How to Become an Insurance Broker in 5 Simple Steps

woman looking at insurance documents

 

To become an insurance broker, you’ll need to complete pre-licensing requirements like coursework, fingerprints and an exam. These requirements vary depending on where you want to get licensed. As an insurance broker, you’ll work directly with clients to find the best insurance policies for them. This includes all types of insurance like health insurance, professional liability insurance and auto insurance.

Since brokers aren’t tied to an insurance company, you’re free to recommend what you think is best for your client rather than what’s in the best interest of the insurance company. Below, we’ll walk you through common steps aspiring brokers can take to get their license.

#1 Check the requirements in your state

Each state has different requirements for insurance brokers. For example, some require you to get a degree while others don’t. Some states require you to get a producer license instead of an insurance broker license. A simple search for your state’s department of insurance website should help you find your state’s requirements. You can also check out the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) to learn more.

#2 Complete pre-licensing requirements

Pre-licensing looks different for every state, but many have similar requirements. We’ll explain a few common ones below:

  • Complete required coursework: Ethics and insurance codes are topics you can expect to tackle.
  • Submit your fingerprints: Some states require you to submit your fingerprints for a background check.
  • Take the qualifying exam: Licensing exams can cover state laws and insurance products. You may need to take a few exams depending on your speciality.

You have a set time after you’ve completed these requirements to get your insurance broker’s license. Complete the requirements and submit your application right away to avoid missing the deadline. Most requirements also have fees. Check for convenience and application fees so you aren’t caught off guard by the costs.

woman at laptop studying

#4 Submit application

After completing your state’s pre-licensing requirements, submit your application. You’ll provide information confirming that you passed your exams and completed the required coursework. Your state may also need information on your work history.

You’ll also pay a fee for your application and may need to pay multiple application fees for each license.

#5 Get an insurance broker bond

Most states require  an insurance broker bond before you can start working. This type of surety bond is an agreement between three parties: the broker, the surety agency and the state.

By granting the bond, the surety agency guarantees that the broker is financially capable of paying any claims put on the bond. The broker agrees to follow the terms of the bond and to repay the surety agency if anyone makes a valid claim.

States require surety bonds because they protect customers from a broker’s dishonest behavior and it holds brokers financially accountable.

Learn more about what surety bonds are and how they protect the public and your customers.

How much does an insurance broker earn?

An insurance broker makes an average of $62,955 in the United States according to PayScale. Entry-level brokers with less than a year of experience can earn an average of $48,170.

Insurance brokers earn most of their money through a commission paid from the insurance company when a sale is made. Some brokers also charge a broker fee. The amount of the commission and fees vary by each company and state.

insurance broker talking to clients

Do I have to renew my license?

Yes, you’ll likely need to renew your license. Most states require renewals after a few years to keep insurance brokers up-to-date on any changes in their state and the products they sell. Renewals can require extra coursework or training sessions.

Older brokers who’ve been continuously licensed for a long time may not need to renew their license. Check your state’s requirements ahead of time so you’ll know when your renewal period is coming up.

How can I get experience?

You can get experience through degree programs, internships and certifications. Although these routes aren’t normally required for your license, they’re great ways to stand out.

  • Internships: Internships are a way to get experience when you’re starting out. Although brokers don’t typically work for agencies, you’ll find valuable experience interning with one. It’s a chance to learn the ins and outs of insurance sales and different types of insurance. You can find internships through your school and online.
  • Degree programs: A four-year degree or higher will help you stand out among your peers. Some schools may offer business insurance or other directly-applicable programs. But, you’re more likely to find general programs like marketing and finance. Other topics like psychology and risk management can improve your communication and sales skills.
  • Certifications: Insurance brokers can earn professional designations to continue advancing their career. Professional certifications also help them stay on top of new laws and policies. The Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) Designation is a way to learn new sales techniques and marketing tactics and is open to everyone. However, other certifications like the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) program require at least two years of full-time experience in the industry.

If you’re ready to start the next step of becoming an insurance broker, get a free quote today on your insurance broker bonds. This way, you’ll know how much your bond will cost beforehand and you can guarantee that your bond is valid in your area.

 


Eric is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog. He has held a range of different roles within the surety industry, from agent assistant to bond issuer, which gives him a unique insider perspective on surety related topics.

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