend spending 2 to 3 days studying after your licensing course to keep the information fresh in your mind.

Study Tips

When studying, try to remove distractions around you. It can be easy to get distracted by your phone, TV, or the Internet. For your brain to absorb new information, it is important that you do your best to avoid multitasking and stay focused on what you’re studying. You may find that setting a study schedule over a period of a few weeks will help you carve out time where you can solely focus on preparing for the exam.

Once you have a good handle on the material, be sure to utilize practice exams. These will help you gauge how well you have absorbed the information in your studies and what areas you still need to work on. It is a good idea to take at least one practice exam while mimicking testing conditions. This will help you determine whether your pacing is right to get through the exam in the allotted time.

The life and health insurance exam can be challenging; however, you can pass with flying colors on your first try by following our recommendations. Now that you have a better understanding of the life and health insurance exam and how you can successfully prepare for it, check out this video from Kaplan’s Julie Ramsey and Mary Orn with more insurance exam study tips.

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Ensure you are prepared for the life and health insurance licensing exam with Kaplan's insurance license exam prep solutions. We have study options to suit all learning styles. Get started today.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - July 31, 2020
Woman preparing for the life and health insurance exam

5 Reasons Insurance Sales is a Good Career

If you are thinking of a career change or you recently graduated college, there are a lot of good reasons to to pursue a career in insurance. Read on to learn 5 reasons why many of our insurance students choose insurance sales.

1. Unlimited Earning Potential

Many people are drawn to the insurance industry because of the unlimited potential it offers to those in sales. Agents with limited experience can achieve financial success relatively quickly. While it can take time to build a book of clients, and we tell agents to count on the first few years not being lucrative, there is endless potential to make money in the long term. If you can start a good referral program, your current clients can help you continue to build your book of business.

Independent agents are paid solely on commission, while captive agents will often get a combination of salary and commission. Either way, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to grow your income.

2. Great Flexibility

If the 9 to 5 lifestyle isn’t for you, you will like the flexibility that a career in insurance sales offers. Whether you become an independent agent or a captive agent, you can often vary your appointment times with some evenings and weekends, not only to accommodate clients but your own life as well. You can have a free weekday to schedule personal appointments, enjoy activities, and run errands.

If you go the independent agent route, you also have the flexibility to sell a larger variety of products. This will allow you to better match your clients’ needs with the best fitting products and gradually earn their trust.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

3. Make a Difference

Insurance policies protect people from financial loss because of unexpected events and circumstances. As an insurance agent, you get to guide your clients’ decisions on what insurance policy plans best suit their needs. The research you do and recommendations you provide have a real impact on a client’s financial well-being down the road.

Insurance agents help people prepare for the future. From helping clients save for retirement and college for their kids to financing a large purchase like a house or car, insurance agents have the potential to help people achieve their financial and personal goals. They also prepare clients for unfortunate events and provide a measure of comfort to clients during such events.

4. Few Barriers to Entry

Due to the low barriers of entry, insurance sales is a good career choice for people who are transitioning into a new career following a major life change. It only takes a few weeks or months to study for the state licensing exam, pass the exam, and start selling insurance.

A college degree is preferred but is not required in many insurance firms. Unlike many other finance-related positions, prior experience is also not required.

5. Variety of Work

If the monotony of doing the same work over and over is unappealing, a career in insurance sales is definitely a good option for you. Many insurance agents agree they love the variety of work insurance sales provides. There are some tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, but for the most part, agents are constantly meeting new people and helping them achieve their financial goals.

Insurance agents often have to do a lot more besides sell insurance. They have to grow their business, do marketing, respond to inquiries via email or phone, and be proficient in social media platforms. They also maintain records and research prospects. In addition, it is important that insurance agents keep up with industry news, trends, and government regulations. For this reason, continuing education is required for insurance agents in all states (education requirements vary by state). Having these 10 traits can help, as well.

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Think a career in insurance sales is the right one for you? Learn the process for becoming an insurance agent now. If you are ready to start insurance licensing exam prep , choose your state to get started with Kaplan’s exam prep packages.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - July 31, 2020
Female insurance agent explaining policy to clients

How to Pass the Property and Casualty Exam

To sell property and casualty insurance, you need a Property and Casualty license. But first, you must first pass the licensing exam in the state in which you want to sell insurance. The licensing process varies by state, as does the passing score and pass rate. However, the exam structure and content topics are generally the same across states. We recommend you follow these best practices for studying in order to pass your Property and Casualty exam.  

Start Studying Early/Set a Study Calendar

The average insurance exam-taker should expect to spend about 35 to 40 hours studying to pass the Property and Casualty exam. It is recommended that you study for the exam over the course of a few weeks, rather than trying to cram the week of the exam. The best way to avoid cramming is to set a study plan and stick to it. If you take a course with Kaplan, you can simply plug in your exam date into our study calendar tool, and we’ll set a study plan to keep you on track.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Focus on the State Exam Outline

You will want to print out the State Exam Outline for General Lines Property and Casualty Agent so you understand what material will be covered under each of these topics, as well as how it will be weighted on the exam. The State Exam Outline explains how many questions are included in each section of the test. We recommend that you concentrate on the sections with the most questions so you can attain mastery of the key topics.

Remove Distractions

For your brain to absorb new information, it is important that you do your best to avoid multitasking and stay focused on what you’re studying. This can be much easier said than done. You may find that setting a study schedule over a period of a few weeks will help you carve out time where you can solely focus on preparing for the exam. Try to remove distractions around you, such as your phone, TV, or the Internet whenever possible. Some people find the Pomodoro technique helps them focus better—this is where you set a timer for a 25-minute interval to focus on one specific task, followed by a 5-minute break. 

Utilize Practice Exams

Be sure to utilize Property and Casualty practice exams in your studies. These will help you gauge how well you have absorbed the information you’ve read and figure out which areas still need your attention. It is a good idea to take at least one practice exam while mimicking testing conditions. This will help you determine whether your pacing is right to get through the exam in the allotted time.

Take an Exam Prep Course

While not all states require it, it is a good idea to take an insurance certification course for your Property and Casualty licensing exam. Not only will it help you make sense of the material, but it will help you prioritize and stay on track with your study calendar. With Kaplan, you can choose from live online classes, OnDemand courses, or printed books for self-study. No matter which study option you choose, you’ll receive the License Exam Manual (LEM), State Law Supplement, a QBank containing hundreds of practice questions, and access to an expert instructor.

The Property and Casualty insurance licensing exam is challenging. It requires hard work and effort to prepare, but by following these study tips, you should be well on your way to passing the exam on the first try. It's also helpful to learn what to expect on exam day.

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If you are interested in Property and Casualty exam prep from Kaplan, you can choose from our exam prep options here. We have a study package for every type of learner!

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - July 31, 2020
Umbrella protecting a home

How to Sell Insurance

How to sell insurance is top of mind for anyone who is considering this rewarding career. Insurance sales requires hard work, determination, networking, marketing, followup, and a genuine interest in people’s lives, plans, and future. It means working on commission (in most cases) and having at least one insurance license. This article describes the steps to follow for selling insurance.

1. Decide what type of insurance to sell and earn your license.

Insurance sales is a broad category, and one insurance license doesn’t cover all the different types. So, you should choose what kind of insurance you’d like to sell. The common options are life, health, property, and casualty insurance. Two other types that are fairly common are surplus line insurance, which covers unusual situations with risks not addressed by standard insurance, and variable products insurance, which have an investment element.

To earn an insurance license for everything except variable products insurance (you need a FINRA Series 6 license for that), you need to be at least 18 years old. You will have to pass an exam administered by the state where you want to sell insurance. Many states require you to complete prelicensing education before taking the exam. You must also pass a background check that can include fingerprinting.

2. Choose how you want to sell insurance.

There are two ways you can sell insurance after you earn your license. You can be a “captive” or an independent agent. Captive agents work for a specific insurance carrier and can only sell its insurance products to prospects and clients. Typically, their office expenses are paid for, and they receive benefits and continuing education training.

Independent agents work for themselves and sell the products of different insurers. They use their own resources to start and market their business, but they typically earn larger commissions than captive agents. By offering products from different carriers, they can tailor solutions specifically for their prospects and clients.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

3. Generate leads.

After earning your license and choosing how you want to sell insurance, you’re ready to start selling. You know you need to help clients understand differences in insurance policies so they can choose the plan that’s right for them, but first you need to get those clients. So, how do you do that? You will have to generate leads.

If you’re working as a captive agent, your employer may provide you with leads, usually by selling them to you. If you’re working independently, you will need to generate leads in other ways. Many independent agents purchase lists and some even engage insurance marketing organizations or field marketing organizations to help them with marketing and lead generation.

Even with help from another party, it’s always a good policy to make sure you also get leads the old-fashioned way—by networking and using referrals. Encourage family and friends to refer you. Participate in insurance and other community events to get the word out that you’re an insurance agent. Remember to create a website and profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and keep up with them regularly, engaging as much as you can.

4. Make your pitch.

Selling insurance to your leads is all about the pitch. You need to present yourself well, speak in the language your prospects understand (no slang or jargon), and demonstrate empathy with their situations. When you put yourself in their shoes, you can better explain how your insurance products will benefit them.

Potential clients are looking for a solution and benefits, not a list of features. Therefore, you should examine and understand how the features you offer solve problems so you can make appropriate solution recommendations. This is called solution selling, and it is more effective than just listing features like a 24x7 helpline or a one-click accounting report.

Many leads might think they don’t need insurance or are reluctant to commit to the best policy, fearing the cost. Or, they might be required by a bank or law to purchase insurance and want the lowest-price option. In those cases, you should ask questions that will get them to focus on what could happen without the proper amount or type of insurance:

  • What’s the most valuable thing in your house?
  • What happens if it is stolen?
  • What kind of serious weather events—such as floods, hurricanes, blizzards, or storms—have happened near your house?
  • If you passed away, how long would your family be able to live on your savings?
  • How much do you think a funeral costs?
  • What would happen to your job if you were permanently injured?
  • If you’re injured or hospitalized for a long period of time, how would you and your family be supported?

After you get answers to those questions, you can explain how the insurance solutions you provide can help them safeguard for those situations.

Step 5. Follow these tips.

Here are some additional tips that can help you get new clients and keep them:

  • Create sales goals to keep you on track throughout the year.
  • Find something in common with prospects and clients to put them (and yourself) at ease.
  • Find opportunities to learn from experienced coworkers or, if you’re independent, from other independent agents.
  • Keep up with the markets and insurance trends so you can introduce new solutions to prospects and existing clients.
  • Listen to your prospects and clients more than you talk to them.
  • Never miss an opportunity to network.
  • Partner with other professionals, like lawyers and accountants, who can answer client questions that you can’t. Then, offer to answer insurance questions that they can’t as a way to get referrals.

Think Selling Insurance Is Right for You?

If you’re excited about helping people plan for the future with the right insurance products, your first step is earning your license. Exam preparation packages can help increase your chances of passing, so you can start your exciting new career.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - July 31, 2020
Selling insurance - conceptual image

Is Selling Life Insurance a Good Career Opportunity?

Is selling life insurance a good career opportunity? For those who like helping people and don’t mind hard work, the answer is yes. Life insurance agents sell policies and annuities. They work with all kinds of clients and beneficiaries, and most agree that it is a rewarding career. So, if you are interested in financial planning, or you have a sales background and are pondering a career change, life insurance sales is definitely worth considering. This article lists the main reasons why.

Life Insurance Sales Offers Excellent Earning Potential

A career in life insurance sales has unlimited earning potential. Life insurance agents do a lot of selling, and life insurance policy commission percentages are high compared to those of other types of insurance. In addition, life insurance agents get paid commission renewals for as long as a sold policy is in force.

You should not expect financial success right away, however. It takes a few years of hard work and networking to acquire clients. You also must be interested in marketing and have a knack for it. Once you have a solid list of policyholders and put effort into a referral program, you can continue building your book of business and grow your income.

Want advice on getting started in insurance from successful agents? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Life Insurance Agents Have Flexible Hours

Life insurance agents have the option of following a schedule that is not a traditional 9-to-5 workday. A career in life insurance sales offers you the opportunity to vary your appointment times with some evenings and weekends. This schedule can not only accommodate client availability but yours as well. You can have a free weekday to schedule personal appointments, enjoy activities, and run errands. More importantly, your clients will get the attention they need at times that are convenient for them.

Life Insurance Agents Help People

Life insurance policies let people make sure their loved ones are provided for after they’re gone. As a life insurance agent, you get to help people make decisions on what insurance policy plans will work best for their beneficiaries. Your research and recommendations can make a big difference for a client’s family down the road while offering them peace of mind. And, should an unfortunate event occur, you can provide a measure of comfort to those dealing with loss.

Getting Started in Life Insurance Sales Is Easy

Life insurance sales jobs are abundant and easy to find. It’s a good choice for people who want to change careers or for anyone who wants to get started in a career quickly after high school or college. It only takes a few weeks or months to study for the state licensing exam, pass the exam, and start selling life insurance. A college degree is preferred but is not required in many insurance firms. Unlike many other finance-related positions, no prior experience is needed.

Selling Life Insurance Is Interesting

If the monotony of doing the same work over and over is unappealing, a career in life insurance sales is definitely a good option for you. Many life insurance agents agree they love the variety of work. There are some tasks that need to be done regularly, but, for the most part, agents are constantly meeting new people and helping them take care of their families and loved ones.

Life insurance agents also do a lot more than just sell insurance. They are often educators, explaining the ins and outs of all the products they sell in a way that is easy to understand. They must grow their businesses, market themselves, respond to inquiries via email or phone, and be proficient in social media platforms. They also maintain records and research prospects while keeping up with industry news, trends, and government regulations.

