General Information Applicable To All Licenses

License Term and Renewal Procedures

Recently, to assist license holders with maintaining their licenses and to simplify the license renewal process SB 876 required TDI to align all individual and entity licenses. TDI has implemented these changes for the alignment of license expiration dates as follows: For individual licensees with only one license, their license will be extended to the individual's next birthday from the current expiration date. For individuals with more than one license, the expiration will be extended to the individual's next birthday after the latest expiration date of any existing license held.

For example, if you have a license expiring in April and another in July, the expiration will be extended to your next birthday following the July expiration. For entities that hold only one license, there will be no change in the expiration date of that license; but for entities that hold more than one license, the license expiration date for all licenses held will be extended to the latest expiration date of any existing license.

These changes will be applied to any renewals after January 14, 2016, and will be aligned as they renew. No additional CE hours will be required for any extended periods. Any new license issued will have an initial period that aligns its expiration date to the timelines outlined above.

You will not receive updated copies of existing licenses reflecting new expiration dates, but you can view license expiration dates or obtain a copy of your license to print from the Sircon.

The renewal application is mailed to the licensee by TDI. It should be completed and returned on or before the license expiration date with the required renewal fee. License can be renewed online with a credit card at www.texasonline.com. If the license is renewed after the expiration date but before 90 days after the expiration date, the license will be renewed, subject to the payment of a late fee. If the license has been expired for longer than 90 days, the individual must submit a new license application, renewal fee and late fee, but is not required to take an examination. If the license has been expired for longer than one year, the individual must re-take the qualifying exam and submit a new application.

In addition, if the license has been expired more than than 90 days, current fingerprints must be on file. 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.

The Texas Department of Insurance is no longer sending licenses to licensees by regular mail and license holders will need to print copies of their own licenses from Sircon.

If your application was submitted through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) or submitted via paper, there are two ways to print your license. Individuals can obtain a 
Sircon ProducerEDGE account at no cost and print a license for no fee from the ProducerEDGE account. If you don't obtain a ProducerEDGE account, Sircon requires a $5 fee but after the $5 fee is paid, copies may be printed for an additional 30 days at no charge.

If your application was submitted through Compliance Express, there are also two ways to print your license. Licenses can be printed from your ProducerEDGE account at no cost or you may receive a free copy within 30 days from the date the application was approved at Sircon. After 30 days, a $5 fee is required.


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Company Appointments

An insurance agent or agency must have a valid appointment with each insurance company through which the agent or agency places business. This applies to the following.

  • Individuals (including officers, shareholders, directors or partners of a corporate or partnership agency) who sell insurance on behalf of another individual agent or a corporate or partnership agency, unless the individual is appointed as a subagent by the other individual or the corporate or partnership agency (see below);
  • Individuals operating as sole proprietors; and
  • Corporations and partnerships.

An appointment form must be submitted to TDI for approval along with a fee. If the Commissioner has not disapproved an appointment within eight days after receipt by TDI, the appointment is deemed "approved." Company appointments are considered in force until they are terminated or withdrawn by the insurance company. Licenses without active appointments are placed in a "suspense" status and may be renewed by filing proper forms and fees at renewal time.

Exception: See “Brokering, Referrals and Sharing Commission” back to top

Termination of Agents by Insurance Companies

An insurance company can terminate the appointment of an agent or agency by filing the appropriate form. If the agent or agency is terminated for cause, the company must file a statement of the facts relating to the termination and the date and cause of the termination.

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Subagent Appointments for Individual General Lines and Personal Lines Agents

As an alternative to being appointed by each insurance company (see above), an individual agent with a general lines or personal lines license who sells insurance on behalf of another individual agent or a corporate or partnership agency (including officers, shareholders, directors or partners of a corporate or partnership agency), may have an appointment as a subagent of the agency with which he or she is affiliated. The individual can be appointed by more than one agent or agency. The appointment must be communicated to TDI by completing form TDI-501 and sending to TDI along with a $10 fee. The subagent must be licensed to write each type of insurance that the subagent is employed to write, or for which the subagent receives compensation, but the subagent is not required to hold each type of license issued to the agent for whom the subagent is employed. An insurance company is not required to separately appoint an agency's subagent.

