How to Become an Independent Insurance Agent

Learn how to become an independent insurance agent. If you know the steps ahead of time, it can make the process go quicker and more efficiently.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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Quick Facts

  • Becoming an independent insurance agent has a general five-step process
  • Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina have more in-depth steps to becoming an insurance agent
  • You can find your state’s requirements on The National Insurance Producer Registry

Whether you’re interested in helping clients navigate their way through life insurance or you’re considering auto insurance as your line of authority, the general steps are the same.

Knowing how to become an independent insurance agent in your state will help you move through the process quickly and efficiently.

Find your line of authority and help those around you get coverage. Enter your ZIP code and get a free quote today.

How to Become an Independent Insurance Agent in Five Easy Steps

Although the process to become an independent insurance agent is different in each state, there are five general steps you will need to take.

Step one is to complete an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Although this isn’t required by every brokerage or insurance agency, college can put you on the path to a career in risk management or as an actuary.

Picking a specialty is step two. Before studying for your licensing, you have to decide which line of authority you want to work in. Lines of authority to choose from include property & casualty, disability, life & health, commercial lines, and personal lines. Some states may combine specialties while others separate them.

Step three is completing your pre-licensure requirements. These vary state-to-state and should be available to you on the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).

Step four is to pass the licensing exam. The National Insurance Producer Registry has a list of specific licensing requirements, associated fees, and whatever else you might need to know per your state of residence.

Lastly, step five is to apply to insurance agencies. These agencies can vary from small, local brokerages to regional offices of well-known insurance companies.

Before taking these steps, there are two things that you should do:

  • Expect to market your friends and family. If you’re uncomfortable with incorporating your close friends and family into your business ventures, know that they will more than likely have to be involved. This goes along with building your clientele.
  • Look into any complaint histories against the companies you’re considering working for. You can do this by visiting your state’s insurance commissioner’s website.

Remember, the steps you will need to take to become an independent insurance agent vary depending on what state you live in.

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Which states are more strict with the rules for becoming an independent insurance agent?

As stated before, each state has different requirements to become an independent insurance agent. To obtain a license, there are three steps:

  1. Pay a fee
  2. Complete the training course
  3. Pass the licensing exam

Certain states have very specific requirements. Becoming an independent insurance agent in Georgia is done in nine steps, which is more than the five general steps we listed above.

  • Choose the type of insurance you want to sell
  • Review licensing requirements. Below are the insurance licenses available in Georgia.
    1. Credit
    2. Life, accident, and sickness
    3. Personal lines
    4. Property and casualty
    5. Temporary resident
    6. Travel
    7. Variable products
  • Complete your pre-licensing education requirements
  • Make a reservation to take your exam and have the following ready:
    1. Legal name, address, Social Security number, telephone number
    2. Name of the school or the school code where you completed your pre-licensing training
    3. Name of the examination
    4. Preferred exam date and test center location
    5. A way to pay the exam fee electronically
  • Gather what you need to take the exam
    1. Primary ID
    2. Secondary ID
    3. Pre-licensing education certificate
    4. Passing Georgia life examination score report if you are a variable product candidate
  • Take your exam and receive your results
  • If you passed, complete the citizenship affidavit
  • Apply for your license
  • Complete fingerprinting registration

Another state that has more strict, in-depth rules for prospective insurance agents is North Carolina.

As with every other state, the first step is to complete the pre-licensing education requirements. Next, you complete your license application and pay your state license fee.

If you are submitting one application for multiple lines of authority, the fee only needs to be paid once, but no license will be given until all of the examinations for the lines of authority requested are passed.

Once you receive an email authorization, you will be able to schedule your exam. It should be sent within an hour of submitting your application.

If fingerprints are required, you will be instructed in another email on how to submit your fingerprints. A law enforcement officer must sign off on your fingerprints.

Once you take and pass the exam, your results will be sent to NIPR, where you submitted your application. This can take anywhere between 48 and 72 hours.

If your application is complete and meets license qualifications, then it will be approved. You will then receive a congratulatory email. Your license will be included in the email and then you will be able to print it.

To become an independent insurance agent in Florida, there are also a specific set of requirements.

  • Complete the Florida pre-licensing education. You will be required to complete a specific number of state-approved education credit hours. These hours vary depending on the license you are looking to obtain. After completing the course, you’ll get a certificate.
  • Next, you will apply for your Florida insurance license and pay the application fee and license ID fee through Florida’s Agent and Agency Services page.
  • The third step you will take is to complete your fingerprinting and background check. There is another fee for your fingerprinting process, and they will automatically be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • Next, sit for the exam that matches the insurance line you want to carry.
  • Lastly, if you pass the exam, your application is accepted, and your background check is approved, then you will be issued your insurance license.

What else do you need to know to become an independent agent? Keep reading to learn more.

What does independent insurance agent training consist of?

In most cases, if you’re looking to become an independent insurance agent, a high school diploma is sufficient before entering training. However, higher education will open up more career opportunities for you later on.

Agencies that do require a degree look for degrees in business or management.

The training that is necessary consists of pre-licensing training courses. You will be able to learn about various insurance policies, insurance ethics, and your state’s laws as they apply to the insurance you want to sell.

Obtaining Certifications and Licensure

Insurance agents are encouraged to have experience in sales, marketing, and customer service.

Some states require license applicants to be sponsored by an employer.

It is important to remember that licenses must be renewed periodically and maintained by completing continuing education.

Good resources for prospective insurance agents are Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Inc. and the National Association for Insurance Agents. How To Become offers over 17,000 online programs.

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