Ready to Pursue a Career Selling Life Insurance?

If life insurance sales appeals to you, this article explains more about what your work will be like. To get started, you must have a life insurance license. To earn an insurance certification, you might need to complete prelicensing education for the state where you plan to work (26 states require prelicensing education). In addition, you must pass either a life insurance or a life and health insurance exam.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - July 30, 2020
Woman successful selling life insurance

How to Pass the Life Insurance Exam

To sell life insurance, there are several paths you can take, but all of them include passing at least one exam. You can earn a life insurance license, which, depending on the state you want to work, can be either be held separately from a health insurance license or together. If you want to sell certain forms of life insurance as part of selling securities, you’ll need to pass exams from FINRA and NASAA that include other types of investments.

This article shows you the steps to passing the life insurance exam and earning your license.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free eBook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 1: Learn Your State’s Requirements and Get the Exam Outline

Each state has different requirements and different types of exams. So, the first thing you should do is check with the department of insurance in your state (or the state where you’ll be working) for the requirements. For example, some states require their licensing candidates to complete prelicensing education before they take the exam. So, before you sign up for the exam, you’ll want to make sure you’ve fulfilled that requirement. You should also verify whether you need a sponsor to take an exam—some states won’t let you take the exam without one. And, finally, be sure to print the exam outline for your state.

Step 2: Schedule Your Exam

You can choose the date and time of your exam in most states. Scheduling options are usually on the respective state’s department of insurance website. To give yourself time to study, schedule your exam at least two weeks in advance. The cost to take the exam varies from state to state, but expect it to range from $40 to $150.

Step 3: Have a Study Plan to Pass the Life Insurance Exam

You’ll need to devote about 35 to 40 hours of studying if you expect to pass. Cramming is not recommended. Instead, plan to study for the exam over the course of several weeks. Have a realistic plan that’s easy for you to stick to, dividing your study time into study sessions that give you plenty of time to absorb material. Setting up a study calendar can help you follow your plan. A insurance certification study package can help you stay on track so you don't cram at the last minute.

Step 4: Follow the State Exam Outline

The state outline for the exam has a list of the topics that will be covered and how they are weighted. These are the life insurance topics you are most likely to be tested on:

  • Life insurance general knowledge
  • Life insurance policies
  • Policy riders and options in life insurance coverage
  • Life insurance tax issues
  • Annuities
  • Annuity policy tax issues

If you are taking a combined exam, there will be health insurance topics as well. The exam outline also tells you the number of questions included in each section of the exam. You should concentrate on the sections with the most questions and the topics with the most weights so that you master what’s most important first. You have a better chance of success if you follow that plan.

Step 5: Prepare and Practice

Taking an exam preparation review course can increase your chances of passing. You can choose between live classes, online courses, or printed books for self-study. You should also take practice exams. These will help you determine how well you have absorbed the material and what still needs your attention. A mock or practice exam that mimics test conditions enables you to judge whether your pacing is right for finishing the exam in the allotted time.

Step 6: Know the Exam Center Process

Often what trips students up is not knowing what to expect on exam day, even if they are otherwise prepared. Try visiting the test center before the exam—see how long it takes to get there and get a feel for the testing area. Find out what forms of identification are needed to take the exam so you can have them ready on exam day; each state has its own requirements. On the day of the exam, try to arrive at least 30 minutes early. You should expect to put all of your belongings in a locker before you get assigned to a testing cubicle. When you get to your assigned test spot, an employee will explain the expected conduct to you.

Step 7: Stay Calm and Take the Exam

Here are some tips for how to handle questions on the exam:

  • Read each question carefully and thoroughly before answering it. Most questions will have a lot of detail and qualifying information in them. Try to focus only on the information in the question and avoid making assumptions just to fill in the blanks.
  • Find the questions you know the answer to and answer them first. If you find yourself stuck, move on and come back to it later.
  • Don’t leave any questions blank. Guessing the answer still gives you a 25% chance of getting it right. And, If you can eliminate any of the multiple-choice options that you know to be incorrect, you will have any even better chance at guessing the correct answer.

Once you complete the exam, you will get the results. If you pass, you will receive instructions on how to apply for your license with the state. You may have to wait a few days for the testing center to report that you passed before you can apply for your license. If you fail, you will get a diagnostic report so you know what areas to focus on the next time.

Ready to Pass to Your Life Insurance Exam?

Although pass rates are about 70% in most states, the life insurance licensing exam is still no walk in the park. You can Increase your odds of passing the life insurance exam by following these steps. And to give you even more of an advantage, try an insurance licensing exam prep package.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - July 9, 2020
Woman preparing for the life insurance exam

Frequently Asked Questions About the Life Insurance License

To get your life insurance license, you must pass an exam and meet other requirements. The questions most frequently asked about life insurance licensing and the exam—such as license requirements, exam difficulty, passing score, pass rates, questions, and topics—are answered in this article. Read on to get information that can help you plan for a successful career as a life insurance agent.

How do I earn a life insurance license?

You need to be at least 18 years old to earn your life insurance license, and in some states, you’ll be earning a joint life and health insurance license. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Complete any prelicensing education required by the state you want to become licensed in. The number of hours you’ll have to complete and the cost vary by state. Note: A few states do not require prelicensing education, so before you start the process for your state, check with the state’s insurance organization.
  2. Pass the state insurance licensing exam for life insurance or life and health insurance. An  insurance license exam preparation can help.
  3. Pass a background check. The process varies by state and, in some cases, includes fingerprinting.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

What is the difference between a life insurance license and a life and health insurance license?

A life insurance license permits you to sell annuities, term, and cash value (commonly called whole or universal) life insurance. A life and health insurance license enables you to sell these life insurance products, plus policies that provide protection for medical expenses, loss of income due to a disability, and the need for long-term care.

Some states, like Alabama and Florida, offer the options of earning a life insurance license, a health insurance license, and a life and health insurance license. Each of the three types require passing a separate exam. Others, like North Carolina, have separate licenses for life and health but not a combination, and each requires passing a separate exam. Still others, like Missouri, have a combined life and health insurance license only.

What jobs can I get with a life insurance license?

A life insurance license enables you to become a life insurance agent. Life insurance agents sell life insurance policies and annuities and work with clients and beneficiaries to process claims.

Life insurance agents do a lot of selling, so it’s important to be interested in marketing and have a knack for it. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are also required because life insurance agents have to explain the ins and outs of all the products they sell in a way that is easy to understand. Life insurance agents can either be “captive” and work exclusively for one insurance company, or they can be “independent,” selling products from multiple companies.

How hard is the life insurance exam?

Each state has its own insurance exam, so the tests vary, making this question complicated to answer. However, the overarching topics covered on the exam, as well as the passing scores, are similar for all states. No matter where you take it, the test is not a walk in the park. But if you have a good understanding of the topics, you have a good chance of passing the life insurance exam.

What are the life insurance exam topics?

The life insurance exam tests you on specific topics, and these topics are weighted. These are the life insurance topics you are most likely to be tested on in most states:

  • Life insurance general knowledge
  • Life insurance policies
  • Policy riders and options in life insurance coverage
  • Life insurance tax issues
  • Annuities
  • Annuity policy tax issues

If you are taking a combined exam, there will be health insurance topics as well.

What are the requirements for taking the life insurance exam?

To take the life insurance exam, you must:

  1. Have a high school diploma or an equivalent.
  2. Know where you want to sell insurance and what the state requires. If it’s not the state where you currently reside, check to see if you are required to be a resident for a certain amount of time before taking the exam. The bodies of government that regulate insurance have different names, depending on the state, so a good way to find out is to go to the official website of the state and search for the insurance licensing rules.
  3. Meet the specific state exam requirements. In many states, you must complete a specified amount of prelicensing education hours. Visit the official website of the state insurance department or commission and search for the insurance licensing rules.
  4. Register for the exam, which includes paying a registration fee determined by each state.

When is the life insurance exam?

You can choose the date and time of your life insurance exam in most states. Scheduling options are usually on the respective state’s department of insurance website. To give yourself time to study, schedule your exam at least two weeks in advance.

Is the life insurance exam paper- or computer-based?

The life insurance exam is computer-based in all states.

How many questions are on the life insurance exam?

The life insurance exam consists of between 105–150 multiple-choice questions, depending on the state, and whether it is a separate exam or combined with health.

How much time does it take to study for the life insurance exam?

Most candidates study for the life insurance exam for about 35 to 40 hours.

How much does it cost to take the life insurance exam?

The cost to take the exam ranges from $43–$150, depending on your state. You can find the fee on your state’s insurance licensing website. Note that license application fees are separate.

What is the passing score for the life insurance exam?

The passing score is 70 percent in all states.

What is the passing rate for the life insurance exam?

According to a 2016 NAIC document, the passing rate is broad. The lowest passing rate was in Maryland at 40 percent, and the highest was in Wyoming at 87 percent. The majority of states recorded passing rates in the range of 60–67 percent.

How do I pass the life insurance exam?

Follow these steps to increase your chances of passing the exam:

  1. Learn your state’s requirements and get the exam outline. Check with the department of insurance in your state (or the state where you’ll be working) for the requirements and the outline and print it out.
  2. Have a study plan. Cramming for the life insurance exam is not recommended. Instead, have a realistic plan that spreads your study time over several weeks and is easy for you to stick to. An insurance certification study package can help you stay on track so you don't cram at the last minute.
  3. Follow the state exam outline, which has a list of the topics that will be covered and how they are weighted.
  4. Prepare and practice. Review courses and reading can help you prepare. However, you should also take practice exams. These will help you determine how well you have absorbed the material and what still needs your attention.
  5. Know the exam center process. Visit the test center before the exam—see how long it takes to get there and get a feel for the testing area. Find out what forms of identification are needed.
  6. Stay calm while taking the exam. Read each question carefully and thoroughly before answering it. Find the questions you know the answer to, and answer them first. If you find yourself stuck on any question, move on and come back to it later.

If I fail the life insurance exam, what is the wait time before I can retake it?

You will find out if you passed or failed the exam at the testing center. However, you cannot register to take it again at that time. Instead, you must wait 24 hours before you can register again. You can take the exam three times in one year. If you fail it all three times, you will have to complete prelicensing education again before you can take it for a fourth time the following year. This process may vary by state.

Ready to Earn Your Life Insurance License?

We hope this article answers your pressing questions about the life insurance exam and license. If you’re interested in taking the exam, we have life and health exam preparation packages.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 18, 2020
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What Is an Insurance Producer?

An insurance producer sells insurance products to clients on behalf of an insurance company. It is a rewarding career with amazing growth potential. Becoming an insurance producer is also a great way to get started in finance or to make a much-needed career change. This article explains what an insurance producer does, shows you the differences between an insurance producer, agent, and broker, and describes how you can become a producer.

What an Insurance Producer Does

Insurance producers are licensed to sell and negotiate life, health, property, or other types of insurance offered by an insurance company. As an insurance producer, you may work for one insurance company only or represent multiple carriers.

Being a producer includes finding new clients and maintaining relationships with those you already have. Insurance producers need to be a reliable first point of contact when a client needs to file a claim or increase coverage due to major life events, like purchasing a new car or having a child. Other responsibilities include:

  • Calculating premiums and establishing payment methods
  • Monitoring insurance claims and helping clients settle them
  • Fulfilling all policy requirements
  • Customizing insurance programs to suit individual customer needs
  • Inspecting property to examine its overall condition and decide its insurance risk
  • Acting as an intermediary between a customer and the insurance company

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

What’s the Difference Between an Insurance Producer and an Insurance Agent?

There is no difference. The two terms are used interchangeably to describe selling insurance on behalf of a company or multiple carriers. “Insurance agent” is the term used most often in the industry, but “insurance producer” is often the official title that states use for licensing. No matter which term you use, you will have the same responsibilities.

What’s the Difference Between an Insurance Producer and an Insurance Broker?

Insurance producers or agents represent insurance companies. By contrast, insurance brokers represent insurance buyers. In other words, producers look for clients who will buy insurance products, while brokers look for insurance products that will meet their clients’ needs. In addition, an insurance producer can bind a client to a policy whereas an insurance broker cannot. Once a broker has found a product for a buyer, a producer must complete the transaction.

How to Become an Insurance Producer

Before you can become an insurance producer (or agent), you must have a high school diploma and be 18 years of age or older. If you meet these requirements, here are your next steps:

  1. Decide what kind of insurance you want to sell. Examples include life and health, property and casualty, auto, and workers’ compensation.
  2. Learn your state’s prelicensing requirements. Many states require you to complete a specific number of hours of prelicensing education for each type of insurance.
  3. Pass your state’s insurance licensing exam.

You can get all the details on these steps in this article.

Ready to Get Started?

Learn more about what an insurance agent does.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - January 13, 2020
Insurance Producer Concept

Popular Careers in the Insurance Industry: What You Can Do with Your License

What are the most popular insurance careers? If you’re getting ready to graduate or you’re considering a more exciting career alternative, you might be wondering what you can do if you earn your insurance license. To help you decide which license to earn and how to use it, this article describes the most popular types of insurance agents and other top jobs you can get with an insurance license.

Life Insurance Agent: One of the Most Popular Insurance Careers

Life insurance agents sell life insurance policies and annuities and work with clients and beneficiaries to process insurance claims. Life insurance agents do a lot of selling, so it’s important to be interested in marketing and have a knack for it. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are also required because life insurance agents have to explain the ins and outs of all the products they sell in a way that is easy to understand. Life insurance agents can either be “captive” and work exclusively for one insurance company, or they can be “independent,” selling products from multiple companies.