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Termination of Subagents by Agents or Agencies

The agent or agency must promptly report to TDI the termination of a subagent by submitting form TDI-501. If the subagent is terminated for cause, the agency must provide a statement of the facts relating to the termination and the date and cause of the termination. Documents or statements provided to TDI to comply with this requirement are privileged and confidential and are not admissible in evidence except under a subpoena. The agent is not liable for providing the required information, as long as the agent or agency is acting without malice.

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Agency Affiliations of Insurance Service Representatives

An individual that holds an Insurance Service Representative (ISR) license can be affiliated with only one agency at a time. When an ISR leaves one agency and is hired by another agency, an ISR Transfer Form (FIN529) must be submitted to TDI along with a $10 fee. The form is available at the TDI web site.

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Trade Names

The word "agency" should be included in any trade name in which an insurance agent or agency intends to do business. Trade names used by sole proprietors or entity agencies must be filed with TDI by submitting a registration form (FIN528) and a fee. The form at the TDI web site. (See "Naming Your Agency").

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Name Changes

For a proprietorship agency to change an individual's name use (FIN533).  To change a trade name or name changes for a business entity use (FIN528). The forms can be downloaded from the TDI web site. See "Naming Your Agency," then see "Partnership and Corporation Licenses," for information concerning partnership and corporation name changes.

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Branch Offices

Each office location open to the public as an agency must be registered using the registration form (FIN528) and a fee. The form can be downloaded from its web site. The branch office must be managed by a licensed agent.

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Change of Address

Each licensed agent or agency must at all times keep TDI informed of its current address. Notice of address change should be mailed or faxed to the TDI license division using the registration form (FIN533).The forms can be downloaded from its web site.

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LDTL Registration Form (FIN528) for Trade Names, Name Changes, Branch Offices

Completion of the FIN528 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.

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License Suspension for Non-Support

Texas law allows a custodial parent of a minor child to petition the Texas Department of Insurance to suspend an insurance license when the license holder owes past due child support and no attempt is being made to pay it. Such action is subject to due process, allowing the license holder to appear and present a defense to the suspension in a public hearing.

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Continuing Education

Most individuals with insurance licenses are required to acquire continuing education hours, unless exempt. See Continuing Education Requirements.

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License Required for Compensation

The law requires anyone selling insurance to maintain the appropriate license for the type of insurance being sold. As a matter of fact, the law prohibits an insurance company from paying commissions to any person who is not duly licensed. In addition, an agent or agency is prohibited from sharing commissions with, or paying any other valuable consideration to, any person or entity unless that person or entity holds a license for the type of insurance being sold. This includes money or any other valuable consideration for the referral of a customer who seeks to purchase, or seeks an opinion on or advice regarding an insurance product, based on the purchase of insurance by that customer. Exceptions:

  • A former licensee may continue to receive renewal or other deferred commissions on insurance policies previously handled when licensed.
  • Licensed partnerships and corporations can share profits with unlicensed partnerships or corporations that have an ownership interest in the licensed entity.
  • Referral fees are legal, if the amount of compensation is not tied to an actual purchase. (See "Rebating and Referral Fees".)

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Exception for Family Trust

Licensed agents who are sole proprietors, partners or shareholders, with the approval of the other members of the partnership or by contract with the shareholders, may transfer an ownership interest in the agency or set up a trust for his/her children. The children may then share in the profits of the agency during their lifetime without being licensed. However, the children may not perform any act of an agent in connection with the agency business unless they are licensed.

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Exceptions for Death

Upon the death of a sole proprietor, partner of a partnership, or shareholder of a corporation, the surviving spouse and children may continue to share in the profits of the agency without obtaining a license. These individuals are not permitted to perform any acts of an active agent, such as soliciting insurance or signing policies. The law recognizes only the right to continued income.

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Active Solicitation Required

An agent must be active in the business of soliciting insurance from the general public, based on what is sometimes called the controlled business law. The intent of this law is to prohibit individuals from obtaining a license solely to write insurance for business the applicant controls through ownership, family relationship, or employment. The law requires an applicant for a license to certify that at least 25% of the total premium volume to be produced by the applicant will be derived from persons or organizations other than applicant and from property other than that which the applicant controls. If the license is being renewed, the applicant must state that the business produced during the last year has met this 25% requirement.

