How to Become an Insurance Agent in Virginia

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Becoming an insurance agent in Virginia can offer a rewarding career path for those seeking financial stability and long-term income growth due to various incentive pay structures. Gaining a foothold in the industry will require some study and preparation. The more business education and experience you have, the more prepared you are to assist your current and potential clients when recommending insurance products that will adequately protect their interests and investments.

  • Attend and graduate from a bachelor’s degree program in a business or finance related major. Although a degree is not required for licensing, if you intend on working for a solid insurance brokerage or financial planning firm, a four-year degree is often a prerequisite for applying. In addition, a solid education in business or finance will better prepare you to understand the financial situations your clients face and how to leverage insurance to improve those situations.

  • Work upon graduation, for a minimum of five years continuously, without any gaps in employment. The state of Virginia will require you to adhere to this policy, as you must be able to demonstrate five years of continuous employment in order to request licensure. With a business degree, you might seek a sales job to gain experience selling products and services or an account management job to learn how to manage multiple accounts and gain experience in sales.

  • Complete the study of all pre-licensing courses as required by the state of Virginia. The state of Virginia requires you to complete 16-hours of study in courses for each license you are looking to obtain, before you can sit for the exam and apply for your license. For example, if you are looking to be licensed to sell both life and health insurance, you will be required to complete two separate courses, 16-hours in length each. The courses will cost $200 to $300 each and will consists of learning the application of that particular insurance line, along with ethical considerations. You can complete the courses online or in the classroom from Virginia’s preferred vendor (see Resources).

  • Request that your pre-licensing courses instructor fill out a Pre-licensing Education Affidavit and Certification Form, available for download online (see Resources).

  • Take the examination for the insurance lines you are looking to represent. Everything you learned in your pre-licensing course elicits coverage in this comprehensive exam. You can register to take the exam online. Expect to receive a schedule and directions to take the exam at a testing center closest to you once registered (see Resources).

  • Visit your local State Police barracks and request a criminal background check on yourself. The State Police will run the background check and provide you will documentation of your criminal background (see Resources).

  • Fill out your application for licensure online once you receive your exam results indicating a passing score and your criminal background check (see Resources). You will need to scan electronic attachments of your criminal background check, your exam results and the Pre-licensing Education Affidavit and Certification Form. Upload these documents when directed during the electronic application process. You will also need a credit card to pay your fees online for licensing. Expect to pay a $15 fee to process your licensing application.

  • Search for a job with insurance firms in the state of Virginia, once you have received notification of your license approval. A good place to search for jobs in your local area is by referring to the local newspaper. Insurance companies usually run recruitment ads in the major newspapers and in other local job classifieds. You will also find these same ads run on both Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com.

Tips & Warnings

  • Virginia law requires that potential agents submit the application for licensure and receive approval within 183 days of taking the exam. If you do not meet this timeline, you will be compelled to retake the exam.
  • Insurance agents in the state of Virginia are required to uphold ethical considerations in all circumstances when representing insurance products. Misrepresenting policies for personal financial gain or any other reason will result in loss of your license at the direction of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance.

References

  • Photo Credit A businessman an businesswoman working on a business deal image by sumos from Fotolia.com
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