To earn a license to sell life insurance, you might need need to complete prelicensing education for the state where you plan to work (26 states require prelicensing education). You must also pass either a life insurance or a life and health insurance exam. Agent pay is on commission. The average salary for a life insurance agent as of November 2019 was $79,606. You can learn more about this popular option for people with insurance licenses in this article about what a life insurance agent does.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Get advice from 100 insurance professionals in our free eBook, Launching Your Insurance Career.

Health Insurance Agent: Helping Clients Get Healthcare

Health insurance agents sell health-related products and insurance to their clients. Typically, these agents look for clients, share options that meet their requirements, and, when necessary, help them get their claims settled. Health insurance agents can also help people navigate healthcare exchanges and sign up for the coverage that best suits their needs and budget. They must have strong customer service and analytical skills, and they must excel at verbal and written communication, time management, critical thinking, and decision-making. Like life insurance agents, health insurance agents can be captive or independent.

In almost all U.S states, health insurance agent licenses are packaged with life insurance qualifications. You must complete prelicensing education and pass a combined life and health insurance exam to earn your license. The average salary for a health insurance agent as of November 2019 was $55,839. Agents are paid by commission.

Property and Casualty Insurance Agent: A Great Entry-Level Choice

Property and casualty insurance agents help clients insure property, such as auto, home, and jewelry, against possible damage or legal liability, and they help them settle their claims. These agents navigate clients through all the available property and casualty insurance products to help them decide the best way to protect their valuable assets. All states require licensed drivers to carry auto insurance, and mortgage loan companies require homeowners insurance, so there will always be buyers. This makes property and casualty a good entry-level position for a newly licensed agent. Like life insurance and health insurance agents, property and casualty insurance agents can be captive or independent.

To earn a property and casualty insurance license, completing prelicensing education and passing a licensing exam for your state (or the state where you plan to sell) are required. The average salary for a property and casualty insurance agent as of November 2019 was $48,723.

Claims Adjuster: An Investigative Insurance Career

Claims adjusters gather information about what happened in an incident or catastrophe to find a fair settlement price. They collect police reports, witness statements, and photos of an incident or property damage, for example. Adjusters are either full-time employees or contractors who are paid a fee. Some work for only one insurance company. Others work with multiple companies (usually after a catastrophe, often traveling to affected areas). And there are others who work on behalf of policyholders, helping them file insurance claims if a proposed settlement seems unfit from an insurer.

Most states require adjusters to earn a license. They can do this by completing licensing education and passing an exam. The average salary for a claims adjuster as of November 2019 was $54,479. This article explains everything you need to do to become a claims adjuster.

Insurance Underwriter: A Different Insurance Career Path

An insurance underwriter evaluates insurance applications in order to decide whether to provide the insurance and, if so, the coverage amounts and premiums. Underwriters act as go-betweens for insurance agents who are eager to sell a policy and insurance companies who want to minimize risk. For someone with an interest in finance or insurance, an eye for detail, and decision-making skills, it is an attractive career option.

Unlike most other insurance careers, an underwriter does not have to be licensed. However, most participate in underwriting professional development to sharpen their skills and knowledge. Others have found that having an insurance license in the same specialty as their underwriting, such as life or property and casualty, can be beneficial. The average salary for an insurance underwriter as of November 2019 was $71,116. You can get all the details about the insurance underwriting career in this article.

Insurance Careers Are Rewarding and Satisfying

There are a variety of career paths you can take in the insurance industry, depending on your interests and qualifications. Start your new career by downloading this free eBook on launching your insurance career or by checking out our insurance licensing education options.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - November 22, 2019
Insurance Careers - Smiling Agent

New York Amends Regulation 187: What It Means for Insurance

In July 2019, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced an amendment to New York Insurance Regulation 187 that affects annuities and life insurance sales. It requires insurers to establish new standards and procedures for how agents and brokers make insurance and annuity product recommendations. In this article, I’ll explain the amendment, what it means for insurers and producers, and where you can get more education on this regulatory change.

Looking for Continuing Education classes that meet the Regulation 187 training requirements? We have them in our New York Total Access CE library

The Best Interest Rule

The “Best Interest Rule” is an amendment to existing New York State suitability standards for annuity transactions. Prior to this change, annuity recommendations producers had to be suitable for the client. The amendment raises the bar in that it requires recommendations to be in the best interests of the consumer. These requirements also apply to life insurance recommendations.Since the DOL Fiduciary Rule was vacated, regulatory bodies and states have been seeking other ways to hold insurance producers, brokers, and financial companies to the same standards.

Amending Regulation 187 is New York’s answer to the issue. The New York DFS official announcement states that the rule “requires insurers to establish standards and procedures to supervise recommendations by agents and brokers to consumers with respect to life insurance policies and annuity contracts issued in New York State so that any transaction with respect to those policies is in the best interest of the consumer and appropriately addresses the insurance needs and financial objectives of the consumer at the time of the transaction.” On August 1, 2019, the best interests rule went into effect for annuities; for insurance, the effective date is February 1, 2020.

What the Rule Means for Insurers and Producers

By mandating that life insurance or annuity recommendations to be based on the best interests of the communities, the rule is designed to keep financial compensation or incentives from influencing the recommendation made to a client. It requires insurers to develop, maintain, and manage procedures for preventing consumer financial exploitation. Basically, insurers must educate and supervise agents and brokers to make sure that they are putting their clients’ needs above their own when they recommend life insurance and annuities products. Also, insurers should take note of the “life insurance policies and annuity contracts issued in New York State” language because it means that non-resident, as well as resident producers, are affected.

There are important exemptions, however. The rule does not apply to retirement plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), other retirement and deferred compensation plans maintained by employers, and direct sales to consumers where no recommendation has been made by the insurer.

There is controversy around the amendment. The New York Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors filed a lawsuit to stop it, claiming that exempting direct sales to consumers gives those insurers a competitive advantage over producers. Another lawsuit has been filed by several independent agents’ organizations stating that the amendment is too subjective in the use of the term “best interest.”

If Regulation 187 clears these hurdles, it is very likely that other states and organizations will follow suit. In fact, the SEC has already adopted a package of best-interest rules and regulations. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is drafting a model regulation that has standards similar to those of Regulation 187. And, New Jersey and Nevada are exploring best-interest rules of their own.

Educate Yourself

The Life Insurance suitability and best interests requirements went into effect February 1, 2020. Producers recommending a life insurance policy to a New York consumer going forward must be trained on the new provisions in Regulation 187 related to life insurance suitability and best interests.

As part of our New York Total Access CE library, Kaplan Financial Education offers several courses designed to help you meet the Regulation 187 training requirements.

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Posted by Randy Kemnitz, Ph.D., CFP® - August 12, 2019
New York Skyline With Regulation 187 Overlaid

What Does an Insurance Agent Do?

An insurance agent is defined as a person employed to sell insurance policies to clients. That's just a broad overview of the job, and it doesn’t disclose specific tasks or detail what an insurance agent does on a day-to-day basis. If you’re interested in becoming an insurance agent, but aren’t specifically sure what the job entails, this article gives you an idea of what working as an insurance agent is like.

Insurance Agent Job Description

Insurance agents sell and negotiate life, health, property, or other types of insurance to match the needs of their clients. As an insurance agent, you may work for an insurance company, refer clients to independent brokers, or work as an independent broker.

Marketing also plays a large part in the day-to-day duties of an insurance agent. Successful insurance agents implement marketing strategies to promote new and current insurance policies. Marketing activities are also crucial to bringing new customers to your agency.

As an insurance agent, you develop relationships with prospective clients through networking and referrals. Those relationships are the bedrock of your business. You can develop a long-term base of clients through many channels, including referrals, cold calling, email, social media, and postal mailing. You can also present to groups at work-related gatherings or speak publicly at an insurance-related event. In addition to finding new clients, as an insurance agent, you must maintain relationships with existing clients. Your reputation as an insurance agent depends on you being a reliable first point of contact when your client needs to file a claim or increase their coverage due to major life events, like purchasing a new car or having a child.

Insurance agents must evaluate the needs of their clients and propose plans that will meet the criteria, as well as the clients' financial status. You will develop an understanding of your clients’ needs and financial capacity by scheduling meetings, determining the extent of present coverage and investments, and building long-term goals. In addition to determining client needs, you should also develop a  protection plan by quoting rates for immediate coverage and long-term goals.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Additional Responsibilities of an Insurance Agent:

  • Attend meetings, seminars, and programs to learn about new products and services
  • Calculate premiums and establish payment methods
  • Report the progress of initiatives to stakeholders
  • Maintain bookkeeping systems, databases, and records
  • Monitor insurance claims
  • Meet customers’ expectation to ensure satisfaction of insurance coverage
  • Continuously educate yourself on the industry and learn about new products and services
  • Fulfill all policy requirements
  • Help clients settle any claims on their insurance
  • Customize insurance programs to suit individual customer needs
  • Ensure that policy requirements are fulfilled, including completion of the appropriate forms
  • Inspect property in order to examine its overall condition and decide its insurance risk
  • Make sure all paperwork is filled out and filed to put insurance policies in place
  • Assist customers in properly completing insurance applications in order to act as an intermediary between the customer and the insurance company

Qualifications to Become an Insurance Agent:

  • A high school diploma, although many start with a bachelor’s degree
  • Licensure is required to work as an insurance agent
  • Good customer service skills—must be comfortable speaking with others
  • Experience working in a relevant field, such as sales (not a requirement)

Now that you know what an insurance agent does and what is required, learn about the 10 traits that can help you succeed here

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Ready to get started on your insurance career? Kaplan has what you need to prepare for your insurance licensing exams.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - April 9, 2019
Insurance agent meeting with a young couple about insurance

How to Pass the Life and Health Insurance Exam

In order to get your life and health license, you must first pass the licensing exam in the state in which you want to sell insurance. The process to get licensed itself varies by state, as does the passing score and pass rate. However, the exam structure and life and health insurance content topics are generally the same for most states, as are the best practices for preparing to pass the life and health insurance exam. We recommend you follow these tips on how to pass the life and health exam to ensure your success.

Set and Adhere to a Study Calendar

The average insurance exam-taker spends about 35 to 40 hours studying to pass the life and health insurance licensing exam. In order to better absorb the information, it is recommended that you study for the exam over the course of a few weeks rather than simply cramming during the week of the exam. We recommend setting a study calendar for yourself and sticking to it.

If you take a course with Kaplan, you can simply plug your exam date into our study calendar tool, and we’ll set a plan to keep you on track. Regardless, you can divide up the work you need to do to be ready for exam day into digestible daily study lessons.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Concentrate on the State Exam Outline

You will want to print out the State Exam Outline for General Lines Life and Health Agent so you understand what material will be covered under each of these topics, as well as how it will be weighted on the exam. The State Exam Outline lets you know how many questions are included in each section of the test. This is very important. It is recommended that you concentrate on the sections with the most questions so you can attain mastery of the key topics first and then move on to the less-tested areas.

Utilize Practice Exams

Be sure to utilize life and health insurance practice exams in your studies. Practice exams will help you gauge how well you have absorbed the information you’ve read, as well as determine which areas still need your attention. We recommend you take at least one practice exam while mimicking testing conditions. This will help you determine whether your pacing is right to get through the exam in the allotted time.

Take an Exam Prep Review Course

While not all states require it, it is a good idea to take a prelicensing education course for your life and health insurance licensing exam. Not only will it help you make sense of the material, but it will help you prioritize and stay on track with your study calendar. With Kaplan, you can choose from traditional live classes, online courses, or printed books for self-study. No matter which study option you choose, you’ll receive the License Exam Manual (LEM), State Law Supplement, a QBank containing hundreds of practice questions, and access to an expert instructor.

Know the Exam Process

Not knowing what to expect on exam day can trip up students who are otherwise well prepared. The testing center can feel a little intimidating, so it’s good to have an idea of what will happen so you aren’t caught off guard. 

You should expect to put all of your belongings in a locker before you get assigned to a testing cubicle. When you get to your assigned test spot, an employee will explain the expected conduct to you. They are very alert to any suspicious signs of cheating, so be sure to follow their directions carefully. Learn more about the exam process here.

The life and health insurance exam can be challenging; however, you can pass on your first try by following these recommendations. Be sure to check out this video from Kaplan’s insurance experts, Julie Ramsey and Mary Orn, with more insurance licensing exam study tips.

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If you are interested in Life and Health insurance exam prep from Kaplan, you can choose from our exam prep options here. We have a study package for every type of learner!

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 29, 2019
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How to Get Your Florida Insurance License

Looking to earn your insurance license? The licensing process varies state by state. These are the steps to earning your insurance license in Florida.

Step 1: Complete the Florida Prelicensing Education

Regardless of the type of insurance license you are looking to earn, you will be required to complete a specific number of state-approved education credit hours. The number of hours varies depending on the license you are looking to obtain. You can get the details on our State Requirements page. Upon completion of your course, you will receive a certificate.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Submit the Florida License Application

Once you’ve completed the required education, it’s time to apply for your Florida insurance license. There is an application fee of $50 and a License ID fee of $5, giving you a total cost of $55. You can complete the license application on Florida’s Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services webpage.

Step 3: Complete Fingerprinting and Background Check

Prior to earning your license, the state of Florida requires that state licensing applicants submit fingerprints and complete a background check. Florida uses MorphoTrust USA to complete fingerprinting. There is a $45.80 fee (plus tax) associated with the fingerprinting process. MorphoTrust USA submits your fingerprints automatically to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Step 4: Prepare and Sit for the Insurance Licensing Exam

In Florida, Life, Accident, & Health and Property & Casualty are bundled together. So you would need to sit for the exam that matches the insurance lines you want to carry. Florida insurance licensing exams are proctored, meaning there is a designated person overseeing you while you take the exam. To increase your odds of success on your insurance licensing exam, trust your preparation to Kaplan Financial Education.

