Licensing Toolkit

One of the most active areas of enforcement by the Texas Department of Insurance is license compliance. Enforcing Texas laws, rules and regulations regarding the various types of insurance licenses is a key way TDI protects consumers and ensures a level playing field for those  operating in the insurance business. The IIAT Licensing Toolkit will help you navigate the requirements and properly comply with regulatory requirements.

Step
1

Who Needs a License

Individuals, Partnerships, Corporations

The Texas Insurance Code requires licensing of any person or entity that performs one or more of these functions:

  • solicits applications on behalf of an insurance company or health maintenance organization
  • takes or transmits any application for insurance or membership in a health maintenance organization
  • takes or transmits any policy of insurance to or from an insurance company
  • advertises or otherwise gives notice that an application or policy will be received or transmitted
  • receives or delivers a policy of insurance
  • examines or inspects any risk
  • makes or forwards a diagram of a building
  • receives, collects or transmits any premium
  • performs any other act or thing in the making or consummating of any contract of insurance
  • examines or adjusts any loss
Step
2

License Types

What do I need?

Each type of license grants authority to engage in the insurance business with an insurance carrier authorized to sell those products in Texas. The General Lines Property & Casualty license and the General Lines Life, Accident, Health and HMO licenses offer the broadest authorities. The other license types are more restrictive and limit the types of insurance or activities that those license holders can pursue.

An individual or entity can hold more than one type of license.

Individuals selling annuities and Medicare-related products must also complete a certification course approved by TDI before they begin selling or soliciting these products.

Step
3

Obtaining a License

Where do I start?

The process of obtaining a license involves completion of a qualifying exam before the application process begins. Individuals with certain professional designations are exempt from the examination requirement. The Texas Department of Insurance has contracted with Pearson Vue to administer and score all license exams. Pearson Vue has developed the Candidate Handbook as a guide through the process.

When the exam has been successfully completed, an application must be submitted and must include fingerprints for a criminal background investigation.

If you are moving to Texas and hold a similar insurance license in your previous state within the 90-day period preceding the Texas application, you will qualify for a Texas license without taking an examination. You will need to submit the TDI application with a letter of clearance or a Producer Database (PDB) report showing you have had a license within the 90-day period.

Step
4

Preparing for the Exam

What are my options?

There are a variety of ways to prepare for the examination including traditional self-study with a textbook, online learning and classroom study. You should decide which method best suits both your learning style and the time you will have available to prepare. IIAT provides license exam study guides and exam simulators you can purchase through the IIAT Store.

You should begin with the Exam Content Outline for the license type you are pursuing. It gives a broad overview of the test including an approximate number of questions for each subject.

Step
5

General Information

What else is required?

All licensees are required to maintain current information with TDI including company appointments, name changes, address changes, and records relating to customer complaints.

Completion of the FIN533 for name changes may also require fingerprints of the individuals listed on the application. Fingerprints would be required if fingerprints were not previously submitted because the original license was obtained prior to Aug. 1, 1996, a new set of fingerprints is required. This also applies if the fingerprints on file are more than seven years old. Fingerprint cards and fingerprinting services are available from Pearson Vue or Indent to Go by MorphoTrust.

There are also special provisions that allow for a temporary license or an emergency license without an examination.

Step
6

Non Resident Licenses

Can I do business in other states?

As a Texas resident your license authorizes you to do business in this state. Should you choose to sell or service insurance in another state you will be subject to that state's licensing requirements. Most states require a certification from TDI that the Texas license is in good standing You will need to apply as a non-resident and adhere to the specific requirements of that state.
Step
7

Continuing Education

What do I need to do?

All licensed agents must complete 24 hours of continuing education during a license cycle. At least two of the hours must be an approved ethics course. At least 15 of the hours must be classroom or classroom equivalent.

For all licenses issued or renewing on and after 
September 1, 2015, which formerly required 30 hours of continuing education (CE) during each license period, only 24 hours of continuing education is required for each license period.  Licenses expiring before September 1, 2015, will have to complete 30 hours of CE.

For all licenses issued or renewing on and after November 1, 2015, completion of the 24 hours of CE is required for a licensee to renew his license.  If a licensee does not complete the 24 hours of CE before the expiration date of the license, the licensee will have 90 days to complete the deficient number of hours and pay a fine of $50 per deficient hour.  If these two conditions are not met within 90 days of the license expiring, the license will be inactivated, and the licensee will have to apply for a new license.  A new license will not be granted until the deficient CE hours are completed and the fine is paid.  In order to ensure that there is no delay in renewing a license, license holders are encouraged to complete CE hours at least 30 days before the license expires to allow time for the CE provider to report the successful completion of the course(s) to TDI.

Additional requirements apply to Medicare-related products and annuities.

Special credits can be earned by members of a state or national insurance association.