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Agents Sharing Offices

Two or more agents or agencies sharing an office may maintain one set of records for the transactions involved in the business. TDI requires records ­ including policies, binders, certificates, and invoices ­ to clearly and exactly identify the specific agent making the solicitation or servicing the policy. TDI holds both agents responsible in the event of a violation of this rule.

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Notification of Disciplinary Action

An agent must notify TDI if he or she has been the subject of an administrative disciplinary action taken against the agent by another state or federal financial or insurance regulator.

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Record Keeping

A licensed agent must maintain all insurance records, including all records relating to customer complaints, separate from the records of any other business in which the agent is engaged. (See "Retention Schedule", in pdf format)

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Temporary License

TDI can issue a 90-day temporary license to an applicant who is being considered for appointment as an agent for another license holder, an insurer, or a health maintenance organization. The temporary license applicant is not required to pass a qualifying exam. However, the temporary licensee must complete at least 40 hours of training within the first 14 days after the temporary license application is submitted. A person with a temporary license may not receive any commission or other compensation that results from an agency transaction. (Note: Because of the training requirement, the temporary license is typically used only by life & health insurers and agents.)

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Agent Disability Protection

If an agent is found guilty of a serious violation of the Insurance Code and is subject to license revocation or suspension, TDI may make a determination that the agent is disabled by a mental or substance abuse problem. In such a case, TDI may put the disabled agent on probation and allow the agent to remain licensed in order to make restitution to parties harmed by the agent's violations.

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Emergency License Without Examination

In the event of the death, disability or insolvency of a property and casualty agent, TDI may issue an emergency license without examination, if it is necessary for the preservation of the agency's assets. An emergency license is valid for 90 days in any consecutive 12 months and may be renewed for an additional 90 days during the 12-month period. To apply for an emergency license, download and complete an individual license application from the TDI website. Send the application to TDI with a letter of explanation and a copy of a death certificate or newspaper death notice.

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Criminal Background Checks

There is no state or federal law requiring agencies to conduct criminal background checks on agency employees and principals. However, the federal Violent Crimes Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) specifies that individuals convicted of a felony involving dishonesty or breach of trust may not work in the insurance industry without first obtaining written permission to do so from the state insurance department. In addition, insurance agencies and companies may not “knowingly” allow such individuals to work in the insurance industry. Persons with such criminal records, and persons who permit such individuals to work in the industry, are subject to fines and imprisonment. For this reason, conducting criminal background checks may be a good idea. Go to Criminal Background Checks for a full discussion of this issue.

Reference sources: Insurance Agent Forms - TDI

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License Information Review

IIAT technical staff recommends taking a few minutes at the end of each year to review your agency's license information on file with TDI.

Are all your officers, directors, partners, CSRs and producers properly appointed by and associated with your agency? Have you registered all trade names that are visible to the public? Have you registered all the locations where you maintain an office open to the public?

Send an e-mail to license@tdi.state.tx.us and request a License Information Summary for each agency entity license you maintain. Send a separate e-mail for each license and be sure to refer to the license number as well as the corporate or partnership name. If you operate as a sole proprietorship, refer to your individual general lines license number and full name shown on your license.

TDI will return a printout of your license information that shows (1) mail address and phone number, (2) registered office locations, (3) company appointments, (4) officers, directors, partners, and persons or entities who control more 10 percent or more of the agency's voting stock, (5) appointed sub-agents, (6) affiliated CSRs with ISR licenses, (7) and registered assumed names.

If the information shown on the license summary is not up to date, download the appropriate form from the TDI web site atwww.tdi.state.tx.us/forms/form11.html.

  • FIN528 to change the mail or street address of your primary office.
  • FIN532 to change the address of a currently registered branch office.
  • FIN528 to register a branch office.
  • FIN528 to register an assumed trade name.
  • FIN529 to appoint/transfer or cancel a CSR with an ISR license.
  • FIN531 to add or remove an officer, director, partner, or a person or entity who controls 10 percent or more of the agency's voting stock.
  • TDI501 to appoint a sub-agent (a producer or CSR with a general lines license) or cancel the appointment of a sub-agent no longer associated with the agency. (Note: TDI501 is not available on the TDI web site, but can be downloaded from the IIAT web site, go to http://www.iiat.org/down/TDI-501_form_appointment.pdf.

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