Step 5: Pass License Application Review

After passing the exam and submitting your application, your background check and application will be reviewed by the state. If approved, your license will be issued. If there are issues revealed in your background check, the state may reach out with questions. You will be notified of approval in your MyProfile account on the FL Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services website.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get Your Colorado Insurance License

You live in Colorado, and you’ve been researching a career in insurance. You’ve reviewed the basics and have decided to become an insurance agent. Here are the 5 steps for earning your license in your home state.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Licensing Candidate Handbook

What does a career in insurance in Colorado require? What education do you need? Do you have to be a college graduate? Are you an insurance agent in another state and would also like to be licensed in Colorado? Can other coursework count toward your prelicensing education? Find answers to these questions and more in the Colorado Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook. It offers a wealth of information on the specifics of insurance licensure in Colorado, including all the education requirements, the costs, and the procedures for taking the exam.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Complete all Prelicensing Education Requirements

You’ll need to complete prelicensing education before taking the exam for your license. This education helps you prepare for the exam and your future career. You’ll need to take 50 hours each (10 hours of which must be Colorado-specific) for the following types of insurance: life, accident and health, property and casualty, and personal lines. All training is good for up to one year after you complete your courses.

After you complete your education, the training school will inform Pearson Vue, the exam provider. However, hang onto your training school code, because you’ll need it to make a reservation for your exam.

Step 3: Schedule Your Exam, Pay the Fee, and Prepare Yourself

To take the exam, you must make a reservation with Pearson Vue, which you can do online at www.pearsonvue.com/co/insurance. Simply create an account and follow the step-by-step instructions to make your exam reservation. You’ll need to make the reservation at least 24 hours before the exam. If you’re paying by electronic check, you’ll need to do it at least 5 days in advance.

The fee is $48 for an individual exam. You’ll need to pay the fees when you register and provide the code for the training center you used for your prelicensing education. In preparation for the exam, you should study and practice. The Colorado Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook has information about how to pay for the exams, and the Colorado Division of Insurance Producer Information and Instructions website has a link to exam content outlines.

Step 4: Take the Exam and Pass

On the day of the exam, report to the exam center 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Be sure to have two forms of current ID with a signature, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID, state-issued ID card, and so on. You’ll be asked to sign a Candidate Rules Agreement form, and you’ll be photographed for your score report. Also, if you’re nervous, you have the opportunity to take a tutorial that will not cut into your exam time.

After you complete your exam, you’ll be given a score report. If you passed, and you meet all other requirements, you’re eligible for your license.

Step 5: Apply for Your License

To apply, go to the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) website. The cost of the license for a Colorado resident is $89 (plus a $5 NIPR transaction fee) for each line of authority. More details about fees can be found on the NIPR fees page.

As You Pursue Your New Career

As you follow these steps for successfully earning your Colorado insurance license, keep in mind that you will also have continuing education requirements to meet after you’ve earned your license. You’ll also need to renew your license, so be sure to keep up with the latest information on the Colorado Division of Insurance Producer Information and Instructions web page.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a Wisconsin Insurance License

After doing some research and reviewing the basics, you’ve decided to earn your license and become an insurance agent in Wisconsin. Here are the 5 steps for earning your license.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Licensing Information Handbook

What does an insurance career in Wisconsin entail? What education do you need? Do you have to be a college graduate? Are you an insurance agent in another state and would also like to be licensed in Wisconsin? Can other coursework count toward your prelicensing?

The Licensing Information Handbook from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has answers to these questions and more. You’ll find a wealth of information on the specifics of insurance licensure in Wisconsin, such as the three main types of license: intermediary, navigator, and counselor. This handbook will help you know what to expect as you go through the process.

Also helpful is this FAQ from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. This goes into more detail about the different types of licenses and what they enable you to do. Most likely, you’ll be trying to get an intermediary license, because that’s the one for agents and producers.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Complete all Prelicensing Education Requirements

Before you can apply for your Wisconsin insurance license or take the exam, you need to complete prelicensing education: classroom, self-study, or a combination of both. There are different requirements for the different types of licenses, but all require 8 hours of education on the principles of insurance, general Wisconsin insurance laws, and ethics. The intermediary license requires 12 additional hours for the major and limited insurance lines: life, accident and health, property, casualty, personal, variable life/variable annuity, credit, and title. You can get more details here.

After you finish your courses, you will receive a certificate of completion from your education provider. Hang onto it—you’ll need to bring it with you when you take your licensing exam.

Step 3: Get Fingerprinted, Register for Your Exam and Study

In Wisconsin, all insurance license applicants must be fingerprinted before licensing. Giving your fingerprints will also initiate a background check. Make a fingerprint reservation with Fieldprint for the digital fingerprint. Fingerprint information is valid for 180 days.

You can’t take the exam without a reservation. Prometrics is the exam provider for Wisconsin, and you can take the exam in any of their locations in the US. To register for the line or lines of authority you have chosen, visit the Prometrics registration page for Wisconsin. Create an account and follow the step-by-step instructions to make your exam reservation. You can also call 866.370.3411, or fax or mail your application. More details about the different ways to register are available in the Licensing Information Handbook.

The fee for the exam is $75 for each line of authority. Also, when you register, be sure you use the same name that’s on the government-issued ID you plan to use at the testing center.

In preparation for the exam, you should study and practice. Prometrics offers content outlines for each test here, as well as practice exams here.

Step 4: Take the Exam and Pass

On the day of the exam, report to the exam center 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Be sure to have your prelicensing education certificate of completion and a government ID with a photo and signature, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID, state-issued ID card, and so on. After you show your ID and get settled, the exam will start.

At the end of the exam, you will see a completion notice on screen. A copy of your score report will be sent to your email address. The report indicates your overall score and grade, including the percentage of questions you answered correctly and whether you passed or failed. If you failed, you can take the exam again, but you’ll have to pay the fee again.

Step 5: Apply for Your License

Once you pass the exam, you have 180 days to apply for your license. If you want to apply for your license online, you can do it 48 to 72 hours after you pass by visiting the NIPR website. The application fee is $10, and there’s an additional NIPR fee of $5. The state of Wisconsin has some helpful tips you can use when applying. Generally, applications are processed 2 weeks after they’re received. You’ll receive an email notice from the licensing department with verification.

As You Pursue Your New Career

As you follow these 5 steps for successfully earning your Wisconsin insurance license, keep in mind that you will also have continuing education requirements. You’ll need to renew your license every two years, so be sure you keep up with the latest information at the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
WIsteps_10

How to Get Your Pennsylvania Insurance License

After doing some research and reviewing the basics, you know you want to become an insurance agent in Pennsylvania. Here are the 4 steps for earning your license.

Step 1: Complete all Pre-Licensing Education Requirements

Before you can apply for your Pennsylvania insurance license or take the exam, you need to complete prelicensing education. This education helps you prepare for the exam and your future career. The requirement is for 24 hours of prelicensing education courses, with a minimum of 3 hours of ethics. The courses you need to take will depend on the type of insurance license you want to earn. The types of insurance covered in the education include accident and health, casualty and allied lines, life, motor vehicle physical damage appraiser, personal lines, title, and more.

You can learn more about the courses, who provides them, and where you can take them at Sircon. Click on “look up education courses/credits,” select “approved courses inquiry,” choose Pennsylvania as your state, and click the “submit” button.

Next, change the education type to “prelicensing education,” select your preferred instruction method or leave blank, and click the “submit” button. When you click the provider’s name, you will get contact information and a link to the courses they provide. 

After you finish your courses, you will receive a certificate of completion from your education provider. Hang onto it—you’ll need to bring it with you when you take your licensing exam.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Register for Your Exam, Pay the Fee, and Prepare Yourself

You can’t take the exam without a reservation. PSI is the exam provider. After you have completed the prelicensing education requirements, register for the insurance examination for the type you have chosen at https://candidate.psiexams.com or by calling 800.733.9267.

The fees for the exam vary depending on the topic of the exam, but most are $43. In preparation for the exam, you should study and practice. The PSI Learning Academy has information and practice exams online.

Step 3: Take the Exam and Pass

On the day of the exam, report to the exam center 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Be sure to have to your prelicensing education certificate of completion and a government ID with a photo and signature, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID, state-issued ID card, and so on. You’ll also have your photograph taken at the testing site.

After you complete your exam, you’ll be given a Pass or Fail score. If you pass, your score report will include an application for your license, and you can apply for it right there. For that reason, it’s a good idea to bring checks, money orders, or a credit card with you when you take the exam. If you fail, you’ll get a report that indicates your strengths and weaknesses by exam portion.

Step 4: Apply for Your License and Get Fingerprinted

After passing the exam, you have the option to apply for your license and get fingerprinted at the testing center. You will need to pay the license application fee of $55 and a fingerprinting fee of $22.60 at this time. Completing the paper application found at https://www.insurance.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx before you take your exam and bringing it with you to use as a reference can speed along this process.

You may also choose to apply online using your own computer. You will still need a fingerprint scan, so you’ll have to register online via the IdentoGO website at https://uenroll.identogo.com, or you can call 844.321.2101. You’ll get a registration number you can take with you when you go to the IdentoGO site for fingerprinting. 

After you complete your application, you can look up its status at www.insurance.pa.gov. Once it’s been issued, you can print it right from the website.

As You Pursue Your New Career

As you follow these 4 steps for successfully earning your Pennsylvania insurance license, keep in mind that you will also have continuing education requirements. You’ll need to renew your license every two years, so be sure you keep up with the latest information at www.insurance.pa.gov

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a South Dakota Insurance License

After doing some research and reviewing the basics, you’ve decided to become an insurance agent in South Dakota. Here are the 5 steps for earning your license.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Licensing information Handbook

What does an insurance career in South Dakota entail? What education do you need? Do you have to be a college graduate? Are you an insurance agent in another state and would also like to be licensed in South Dakota? Are you moving to South Dakota soon and want to be licensed when you arrive? Can other coursework count toward your prelicensing? Is it possible to take exams for more than one line of insurance at one time?

The Licensing Information Handbook from the South Dakota Division of Insurance has answers to these questions and more. You’ll find a wealth of information on the specifics of insurance licensure in South Dakota, including the different lines. Of note are bail bondsman and crop—these types of insurance aren’t found in every state.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Take a Prelicensing Course

There are no set prelicensing education requirements in the state of South Dakota. However, you have a better chance of passing the licensing exam if you take a course. The Division of Insurance has a list of approved vendors for training courses on their website.

Step 3: Register for Your Exam and Study

Pearson Vue is the exam provider for South Dakota, and you can take the exam in any of their locations in the US. To register for the line or lines of authority you have chosen, and to find out the exam fee, visit the the Pearson Vue registration page for South Dakota. Create an account and follow the step-by-step instructions to make your exam reservation. More details about the different ways to register are available in the Licensing Information Handbook. When you register, be sure you use the same name that’s on the official government-issued ID (with photo and signature) that you’ll use for identification when you arrive at the testing center.

In preparation for the exam, you should study and practice. The Licensing Information Handbook has content outlines for each test that you can study, along with with information about the format of the test. You can also purchase more in-depth study materials from approved vendors, such as Kaplan Financial Education.

Step 4: Take the Exam and Pass

On the day of the exam, report to the exam center 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Be sure to have your prelicensing education certificate of completion and a government ID with a photo and signature, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID, state-issued ID card, and so on. After you show your ID and get settled, the exam will start.

At the end of the exam, you will see a completion notice on screen. A copy of your score report will be sent to your email address. The report indicates your overall score and grade, including the percentage of questions you answered correctly, and whether you passed or failed. If you failed, you can take the exam again, but you’ll have to pay the fee again.

Step 5: Apply for Your License

After passing your exam, you can apply for your license online at Sircon or at National Insurance Producers Registry. After the Division of Insurance has verified that you passed, and there’s nothing in your background to prevent you from being licensed, you’ll be issued your license. After that, you can print the license from the Sircon website.

As You Pursue Your New Career

As you follow these 5 steps for successfully earning your South Dakota insurance license, keep in mind that you will also have continuing education requirements. You’ll need to renew your license every two years, so keep up with the latest information at the South Dakota Division of Insurance.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get an Illinois Insurance License

You live in Illinois, and you’ve been researching a career in insurance. You’ve reviewed the basics and have decided to become an insurance agent. Here are the 5 steps for earning your license in your home state.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Licensing Candidate Handbook

What does a career in insurance in Illinois require? What education do you need? Do you have to be a college graduate? Are you an insurance agent in another state and would also like to be licensed in Illinois? Can other coursework count toward your education? Are there licenses that don’t require education? The Illinois Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook offers a wealth of information on the specifics of insurance licensure in Illinois, including all the education requirements, the costs, and the procedures for taking the exam.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Complete all Prelicensing Education Requirements

You’ll need to complete prelicensing education before taking the exam for your license. This education helps you prepare for the exam and your future career. You’ll need to take 20 hours each for the following types of insurance: life, accident/health, fire (property), casualty, and personal lines. Of the 20 hours for each type, you’ll need 7.5 hours of classroom training.

After you complete your education, you will receive a certificate of completion from your education provider. Hang onto it, because you must present it to the Illinois Department of Insurance before they issue your license. These certificates are good for up to one year after you complete your courses. This means you’ll have to take the exam and pass during this period.

Step 3: Schedule Your Exam, Pay the Fee, and Prepare Yourself

You can’t take the exam without a reservation. Pearson Vue is the exam provider, and you can make an online reservation at www.pearsonvue.com/il/insurance. Simply create an account and follow the step-by-step instructions to make your exam reservation.

The fees are $102 for an individual exam, and it includes the states administration fee of $50. However, you can schedule two exams back-to-back and still pay just $102. You’ll need to pay the fees when you register. In preparation for the exam, you should study and practice. The Illinois Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook has information about how to pay for the exams and how you can obtain practice tests for the different types of insurance.

