Being an independent insurance agent requires certain personal qualities, such as ambition, organization, and outstanding people skills. If you believe you possess these qualities, it may be worth considering a career as an agent in Florida. However, keep in mind that establishing your business will require you to complete several crucial steps, including obtaining your insurance license. Here’s how to become an independent insurance agent in Florida.
Before you work toward your licensing application, you’ll need to choose one or more lines of authority. As an insurance agent, you’re only allowed to sell policies in the lines related to your license. For example, under the heading of property and casualty, you’d need to apply for a general lines license in Florida if you wanted to sell insurance to businesses. A license to sell personal lines policies is more limited, with different pre-licensing courses and exam requirements.
Florida requires that most insurance license applicants complete a set number of hours in a pre-licensing course. Requirements range from 40 to 200 hours, depending on the license you want to get. Each course includes a few hours in ethics. You can complete your education in-person, online or through self-study courses. You’ll need to prove that you passed the courses before you can apply for an exam. If you decide to take the self-study route, you’ll take proctored tests before the licensing exam.
With completed coursework, you can apply to take the licensing exam. You should plan to spend at least one to three hours at the testing center, depending on the license. Choose a good time for you to focus and show up early for the test. Exams range from 40 to 150 questions, with several non-scored pretest questions in the exam. Once you finish the exam, you’ll get a printout of your passing or failing grade with your photo on it.
Once you pass the exam, you have one year to submit an application for your license. As a general rule, you’ll have to prove that you are a Florida resident with permission to work in the state. You need to schedule an appointment for fingerprints, even if you have submitted fingerprints for other Florida agencies before. You can submit your application online and check your status on the website for Florida’s chief financial officer.
With an active license, you can start your business. You’ll need to apply for a business license, establish a location, and start services that will help you attend to your clients. In Florida, your insurance license remains active as long as you continue to meet the requirements. If you plan on becoming an independent insurance agent, you won’t need to secure appointments from insurers. It’s important to make the right distinction, as it affects how you run your business. Remember to complete your continuing education obligations, as this may affect your ability to continue to operate as an insurance agent.
Starting your own independent agency in Florida requires pre-licensing education, a successful exam attempt and a license. It’s best to go in with a plan to run your business, so that you can build success over time. Renegade Insurance operates a platform that agents can use to handle tasks for existing clients, so you can work on achieving your business goals. If you feel you have what it takes to succeed as an independent insurance agent, become an agent today!