Step 4: Take the Exam and Pass

On the day of the exam, report to the exam center 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Be sure to have two forms of current ID with a signature, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID, state-issued ID card, and so on. You should also bring your certificate or certificates of completion for your prelicensing education. You’ll also be asked to sign a Candidate Rules Agreement form. Also, if you’re nervous, you have the opportunity to take a tutorial that will not cut into your exam time.

After you complete your exam, you’ll be given a Pass or Fail score. If you pass, your score report will include an application for your license. You’ll need to wait 5 days before applying. If you fail, you can take the exam again, but you’ll have to wait 7 days before you can reschedule.

Step 5: Apply for Your License

To apply, go to the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) website. The cost of the license for an Illinois resident is $90 for two years. More information is available at www.insurance.illinois.gov.

As You Pursue Your New Career

As you follow these 5 steps for successfully earning your Illinois insurance license, keep in mind that you will also have continuing education requirements. You’ll need to renew your license every two years, so be sure to keep up with the latest information at www.insurance.illinois.gov.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a Tennessee Insurance License

Are you thinking about earning a Tennessee insurance license, and you’re wondering what the process looks like? Every state has different requirements for licensing. Here are the steps you need to follow to earn an insurance license in Tennessee.

Step 1: Complete the Required Prelicensing Education

To earn your Tennessee insurance license, you must first complete the required number of hours of education from a state-approved provider. The number of hours you will need depends on the specific insurance license you are trying to earn. See our state requirements page for the latest breakdown of hours required per license.

When you complete the course, you will receive a certificate. Within six months of receiving that certificate, you must sit for and pass the state exam, or you will need to complete the education again.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Pass a Tennessee Insurance Licensing Exam

Once you’ve completed the required education, you can schedule and sit for your Tennessee insurance licensing exam. The exam you sit for will depend on the specific license you are trying to earn. Tennessee insurance exams are administered by Pearson VUE. You can schedule your  exam on their website, or by calling 800.274.4957.

If you need help preparing for the exam, consider taking advantage of one of Kaplan’s Tennessee insurance exam prep resources to increase your odds of success.

Step 3: Get Fingerprinted

The state of Tennessee requires that all candidates for insurance licensure submit fingerprints as part of a criminal background check. You can schedule your fingerprinting with Identogo.

Step 4: Apply for Your Tennessee Insurance License

After you’ve passed your Tennessee insurance licensing exam, you will need to submit your license application to the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, through the National Insurance Producer Registry.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a Michigan Insurance License

The process for getting an insurance license varies by state. Follow these three steps to get your insurance license in Michigan.

Step 1: Complete your prelicensing education requirements.

To earn a life, accident and health, property, casualty, or personal lines insurance license in Michigan, you must complete a fixed number of prelicensing education hours. Check out the Michigan state requirements page for an up-to-date breakdown of the number of hours required for the license you are trying to earn.

Once you complete your education and pass the class exam, you’ll receive a school certificate. The certificate is valid for 12 months from the date you complete the course, so you are required to sit for and pass the exam within that time period.

After you complete the course material, but before you take the exam with PSI, you must file an Electronic Resident Licensing (ERL) application through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) website at https://www.nipr.com/. There is a $10 application/license fee is $10.00, and an additional $5.00 transaction fee. Your application will be valid for 6 months from entry into the database.

The ERL application is required even though candidates no longer need the NIPR confirmation page as part of the acceptance criteria to take an examination with PSI.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Schedule and pass the required insurance license exam.

After you complete your required education, you are able to take your Michigan insurance license exam. The state of Michigan’s insurance licensing exams are offered by PSI. You can schedule an exam on PSI’s website, or by calling 800.733.9267. You will need to pay the exam fee at the time of registration.  

To further prepare yourself for the exam, take advantage of Kaplan’s insurance licensing exam prep education.

Step 3: Apply for your Michigan insurance license through the National Insurance Producer Registry.

Once you have passed the Michigan insurance licensing exam, you will need to submit your license application. You can apply through the National Insurance Producer Registry website, which is found here: http://www.nipr.com/.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a Minnesota Insurance License

The process of earning your insurance license can sometimes be confusing. Because every state’s licensing requirements are a little different, the steps you need to take to become licensed can vary from state to state. If you’re planning to earn your license in Minnesota, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Complete the Required Prelicensing Education

To earn a Minnesota insurance license, regardless of license type, you are required to complete a certain number of hours of education. We’ve outlined the specific hourly requirements for each license type on our Minnesota State Requirements page.

To pass the prelicensing course, you will need to pass a course exam. When you have passed the exam, you will receive a school certificate. Hold on to that certificate because you will need to present it when you sit for your state licensing exam.   

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

 

Step 2: Schedule and Pass the Required Minnesota Insurance Licensing Exam

Once your required education is complete, you are approved to sit for your state exam. Minnesota’s exam provider is Pearson VUE. You need to contact Pearson VUE directly to schedule your exam. They can be reached at  home.pearsonvue.com/mncommerce or 833-273-1946.

To ensure you’re prepared for the exam, consider taking advantage of Kaplan’s Minnesota insurance licensing exam prep education.

Step 3: Fingerprints and Background Check

Fingerprinting is required as part of your criminal background check. It is part of the exam process, and the service is provided at the testing center. You pay a required fee, and your prints are sent to the state for approval, which could take up to four weeks.

Scheduling with Idemia (electronic fingerprinting at a test center):

Go to pearsonwest.ibtfingerprint.com, or call Idemia at (866) 761-8069 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central time) to make a fingerprint reservation as close to the start time of your examination as possible. (It does not need to be the exact same time. As long as you have made a fingerprint reservation, the test center will be able to process your prints when you arrive for your exam.) Use your full legal name, as it appears on your government-issued ID, when you make your fingerprint reservation, and be sure to select the correct license type. Write down the confirmation number; you will need it on the day of your appointment.

Step 4: Apply for a Minnesota Insurance License

You’ve cleared some major milestones passing your course and state exam. Now it’s time to follow through and apply for your license. You can submit your producer license application online at Sircon.

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Are you ready to get started on the path to earning an insurance license in Minnesota? Browse our Minnesota insurance exam prep study solutions today. You’ll find online and live class options to fit your preferred schedule and learning style.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a California Insurance License

If you’re considering earning your insurance license in California, you may be wondering where to start. No two states’ requirements are completely alike, so it’s important to know the licensing process for your state. Individuals seeking to earn a real estate license in California must follow these 4 steps:

Step 1: Complete the Required Prelicensing Education

First things first, you need to complete the required education. For each license type, there is a specific number of hours of prelicensing education you must receive from a state-approved education provider. Our California state requirements page outlines the specific hourly requirements for each specific license type.

When you have completed the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. You must submit the original certificate with your license application (see below). You should also make a duplicate copy of the certificate for your own records. Your certificate is valid for three (3) years.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Submit Your Fingerprints for Background Check

California requires all insurance license applicants to be fingerprinted, either before the exam or on the day of the exam. If you choose to get your fingerprints taken on the day of the exam, you can have it done at the exam site. You pay a required fee, and your prints are sent to the state for approval, which could take up to four weeks.

Step 3: Sit for and Pass the California State Licensing Exam

Now that you’ve completed your education, you are approved to sit for your state exam. California uses PSI to administer their insurance licensing exams. You need to contact PSI directly to schedule your exam. They can be reached at www.psiexams.com or 800.392.6422.

To make sure you are prepared for success on the exam, consider taking advantage of Kaplan’s California insurance licensing exam prep education.

Step 4: Apply for a California Insurance License

Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you are now ready to apply for your California license. You can submit your insurance license application online with the California Department of Insurance

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Ready to take the first step on your journey to a California insurance career? Check out our California insurance exam prep study solutions today. We offer online and live class options to suit your life and learning style.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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How to Get a New York Insurance License

The process for getting an insurance license can be confusing to someone just entering the industry. Every state handles licensing a little differently, so it’s important to be mindful that you are following the directions from the state in which you want to get licensed. Follow these three steps to get your insurance license in New York.

Step 1: Complete your prelicensing education requirements.

To get an insurance license in New York, you must complete prelicensing education hours. The number of hours varies by license. Check out the state requirements page for an up-to-date breakdown of the number of hours required for your license.

Once you complete your education and pass the class exam, you’ll receive a school certificate. Although you will not be required to show a completion certificate of your education at the exam, you will need it to complete your license application.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Step 2: Schedule and pass the required insurance license exam.

Once you’ve completed your required education, you are able to take your New York insurance license exam. To schedule an exam, you’ll need to go through PSI directly. To further prepare yourself for the exam, take advantage of Kaplan’s insurance licensing exam prep education.

Step 3: Apply for a New York insurance license through the New York Department of Financial Services.

Once you’ve passed the insurance licensing exam in New York, you will need to submit your license application to the Department of Financial Services, along with any required paperwork. You will need to wait 48 hours after passing the exam to apply to allow enough time for exam processing.
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Ready to get started with your New York insurance licensing education requirements? Check out our New York insurance exam prep study solutions now. We’ve got live and online class options for any learning style.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 22, 2019
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8 Must-Have Marketing Strategies for Insurance Agents

Growing your business by marketing your agency can be an extremely daunting undertaking, especially if you don’t have any marketing experience. For this reason, the Kaplan Financial Education team put together some best practices and ideas for insurance agent marketing.

1. Set Goals

Before you embark on a marketing strategy, it is important that you first sit down and set your marketing goals. It is best to make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound) goals, so you will be able to measure your results against them. Consider setting goals for producing, prospecting, sales production, and cross-selling and retention areas. Write down what you want to do, how you want to accomplish it, and when you want to accomplish it by. This will help drive your new marketing ideas.

2. Make a Marketing Budget

Once you know what your goals are, the next step is to make a marketing budget. Allocate a certain amount of spend for each marketing channel you want to utilize. If you can, look back on what you spent the previous year to get an idea for your estimates. Are there channels that didn’t perform well? Consider cutting the budget on those in favor of new or more profitable channels.

3. Set Tracking Metrics

Tracking every piece of business is important so you know what channels of your marketing are working. Ask every new client how they heard about you and keep track of their answers. This will help you go a long way.

4. Create a Referral Program

Your customers are your best referrals. Offer an incentive for your current clients to spread the word about your agency. Offer your clients a discount or a gift card for bringing in new referrals and your referrals a discount or gift card for choosing your agency. You can even create marketing pieces explaining the referral discount and hand them to customers to give out to their friends and family. Post the program on your social media accounts and website.  Add a link to your referral program page on your email signature. Let your clients do some of the work for you.

5. Encourage Positive Online Reviews

According to a BrightLocal study, 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. In other words, nearly 9 out of 10 people have read online reviews of your business before deciding whether to trust you. This means that it is vitally important that your agency get good online reviews in places like Facebook, Google Plus, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.  There are many easy things you can do to encourage reviews. Add links to your agency’s profiles in your email signature with a callout to leave a review. Post a sign in the office. Mention it to happy customers as they are leaving your office. Be sure to also read reviews regularly and respond to both positive and negative feedback. The time you put into responses will showcase how much you care about your clients.

6. Get Involved in the Community

Becoming involved in your local community is a great way to get your agency name out there. It also shows that you are invested in the community. Consider sponsoring youth sports, community events, or local non-profits. You may bring in new clients who want to support the league, event, or organization you are sponsoring!

7. Utilize Social Media

Nothing connects you faster to your customers than social media. There are many things your agency can do to take advantage of social media. You can utilize social media ads and target people in your local community fairly inexpensively. You can offer a discount to anyone who checks in to your agency online. You can join relevant groups on LinkedIn and offer expertise to others. All of these things will help you network and get more exposure for your business. Check out our article on social media tips here.

8. Do Customer Surveys

Hear from your customers how your agency is doing through online surveys. Ask for open-ended testimonials from your customers and use that information for marketing materials. Ask for ideas of how your organization can improve. Consider offering a small incentive like a gift card for completing your survey to increase your response rate.

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Looking for more tips and tricks in the insurance industry? Check out Kaplan's Career Corner for more great articles related to insurance. Be sure to check out our Insurance Licensing, Insurance Continuing Education, and Professional Development programs as well. 

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 15, 2019
Graphic depicting all of the various facets of marketing your insurance business

Market Ethics and the Retiree Market

While proper market conduct is an essential part of good business with any client, it is especially important in the retiree market. Financial practitioners who work in this market must be sensitive to the distinctive issues and challenges confronting the retiree client. Still, while retirees require additional attention to market conduct, the underlying basis is no different here than with younger clients.

Dealing with personal financial affairs can be an intimidating ordeal for almost anyone. For many retirees, especially widows who might have been removed from day-to-day financial decision-making earlier in life, the need to make important financial decisions can be terrifying. In addition, in their minds, there is a dizzying new array of insurance products to consider, including  long-term care and  Medicare supplement plans.

At first, the signs are hardly detectable. Indeed, a decline in decision-making capacity can be masked by other outward signs of confidence. Rare is the retiree whose opinions and convictions about family and social issues don’t intensify with age. But over time, this confidence can weaken.

While faith in their general wisdom may strengthen, the same cannot always be said of the confidence retirees feel regarding financial matters. Even those who were responsible for the family’s budget during the growing years may find it increasingly difficult to keep abreast of changing financial developments later in life, especially those dealing with insurance matters and estate transfers.

A wide assortment of new issues arises after retirement that can cause retirees to become at once more cautious and more deserving of their financial practitioner’s care and attention to suitability and disclosure matters. There are a number of challenges that can diminish the retiree’s capacity for keeping up with their changing personal finances.

Compliance Issues: Five Challenges for Retirees

Some changes are more common than others, but all have the same end result—they affect the way older Americans approach financial decision making. A closer look at each will illustrate why it is so important to use extra care when conducting business in the retiree market. These five challenges include the following:

  1. A transition in investment perspective from asset accumulation to asset distribution and preservation
  2. A natural shift in risk tolerance toward a more conservative investment position
  3. Changing personal risks that increase the need for new financial products and diminish the need for others
  4. Increased product complexity that many consumers of all ages find hard to grasp
  5. Potentially reduced mental acuity or a growing unease with technical matters that can slow down the decision-making process and may even raise questions about buyer competence

Challenge 1: Transition from Asset Accumulation to Asset Distribution

After spending years worrying about saving for retirement, it can be difficult for some retirees to change their mindset and accept the need for distributing those assets.

Decisions made with respect to qualified plan distributions and personal savings will affect retirement income security, possibly for years to come, making many retirees nervous about decision making.

It is especially important for financial practitioners serving the retiree market to thoroughly understand the rules and requirements pertaining to qualified plan distributions before offering advice in that crucial area.

Challenge 2: A Turn Toward Conservatism

Financial practitioners are beginning to advise their retiree clients to accept more market risk than they have in the past. Nonetheless, the natural swing toward conservatism that in part defines the transition to retirement age cannot be denied. Practitioners who are struggling with this issue with a client will find it easier to understand the client’s mind-set by realizing that the money in question represents, to the client, the difference between financial security and poverty.

This change in financial temperament translates into an understandable fear of making a bad financial decision that might adversely affect the retiree’s financial security or legacy by reducing assets that are earmarked for retirement income or bequest purposes. When guiding retiree citizens in making investment decisions, financial representatives must understand and be sensitive to the client’s perceived need to protect asset values.

Challenge 3: Changing Insurance Needs

Many retirees are well aware of the changing risks they face with advancing age. For example, long-term medical and nursing care moves from the wings to center stage in the theater of personal risks, while disability-related loss of income retreats. Knowing they face new risks and knowing what to do about them are two different things.

Statistically, the average new retiree today can expect two full decades or more of life beyond age 65. Indeed, planning to meet the costs of a long and active retirement should be at the top of every retiree client’s list of financial priorities. As with any statistical average, some individuals must fall below the mean, which in this case entails long-term medical and nursing care or an early death.

Prudent financial planning calls for strategies that presume the client will live a long, healthy, and active life but prepare them for the worst. The probability of succumbing to a debilitating disease requiring extensive medical and long-term care, though far from certain, is too great to ignore.

Senior Americans from all walks of life are aware of the new risks that arise with age. Not every product is well suited for every individual. The need for long-term care insurance, for example, is determined in large measure by the client’s income and net worth. The unethical financial representative who is motivated solely by sales volume might easily abuse the trust that elder clients frequently place in their financial advisors by recommending products that might not be in the client’s best interest, or suggesting benefit levels that exceed the client’s needs.

Challenge 4: Increased Product Complexity

In response to the burgeoning retiree population, the financial services industry has developed new products that are geared to that age group’s particular needs. These new products tend to be complicated. Second-to-die life insurance, long-term care insurance, and the variety of Medicare programs (all of which are directed to the retiree market), serve a valuable role in providing financial security—but each is subject to misunderstanding by the general public, especially retirees. Likewise, qualified plan distribution strategies can be painfully confusing to lay people. All of this requires financial practitioners to exercise even more care when educating their retiree clients.

It is important for the financial practitioner to remain focused on the need for full and fair disclosure when recommending or explaining a product. It might be easy to help a retiree client understand a complex product by referring to it as something that resembles another better-understood concept, but care must be taken to avoid confusing the client on this point. (The classic example of oversimplification is the illegal use of the term tax-free mutual fund to describe a variable contract.)

When trying to simplify a concept to make it clear, practitioners must always remember to clearly identify the type of product being recommended. Simplifying a product’s explanation is never a valid excuse for misleading a prospective client about the product’s true nature.

Challenge 5: The Senior’s Reduced Mental Acuity

This common challenge facing the senior client—reduced mental acuity—may be the most sensitive issue of all, and certainly is one of the most distressing aspects of aging. Besides making it difficult for seniors to react promptly to changing financial circumstances, a diminished ability or willingness to comprehend complex issues is a frustrating reminder of the toll exacted by the aging process. One only has to look at an aging parent or grandparent to realize the extent to which the aging process can beat down the will, if not the ability, to study a financial situation and make a decision.

The loss of decision-making capacity exposes an individual to a heightened risk of ill-informed and ill-advised buying decisions. The fear of making a bad financial decision at once makes older Americans especially wary of new ideas involving finances, yet willing to let advisors they trust make financial decisions for them.

Serving Retirees Better

Financial security in retirement involves other important issues besides money; so much so that attention to these nonfinancial issues cannot be ignored by the professional financial practitioner.

For example, a client who has no hobbies or interests other than work may experience a feeling of uselessness after retirement. The practitioner who can suggest worthwhile activities, such as becoming involved in a civic or charitable organization, may provide an enhancement to a senior client’s retirement. The most successful retirement planners strive to meet their clients’ financial, personal, and emotional needs to ensure an enriching, as well as financially secure, retirement.

The following are some ideas that financial practitioners can use to better serve retiree clients:

  • Always use a fact finder. A fact finder becomes an important record of the information on the basis of which suitability is ultimately determined.
  • Put everything in writing. This advice is important in all sales transactions, but especially in transactions involving senior markets. The client who understands the reason for buying a product today may forget the reason next year; committing the problem and recommended solution to paper (ideally, signed by the client) is the best way for the financial practitioner to defend against memory loss.
  • Encourage the participation of others close to the client. Retiree clients are more likely than their younger counterparts to seek the advice of trusted friends and family members before making a financial decision. If it is apparent that a client places a lot of importance on their son’s or daughter’s opinion regarding financial matters; for example, the financial practitioner should suggest that the person be brought into the presentation. Advice like this is a sure way of helping to build a client’s trust and respect.
  • Expect a shift toward conservatism. The desire to preserve retirement capital exerts a strong influence on a person’s tolerance for investment risk. Before ideas can be explored to accept higher market risk, a prospective retiree client needs to see that the financial practitioner understands the client’s concern about capital preservation.
  • Use plenty of third-party material. In their effort to make informed financial decisions, senior clients typically want more third-party material (brochures, pamphlets, copies of relevant articles, etc.) than younger clients.
  • Be patient. As with any client, be patient. Be ready to repeat key points several times if necessary.

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Want more information on Senior Needs Planning? Take our full Insurance Continuing Education course titled Senior Needs Planning, 5th Edition, which covers the following topics:
  • The Need for Retirement Planning
  • Retirement Risk Management Strategies
  • Inflation and Retirement
  • Retirement Plan Distributions
  • Social Security
  • Analyzing Retirement Income Needs
  • Wealth Accumulation and Market Conduct and Ethics
  • Investing Retirement Assets
  • The Role of Market Conduct and Ethics in the Retiree Market

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 15, 2019
Insurance agent meeting with retiree clients

An Overview of Property and Casualty Insurance

Are you preparing for your state's property and casualty licensing exam? Or perhaps you're thinking of adding it to your portfolio. Here's what you need to know about this type of insurance.

Property Insurance

Property insurance is relatively simple to define. It includes many types of insurance designed to cover property losses—the risks that we will suffer financial losses because things we own are damaged or destroyed.

There are three basic types of property loss:

  • Loss of or damage to the article itself: Examples of this type of loss are the theft of a valuable painting or damage to an automobile caused by an accident.
  • Loss of income from the use of the article: For example, suppose a hotel burns to the ground. In the year required to rebuild, the hotel loses more than $2 million in room rentals. This loss of income that arises from the damage to the hotel is a type of property loss.
  • The extra expense incurred due to the loss of the article: Suppose a large fire destroys a city newspaper building. To continue publishing, its owners rent another press at one-third additional cost. The extra expenses required to remain in business following a loss is a type of property loss.

Some types of insurance generally considered to be property insurance include the following:

  • Dwelling
  • Homeowners
  • Commercial property
  • Crime
  • Equipment breakdown protection (also known as boiler and machinery)
  • Inland marine
  • Ocean marine

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Casualty Insurance

Casualty insurance is more difficult to define because it includes a wide variety of basically unrelated insurance products.

One of the most important types of casualty insurance is liability insurance. Liability losses are losses that occur as a result of the insured’s interactions with others or their property. Probably the best example of this would be an auto accident. Let’s say Arthur is backing out of his driveway and hits Beatrice’s parked car, resulting in $600 of damage. Because Arthur was at fault, he is legally responsible, or liable, for those damages, and he must pay to have Beatrice’s car repaired. Liability insurance would protect Arthur from having to pay for those damages out of his own pocket.

To be legally liable, the individual must generally be guilty of negligence—the failure to use proper care in personal actions. If negligence results in harm to another, the individual is liable for the resulting damages.

People in the insurance industry often call liability losses third-party losses.

The insured is the first party. The insurance company is the second party. The person to whom the insured is liable for damages is the third party.

Just as you can purchase property insurance to protect yourself from financial loss if your property is damaged, you can purchase liability insurance to protect yourself from financial loss if you become legally liable for injury to another or damage to another’s property.

Although insurance for liability risks is an important casualty coverage, there are many other types of insurance that have traditionally been considered casualty insurance. Casualty insurance can also include the following types of insurance:

  • Aviation
  • Auto
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Surety bonds

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Interested in getting your property and/or casualty insurance license? Or do you want to learn more about the basics of property and casualty insurance for CE credit? Check out our insurance license study options for your state here or our Property and Casualty Principles, 4th Edition insurance continuing education course for your state here.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 15, 2019
Buildings that would require property insurance

Introduction to Medicare Supplement Plans

A Medicare supplement policy, also called a Medigap policy, is health insurance sold by a private insurance company to fill certain gaps in the Original Medicare coverage. The Original Medicare Program, Medicare Parts A and B, does not cover all health care expenses. There are major gaps in the program that can create financial hardships for senior citizens. Part A covers inpatient hospital expenses for a specified period of time, but it doesn’t cover outpatient expenses.

More complete health care coverage is obtained by a beneficiary also enrolling in Medicare Part B. However, both Part A and Part B are subject to deductibles, coinsurance, co-payments, and certain other limitations.

Medigap policies are designed to help fill many of those coverage gaps, and some Medigap policies even consider benefits the Original Medicare does not include.

However, Medigap policies do not cover Medicare beneficiaries’ share of the premium costs under other types of health coverage, including Medicare Advantage Plans (e.g., HMOs, PPOs, or Private Fee-for-Service Plans); stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans; employer or union plans; Veterans Administration benefits; TRICARERE; Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health plans; and long-term care insurance policies.

Except for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, if a person has any one of the other types of health coverages referred to in the preceding paragraph, insurance companies cannot sell a Medigap policy to that individual.

It’s also important for beneficiaries to realize that Medigap policies do not cover long-term custodial care such as that provided in nursing homes. Too many people believe that the combination of Medicare and Medigap supplement policies cover such care.

The Financial Need

The need for additional health care coverage is clear when the benefits provided by Medicare are reviewed. For individuals who have adequate income to provide for their daily needs and comforts but only a few extra dollars for nonessential items, a sudden, large medical bill can create a financial crisis.

The Original Medicare Plan (i.e., Medicare Parts A and B) presents senior citizens with significant financial risks.

Medicare supplement insurance policies are designed to pay the costs not covered by the Original Medicare Plan, and this is why Medicare supplement insurance is called Medigap coverage. Federal and state laws regulate the benefits provided by Medicare supplements.

Senior citizens also need good advice regarding Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance policies. Many insurers and retiree associations overwhelm senior citizens with Medicare supplement advertisements. This often creates confusion, and the confusion causes seniors to make mistakes in choosing supplemental coverage.

Professionalism and ethical conduct on the part of producers marketing Medicare supplements are critical needs, as many marketing abuses in this area of insurance have occurred in the past.

The Role of Insurers and Producers

What seniors actually need are one-on-one discussions, explanations, and advice regarding Medicare supplemental coverage. The best way for a senior citizen to receive these services is in a planning session with a professional insurance producer who is knowledgeable about the Medicare program and Medicare supplement coverage.

As a producer, you must thoroughly understand the personal circumstances of a prospect for a Medicare supplement policy. The individual will generally be an older person who most likely needs detailed information presented in an easy-to-understand manner and will probably not be inclined to make an immediate decision regarding the purchase of any insurance.

So, you, the producer, must have specific and up-to-date information regarding Medicare—how it functions, the types of benefits that are offered, the claims process, and so forth. You must also have specific information regarding the need for Medicare supplement insurance to close the gaps in Medicare coverage, and you must be able to explain how your product satisfies the client’s specific needs.

Insurance producers dealing with senior citizens have a fiduciary responsibility to act in an ethical manner and to never sell inappropriate or duplicate coverages. Too often, senior citizens are the target of unscrupulous individuals who prey on their fears and lack of resistance to high-pressure sales tactics.

In most states, it is illegal to sell duplicate Medicare supplement cover¬age (not replacement coverage), and it is illegal to sell Medigap insurance to people who are covered by Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans. It is always illegal for a producer to resort to high-pressure sales tactics. Severe penalties are usually imposed for violating these laws, including:

  • loss of license
  • jail terms for up to two years
  • fines up to $10,000

Although it is unethical and inappropriate to duplicate existing coverage for the sake of generating a premium and/or commission, the practice does exist. Producers may, therefore, encounter senior citizens who already have more than one Medicare supplement policy. When this situation arises, producers are obligated to inform clients that only one Medicare supplement is needed to provide adequate coverage. Plan beneficiaries cannot collect double or triple benefits on a claim just because they may have two or three separate policies.

Providing proper advice about existing coverage is as important as recommending new coverage to close insurance gaps. Doing so may not always result in a sale or commission, but such behavior is demanded by regulation and codes of professional ethics.

Producers also need to exercise patience when dealing with senior citizens. In many cases, senior citizens do not like to be forced into quick decisions, and this effort should not take place. When contemplating a purchase decision, seniors often want to talk it over with significant others, such as a spouse, children, other relatives, or friends. Frequently, wanting to do this is not a sales objection but a genuine need for consensus and support, which generally must be satisfied before the person will purchase any insurance. Thus, producers should always exercise compassion, understanding, and patience when dealing with senior citizens.

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Want more information on Medicare Supplemental Plans or Medigap coverage? Take our full Insurance Continuing Education course titled Medicare and Medigap Insurance, which covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to Medicare
  • The Original Medicare Program – Medicare Part A
  • The Original Medicare Program – Medicare Part B
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  • Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Prescription Plans: Part C and Part D
  • Examples of Benefit Payments

 

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 15, 2019
Stethescope representing medical insurance

Selling Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance allows you to use the fundamental selling skills that you have developed with other financial products to address another need of the customer. In most cases, only minor modifications of these skills will be required for you to sell long-term care insurance. However, looking into insurance continuing education on the topic is always a good idea.

Minimum and Maximum Ages

Most literature from carriers that provide long-term care insurance products suggests that the individual long-term care market "begins at 40." Generally speaking, consumers will not become motivated to consider their long-term care needs until their early 40s. Why?

Well, several things are happening in their lives. They just got their first pair of bifocals, and the optometrist explained that, "it's just something that happens to your eyes when you get older." Someone at the office who is about the same age recently had a heart attack. And the doctor wasn't happy with their triglyceride count during the last physical. The kids are in college or about to start, and that comfortable nest egg doesn't look so comfortable anymore. The health and care of their aging parents are increasingly on their minds.

Perhaps most important of all, they begin to feel the death-grip of age take root in their own bodies. In the sanctuary of secret thought, they begin to confront the inevitability of their own mortality. The maximum issue age varies by insurer. The most common maximum ages in more recent policies are 79 and 84. Of course, the coverage becomes more expensive at the higher ages.

Prospecting

So, with such a large market, where do you begin? First, recognize that this group is not your traditional life insurance clientele. Your 20- to 39-year-old life clients will eventually become long-term care prospects, but they generally are not the place to start in bridging into the long-term care business. Too many agents have made this mistake.

So, we need a fresh way to generate prospects among the 50–64 age group. There are several approaches we could use.

  • Your natural market: social systems and subcultures you belong to in a community
  • Seminars: Host a seminar to get the message across to a large group at once; consider inviting a health expert to add credibility
  • Referred leads: Ask for leads from satisfied customers
  • Advertising: Advertise in community, TV, radio, online

Important Note: However you prospect for long-term care clients, be sure to be diligent in following any applicable policies and procedures of your company. And, above all, be ethical.

Qualification

Once you have identified possible long-term care insurance prospects, you must qualify them for your services. The questions here are the same as for any other insurance market:

  • Does the prospect have an insurable need?
  • Can the prospect be seen on a favorable basis?
  • Is the prospect insurable?
  • Can the prospect pay premiums?

Approaching the Prospect

In approaching the long-term care insurance prospect for the first time, you have three goals in mind:

  • Make the prospect aware of who you are and what you do.
  • Give the prospect an idea of how you can benefit him or her.
  • Establish personal rapport and a feeling of trust between you.

Agents often use so-called pre-approach letters to make the initial contact with a prospect. This personalized letter may be accompanied by a brochure about the need for long-term care insurance. The letter and brochure are certainly intended to be educational, but they should also disturb the prospect's complacency. Sometimes you'll catch the prospect at just the right time—he or she knows that something needs to be done; he or she just hasn't done it yet.

You follow up the pre-approach letter with a telephone call for an appointment. If your letter has made the proper impression, the appointment should be easy to secure.

Important Note: However you prospect for long-term care insurance clients, be sure to be diligent in following any applicable policies and procedures of your company. 

The First Interview

At the first meeting with the prospect, the agent wants to describe the long-term care insurance need, seek general agreement from the prospect that the need exists in his or her case, and set the stage for fact-finding. The first interview is also usually the best time to discuss how the agent gets paid for his or her services and how those services can benefit the client.

The agent wants to create a good first impression and to begin to build rapport and trust. These are necessary steps before the client will freely share confidential personal, family and financial information.

Some agents prefer to collect the facts personally at the end of the first interview. Another common practice is to give the client a fact-finding form to complete before the next interview.

In the first interview, it is important to deal with the potential need for long-term care coverage carefully. Most people have an aversion to nursing homes. They refuse to picture themselves living in one. This denial can result in lost sales if you "allow the game to be played on this field." Instead, you need to seek a different venue—a "playing field" that is less threatening to your prospect.

The agents who successfully sell long-term care insurance have found the correct playing field: the prospect's fear of economic loss due to long-term care costs. The prospect will deal with this subject rationally, unlike the fear of entering a nursing home. We can't solve the nursing home fear anyway; the best long-term care policy won't keep the insured out of a nursing home. But it will prevent the financial devastation of paying long-term care costs out-of-pocket.

Presenting and Selling the Plan

After you have gathered the facts and used them to develop one or more long-term care plans for the prospect, it is time to make the closing presentation. The agent will normally begin the presentation by restating the assumptions and key facts on which the plan is based. This serves to remind the prospect that the plan was not developed in a vacuum but used the information provided by him or her as the starting point.

The agent must, of course, secure the prospect's acceptance of the plan. If he or she balks for any reason, the agent must discover the reasons for such reluctance. Some of the most common objections and misconceptions are identified and defused in the following screens.

Addressing Concerns and Updating the Plan

The final aspect of long-term care planning is periodic plan review and update. This is an area in which agents sometimes fall short. The best-designed plan can become obsolete if long-term care costs, client financial circumstances, client objectives, or tax laws change.

As a general rule, the long-term care plan should be reviewed at least every other year.

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Want more information on long-term care insurance? Take our full Insurance Continuing Education course titled Long-Term Care Concepts for your state, which includes the following topics:

  • The Need for Long-Term Care
  • Sources of Long-Term Care
  • Paying for Long-Term Care
  • Individual and Group Long-Term Care Coverage
  • Partnership Policies
  • Taxation of Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Selling Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Sample Pre-Approach Letter

 

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 15, 2019
Elderly people who need long term care insurance playing cards at a senior center

Anti-Money Laundering: How to Spot Money Laundering in Insurance

Today, money laundering is becoming an increasingly international and complex crime because of the rapid advances in technology and the globalization of financial services. Financial systems allow criminals to transfer millions of dollars instantly through computers and satellites. In addition to banks, money is now laundered through currency exchanges, stock brokerages, gold dealers, casinos, automobile dealerships, as well as insurance companies.

The insurance industry is attractive to money launderers because insurance products are often sold by independent agents or brokers who do not work directly for insurance companies. The agents and brokers are often unaware of the need to screen clients or to question payment methods. In some cases, such agents and brokers have even joined criminals against insurers to facilitate money laundering.

What is Money Laundering?

Most financial transactions leave a trail that connects a person to the funds. In an illegal financial transaction, money laundering is used to hide the trail.

So, what is money laundering? Money laundering is a process that criminals use to make dirty money—that is, money derived from illegal drug, terrorist, or other criminal activities—clean money, that is, legitimate money.

The term money laundering conveys a perfect visual picture of what actually takes place. Illegal money is put through a cycle of transactions designed to hide the source of the funds and make them clean or legitimate. Money laundering is similar to washing clothes—you put in dirty clothes and after being washed, the clothes are clean. Laundered funds can then be used without restriction.

For example, a life insurance policy that can be cashed in is an attractive money laundering vehicle because it allows criminals to put dirty money in and take clean money out in the form of an insurance company check.

This illegal money is derived from criminal activities such as the following:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Terrorism
  • Illegal arms sales
  • Prostitution
  • Smuggling
  • Counterfeiting
  • Insider trading
  • Other serious crimes

Possible Signs of Money Laundering in Insurance

Let’s look at some examples of potentially suspicious activities insurance professionals may encounter that could be an indication of money laundering or terrorist financing activities.

  • A customer borrows against the cash surrender value of permanent life insurance policies, particularly when payments are made to apparently unrelated third parties.
  • A customer purchases a product that appears outside the customer’s normal range of financial means or estate planning needs.
  • A customer purchases insurance products using a single, large premium payment, particularly when payment is made through unusual methods such as currency or currency equivalents.
  • A customer purchases products with termination features without concern for the product’s investment performance.
  • Policies are purchased that allow for the transfer of beneficial ownership interests without the knowledge and consent of the insurance issuer. This would include secondhand endowment and bearer insurance policies.
  • A customer is known to purchase several insurance products and uses the proceeds from an early policy surrender to purchase other financial assets.
  • A customer uses multiple currency equivalents, such as cashier’s checks and money orders, from different banks and money service businesses to make insurance policy or annuity payments.
  • A customer terminates an insurance product early, including during the free-look period.
  • A customer designates an apparently unrelated third party as the policy’s or product’s beneficiary.

Among all the things an insurance agent does, reporting such suspicious activities is a the top of the list. However, there is no need to determine whether the transactions are, in fact, linked to money laundering, terrorist financing, or some other crime. That is a matter better left to those with experience in such matters.

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Interested in learning more about this topic? Enroll in Kaplan’s Anti-Money Laundering Rules for Insurance Companies course in our Insurance CE library. Simply visit the Insurance CE page and select your state to get started.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 15, 2019
100 dollar bills hanging on a clothes line to represent money laundering

What to Expect on Insurance License Exam Day

So, you've followed our tips for how to pass your insurance license exam and are about to take it, Congratulations! Do you know what to expect on test day? We have the inside scoop on the testing process so you are not tripped up on exam day. 

To take your insurance exam, you will need to schedule it with one of your state’s approved testing centers. Every state uses test providers, which are companies hired by the state insurance commissioner and/or the state securities administrator to conduct insurance license exams. Do not be alarmed if you encounter others who are at the testing center for a completely different test. These locations may offer many different types of tests beyond insurance in fields like securities, nursing, and contracting.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

Insurance License Exam Day Arrival

Be sure to show up a little earlier than your testing time. It is a good idea to research ahead of time where the center is and how long it will take you to get there, so you can plan accordingly. If you are late, you may not be allowed to take the exam.

Check-in

When you arrive at the test center on the day of the pre-arranged exam, you must check in before your exam time. You will need to present a picture ID (ie. state driver’s license, state ID card, passport). In some states, you must also present a Certification of Completion form indicating that you have successfully completed a licensing course from a provider like Kaplan.

After check-in, you must place everything from your pockets, including jewelry, watches, and purses in a locker. For greater peace of mind, do NOT wear or bring anything valuable to the exam. After you lock your belongings in a locker, you will be escorted into the testing room with only your picture ID and locker key and placed in an assigned testing cubicle. A testing employee will explain the expected conduct during the exam to you.

In the Testing Room

There may be cameras present in the testing room. You are expected to be quiet; any suspicious signs of cheating will disqualify you from the exam. If cheating is suspected for any reason, a testing employee will remove you from the room and you may face disciplinary action from the state administrator. If you need to use the public facilities during the exam, you will have to use your ID to leave and return to the testing room.

There will be a computer provided in your testing cubicle. Prior to the exam, you will participate in a tutorial presentation. This presentation will explain the functions of the computer, provide a sample multiple-choice question, and give directions on how to select an answer. Then the exam will begin!

Results

Once you complete the exam, you will receive a piece of paper with the results. If you pass, you will receive a piece of paper explaining how to apply for your license with the state. You may have to wait a few days for the testing center to report that you passed before you can apply for your license. If you fail, you will get a diagnostic report so you know what areas to study for next time. If you studied on your own, you can increase the odds of passing the second time around by looking into an exam preparation package.

That’s all there is to it! If you have other questions or are looking for more exam-related information, please visit our Insurance Licensing FAQ page here.

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Ensure you are prepared for the insurance licensing exam with Kaplan’s insurance license exam prep solutions . We have study options to suit all learning styles! Get started today.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 7, 2019
pushpin on a calendar representing insurance licensing exam day

What Does a Life Insurance Agent Do?

As someone considering a career in the insurance industry, you may be wondering what different types of insurance agents do. This article explores the day-to-day work of a life insurance agent to help you get a better feel for whether this is a good career move for you.

Life insurance agents have the important job of helping people prepare for unexpected circumstances. The main tasks of a life insurance agent are to: 1) sell life insurance policies and annuities to clients; and 2) to work with clients and beneficiaries to process insurance claims promptly. Being a life insurance agent involves a lot of selling, which means an interest in and knack for marketing is a must.

A typical day for a life insurance agent involves actively pursuing potential clients by phone, mail, email, or social media; making presentations to clients or groups; and meeting with clients to discuss long-term goals and coverage options. There is a lot of paperwork required in the insurance industry; processing changes in beneficiary and policy loan applications and updating records are frequent job tasks. You’ll also do a fair amount of crunching numbers to determine rates when helping clients find the best products to suit their needs.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

It is not enough to pass a life insurance licensing exam or a life and health licensing exam. A life insurance agent must stay up-to-date on regulation changes and industry updates. For this reason, it is important for life insurance agents to participate in education opportunities (including mandatory continuing education for license renewal), read professional publications, maintain personal networks, and participate in professional organizations. Successful life insurance agents will also be actively involved in their community—it helps build their reputation locally and network for prospective clients.

Captive Life Insurance Agent vs. Independent Life Insurance Agent

There are two different routes for employment that a life insurance agent can go: become a captive agent or an independent life insurance agent (non-captive agent). A captive insurance agent works for one insurance company and exclusively sells that company’s products. An independent life insurance agent works for a brokerage and is able to sell multiple companies’ products.

There are benefits and challenges to both career paths. Being a captive agent for an insurance group or firm generally means your office expenses are paid for, and you receive benefits like a pension, life and health insurance, continuing education training, and credit union membership. Some captive agents are even salary-based. The downside to being a captive agent is the limitations of what you can sell. You may also find you have to meet quotas of selling certain policies for the company. An independent life insurance agent has more product offerings available and is able to work with clients to ensure the product they are selling most closely aligns with the client’s needs. You will be required to use your own resources to start the business and market it though.

Important Skills for Success

Regardless of whether you become a captive or non-captive agent, there are some key skills you will need to be a successful life insurance agent. Agents need to have excellent interpersonal skills and be comfortable with people from all walks of life and in various emotional states. A life insurance agent will meet with beneficiaries upon death and will need to help them process their claim as promptly and smoothly as possible. Communication skills are also important in this career. Not only is it important to understand the ins and outs of all products you sell, but you need to be able to explain them in a way that is easy to understand in order to be successful. You can learn more about the traits that make an insurance agent successful, and that includes life insurance sales, here.

Being tech savvy is becoming increasingly important for success as well. Many prospective clients will find you via your website, review sites, and social media. It is important that you have a good web presence and are willing to adopt the next important platform. All insurance agents must be self-starters who are determined to succeed. Building a book of business takes time and dedication, and it requires hearing ‘no’ a lot to get to a ‘yes.’

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Does this career sound like a good fit for you? If so, check out our article on how to become an insurance agent. If you are ready to start studying for your life only or life and health insurance license, explore some of our insurance exam prep study options .

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 7, 2019
Life insurance agent considering all factors affecting a policy

Top Ten Traits of Successful Insurance Agents

There are many advantages of going into the insurance industry. An insurance agent has flexible hours, independence, and gets to help clients solve problems. It is not a career for everyone though. It takes a certain type of person to thrive in this unstructured, fast-paced industry. In this article, we count down the top 10 traits that the majority of successful insurance professionals share.

10. Problem-solver

Do you enjoy coming up with creative solutions to problems? Much of this job is helping clients find the right insurance policies for their needs. If you get a sense of accomplishment from finding the right solution for a client, this career might be for you. 

9. Self-motivated

Are you someone that can get yourself going every day without a ton of structure? To succeed in insurance sales, one must be a self-starter. The role an insurance agent means working more than just 9:00 to 5:00. It takes a lot of internal motivation to stay on track. Persistence and follow-up are keys to success. 

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download our free ebook, Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence, for advice and tips from 100+ insurance professionals.

8. Honest

This might seem obvious, but unethical insurance agents rarely stay in business very long. Telling the truth to clients is what will win respect and trust, which will result in higher retention of clients.

7. Sense of urgency

A great work ethic is required to be a top producing insurance agent. You must have the tenacity to pursue every lead and stay on top of follow-ups.

6. Reslience

If you are deterred easily by rejection, this career may not be for you. An insurance agent must be prepared to hear no often and not be fazed by it. It takes a great deal of patience to achieve success in this industry.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

5. Passionate

To be a good insurance agent, it is important to be upbeat and engaging with clients. The more energy and enthusiasm you show for helping clients, the more you will connect with them.

4. Communication Skills

Insurance is difficult for the average person to understand. Insurance agents who can easily explain coverage options in easy to digest ways are going to have much greater success than those who cannot.

3. Good Listener

The key to being a good insurance agent is putting the needs of the client first. In order to do this, it is essential an agent listen carefully to what their prospective clients need and clearly demonstrate their interest in providing a proper solution. No one wants a stereotypical salesperson that won’t stop talking.

2. Networking Skills

Do you have a large network? Are you comfortable asking friends, family, and clients for referrals? In order to grow your book of business, asking for referrals and networking will need to be second nature to you.

1. Love of Learning

The insurance industry changes all the time, and it is essential to stay-up-to-date on policies and state regulations and meet continuing education requirements. Good insurance agents love learning and want to understand the tax and legal aspects of the products they sell, as well as how they fit into a client’s financial portfolio.

Ready to Get Started?

You’ll get out of your career whatever you put into it. There is a certain level of commitment needed (time, money, energy) to make any business venture successful. Insurance is really no different. If you are passionate about insurance and have similar traits to those outlined here, you have a great shot at having a long and successful insurance career. 

 

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 7, 2019
graphic depiction of all of the ingredients of a successful insurance agent

Advice for Aspiring Insurance Professionals

Making the decision to enter the insurance industry is not a career move to be made lightly. We recently sat down with David Gorecki, who has over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry and 10 years of experience as a Kaplan instructor, to ask him what advice he has for aspiring insurance agents

Q. What skills do you think someone needs to have a successful career in insurance?

A. It is important for a person in this industry to realize that insurance is a career – not a job. It is going to be a rough 3-5 years to build up a book of clients. A clock puncher will not be successful in this industry. A career does not have a time clock. It’s a 24/7 job and you should want to do all that needs to be done in order to be successful. It is important to think of this career as climbing a mountain for the first 3-5 years. You will hit some steep points before you hit the top of the mountain. Once you hit the top of the mountain, you will have built up clients that continually bring in renewals. It is quite a journey to get there though.

It is important for people to do a personal assessment and find out whether sales will be a career they enjoy. This list of characteristics needed to be a successful insurance agent can help you make that determination. No one should enter this career without a great deal of understanding for what they are getting into. Interviewing veterans in the industry will help a prospective insurance professional get a realistic picture of the job and whether it would be a good fit. 

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Q. What are the main career paths for someone getting an insurance license?

A. There are two main paths: become a multi-line insurance agent, either a broker for multiple agencies or captive for one agency, or become a financial advisor. With insurance, the focus is on protecting people. With investment, the focus is on making someone more money. Some insurance firms will have agents get their life, accident, and health license on day one so they are trained to sell life insurance first. Then they will require securities licenses later. Other firms that focus on investment will have you get all your licenses before you can start.

One of the biggest fears going into this industry is commission sales. I tell the students that there are two ways to get paid: one is for someone to decide how much you’re worth (salary) and the other is to decide what you’re worth (commission). You have to understand that and how to deal with commission to make it in this industry.

Q. What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in insurance?

A. The best thing anyone can do is go talk to three insurance industry veterans and interview them. Ask them not only the broad questions like ‘why did you choose this career?’ but the hidden questions like ‘how long did you struggle?’ ‘How poor were you when you started your career?’ ‘How many times did you want to quit in your first year?’ ‘How did you cope with rejection?’ I make students do this all the time. When I worked in the industry, I would always have new employees interview veterans in my office. It’s the best way to get a realistic job preview.

Also, interview the company that wants to hire you. Don’t let them just interview you – interview them too. You have to understand that the interviewing process is a two-way street. It is a good sign when companies ask prospective employees to do pre-job requirements, create marketing systems, and go out and talk with industry veterans. It shows that they care about finding the right people for their jobs.

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If you're ready to get started on your path to an insurance career by taking a licensing exams, an exam preparation package can help.


David Gorecki started teaching insurance, securities, and CE classes for Kaplan Professional Education in 2005. Previously, he spent 35 years in the financial services industry. David held various management positions for 18 of those years with both insurance and investment companies. He received his psychology degree from DePaul University in Chicago and currently manages 60 classroom instructors who teach insurance licensing courses.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 7, 2019
Aspiring insurance agent

Insurance Agent Career At-a-Glance

Are you considering a career in the insurance industry? If you are looking for more information about the profession, you are in the right place. Find out more about what the day-to-day of an insurance industry professional is like, as well as the expected job growth over the next decade below.

What Do Insurance Agents Do?

Insurance agents sell one or more types of insurance for insurance companies. The role of an insurance agent is to help clients understand differences in insurance policies and help them choose what plans are best suited for them. Typical job duties for insurance agents include:

  • Call potential clients to drive new business
  • Meet with potential clients to discuss their existing coverage and insurance needs
  • Explain various insurance policy options
  • Analyze clients’ current insurance plans and suggest changes/additions
  • Process policy renewals
  • Help clients settle insurance claims

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Important Skill Sets for Insurance Agents

  • Customer Service: At the core of being an insurance agent is helping prospective and current clients understand and choose insurance plans.
  • Sales and Marketing: An insurance agent will also have to routinely call prospective clients and set up meetings to get details about their finances and goals.
  • Analytical Abilities: It is important for insurance agents to be able to analyze risk and benefits of all policy options for clients.
  • Self-Motivated: Being an insurance agent means being able to take initiative, recognize opportunities, and continually follow up with prospective and current clients.
  • Commitment to Life-Long Learning: Insurance policies and state regulations are constantly changing. It is important for insurance agents to stay up-to-date on industry and regulation changes.

Along with skill sets, there are traits that can help you succeed. Learn about them here.

Job Outlook for Insurance Agents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of insurance sales agent is expected to increase by 10% from 2012 to 2022. This is higher than other sales and related occupations, which are expected to grow by 7%.

Employment growth should be even higher for agents selling health and long-term care insurance due to the aging population. There is also more opportunity for growth as more people have access to health insurance from federal health insurance reform legislation.

How Much Do Insurance Agents Make?

The median annual wage for insurance sales agents was $49,710 in May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% were paid less than $27,180 and the top 10% earned over $$125,190.

Insurance agents are often paid in one of three ways: salary only, salary and commission, or salary plus bonus. In some situations, agents who do financial planning receive a fee for their services instead of commission.

Commissions are a common form of payment, particularly with more experienced insurance agents. The amount of commission varies on the type and amount of insurance sold, and whether it is a renewal or new policy. Bonuses are sometimes given to agents when individual or agency sales goals are met.

How Do You Become an Insurance Agent?

The process for becoming an insurance agent depends on what lines of authority you want to sell and what states you want to sell in. You also have to pass prelicensing exams. For more information on becoming an insurance agent, visit our article on this topic. If you're thinking of becoming licensed, exam preparation can help.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 7, 2019
umbrella representing insurance protecting an area from rain

How to Become an Insurance Agent

The role of an insurance agent, has amazing growth potential, and is a great way to start your career or make a much-needed change. But if you do know, you think you have what it takes, and you've considered making this career change, you're likely wondering how. In this article, we've outlined the five basic steps toward earning a license and starting your insurance career. 

How to Become an Insurance Agent

Step 1: Decide What Kind of Insurance You Want to Sell

The first thing you want to do is decide what type or types of insurance you’d like to specialize in. In the industry, these are referred to as “lines of authority.” Here’s a rundown of the most common:

  • Life insurance: Selling policies and annuities related to providing for a beneficiary upon the death of the insured.

  • Health insurance: Selling medical, disability, Medicare supplement, and long-term care policies.

  • Property insurance: Selling homeowner, commercial property, and inland marine policies.

  • Casualty insurance: Selling auto, workers compensation, crime coverage, and professional liability policies.

  • Surplus line insurance: Selling coverage for unique or unusual situations with risks that aren’t covered by standard insurance, such as daycare insurance, oil drilling rigs insurance, and special events like state fairs, car races, and outdoor amusement parks.

  • Variable products insurance: Selling insurance products with an investment element. To sell this kind of insurance, you need certain securities licenses.

  • Personal lines insurance: Selling products like auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and policies for boats, motorcycles, and snowmobiles to individual consumers only.

Another option is becoming an adjuster, which is the business of investigating and adjusting claims on an insurance policy. Insurance adjusters also solicit for the adjustment business.

In a  number of cases, you don’t have to pick just one line of authority. Individuals often combine certain lines, such as property and casualty insurance.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

Step 2: Understand the General Requirements

After you’ve decided what kind of insurance agent you want to be, the next step is to understand the basic requirements: 

  • You need to be at least 18 years old to become an insurance agent.

  • You need to complete prelicensing education for your line of authority, which is determined by each state. The number of hours you’ll have to complete and the cost also varies by state.

  • You need to pass the state insurance licensing exam for your line or lines of authority. An insurance exam preparation package can help.

  • You need to pass a background check. The process varies by states and, in some cases, includes fingerprinting. 

  • You need continuing education to keep or renew your license.

Step 3: Decide on a State and Find Out Its Requirements

Now that you have a basic idea of what you need to do, it’s time to decide whether you want to sell insurance in your home state or some other state. (You can also sell in more than one state, but you also must abide by the rules for each.) As you saw in Step 2, each state regulates its own insurance licensing process, and each state’s regulations or rules are slightly different, so this is why deciding on where is so important.

After you’ve made your decision, check with the department of insurance in that state for the rules. The state bodies of government that regulate insurance have different names, so a good way to find out the name of the state’s insurance body is to go to the official website of the state and search for the insurance licensing rules. Most state insurance web pages are quite helpful and often have handbooks you can download and read to get all the information you need to become an insurance agent in that state. You’ll find out exactly how many hours of education (if any) you need, how to register for the exam, where to go for the exam, how you’ll get your score, and—if you pass—how you’ll get your license.

Each state website will also tell you what kind of continuing education you need to keep or renew your license.

Step 4: Research Agencies

Now is also the time to research any agencies for which you want to work. Many have additional requirements for candidates or agents to follow that you’ll need to be aware of if you want to work there. Also, some agencies will hire you before you have a license, and they might have specific processes you need to follow.

Step 5: Pass Your State Exam and Apply at Insurance Agencies

You’ve done your research and know what you want to do. So, it’s time to get out there, get the hours of education required by the state and agency of your choice, take the exam, and pass it. Armed with your license and your knowledge, you’re ready for an exciting and rewarding career as an insurance agent. Good luck, and don’t forget about keeping up with your continuing education.

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Posted by Kaplan Financial Education - March 7, 2019
hand of an insurance agent protecting his clients

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