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Licensing FAQs


 

PIA of Florida receives numerous requests for information regarding licensing in the state of Florida. The following includes some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

We do our best to keep this information updated; however, please use the Florida Department of Financial Services website as the final authority on licensing issues.

1. What license(s) do I need to work in an insurance agency in Florida?
2. How do I obtain the necessary information and/or forms to apply for an insurance license in Florida?
3. Does the agency itself need to be licensed or just individual agents?
4. How do I qualify for a 2-20 (i.e., General Lines or property-casualty agent) license?
5. How do I qualify for the Personal Lines Only (20-44) license?
6. How do I qualify for a 4-40 (i.e. "Customer Representative" or "CR") license?
7. If I already have the 4-40 license, is there a shortcut available for earning the 2-20?
8. How do I qualify for a life and/or health license?
9. I'm moving to Florida and I've been a licensed agent for several years. Can I get a license without taking any classes or exams?
10. Does PIA offer insurance licensing classes?
11. Who offers licensing classes in Florida?
12. Are licensing classes are available through correspondence courses?
13. Are there online prelicensing courses?
14. Where can I get the necessary book(s) to study for the state's licensing exam?
15. How do I obtain a Florida nonresident agent license?
16. I'm interested in getting non-resident licenses for several other states. What should I do?


1. What license(s) do I need to work in an insurance agency in Florida?

Florida statutes require individuals involved in the transaction of insurance to be licensed and appointed, and insurance agencies to be licensed or registered (see question #3 for more on agency licensing).

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) offers a number of licenses for Florida residents, as well as nonresident equivalents for many of them. You can see a list of all the resident and nonresident agent and adjuster licenses available in Florida.

The major resident licenses include the General Lines (2-20) license, which is the broadest property-casualty agent's license, and the Life, Health & Variable Annuity (2-15) license, which is the broadest in the life-health category.

Because unlicensed employees are not allowed to discuss coverages or sell insurance, DFS offers licenses designed for customer service representatives (CSRs) who don't do outside sales but do discuss coverages with clients and may solicit insurance from within the office. The Customer Representative (4-40) license is intended for an agency CSR and is more limited than the 2-20 in various ways, the primary one being that a 4-40 must act under the authority of a 2-20 "supervising agent.” The Limited Customer Representative (4-42) is similar to the 4-40, but is limited to personal auto insurance.

In 2004 DFS introduced the Personal Lines Only (20-44) agent's license as an alternative to the 2-20. This license enables the licensee to act as a full-fledged agent but only for personal lines of insurance, such as homeowners and personal auto.

There are several limited life-health licenses available, the main ones being the Life & Variable Annuity (2-14) license, and the Health-only (2-40) license.

Most of the major licenses (including all of those mentioned above) require passing an exam, but some of the more limited licenses do not require one.

For most of the Florida resident licenses, a new resident can qualify for "transfer of license” if they've held the same type of license for at least a year in their previous home state, and they apply for their Florida license within 90 days of moving here. They'll have to meet various requirements including providing a "letter of clearance” from their previous state. Find out more at the DFS website.


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2. How do I obtain the necessary information and/or forms to apply for an insurance license in Florida?

Call the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), Division of Licensing at 850-413-3137or visit their website.

You will have to determine whether you are eligible for a particular license, and whether you've met all of the qualifications to take the state exam, which might include taking an approved licensing course or meeting some minimum experience requirement. You can ask specific questions by calling the DFS licensing number or by going to their website.

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3. Does the agency itself need to be licensed or just individual agents?

Effective 10/1/06, all insurance agencies must be either "licensed” or "registered.”

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) provides a detailed explanation of what you need to do, including the difference between being "licensed” and being "registered,” so you can determine which is appropriate for your agency.

Go to agency licensing in Florida for details, including links to an in-depth FAQ about the requirements and information about electronic fingerprinting. If you want togo straight to the licensing process go to online license application (make sure you select the "Insurance Agency” tab).

The agency licensing requirement applies to all agencies, including those that only write life and health insurance. Also, if you have multiple locations, each one needs to be licensed (or registered), and if you work out of your home, it counts as a location.

When the law was passed in 2005, existing agencies were given a 10/1/06 deadline to comply in order to avoid some hefty fines. New agencies need to be licensed (registration is not an option) before they can do business.

In case you have additional questions, the DFS has a special phone number set aside for agency licensing issues: 850-413-3137, option 8.

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4. How do I qualify for a 2-20 (i.e., General Lines or property-casualty agent) license?

Basically, you can qualify in three ways:

a) Complete a 200-hour licensing course from an approved school (or an approved correspondence course) within the past four years, then pass the state exam.

b) Have at least one year of relevant insurance experience within the past four years or complete at least 15 semester hours of property-casualty courses at an accredited college to waive taking the 200-hour course. Then pass the state exam.

Please note that the DFS strictly interprets the responsible experience requirement, so for someone to waive the 200-hour course requirement, they would have to have experience in all the areas included under the 2-20 authority—including such areas as marine, surety, and health insurance.

If you are able to waive the 200-hour class, it might be a good idea to take an "exam prep class."
Gold Coast Insurance School has cram courses, located primarily in the south Florida area, and is a well established and recognized leader for insurance pre-licensing classes, as well as continuing ed classes.

c) Have the Certified Property-Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, which waives taking the exam.

Important Note: This is a very brief summary. For all insurance licenses there are also various other requirements, such as a Florida residency requirement. You can get complete details from the
DFS website.

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 5. How do I qualify for the Personal Lines Only (20-44) license?

There are a number of ways to qualify to take the Florida Personal Lines license exam. The most common options seem to be the following:

a) Complete a 52-hour pre-licensing course (vs. a 200-hour course for the 2-20);

b) Complete an approved correspondence course and have three months of responsible insurance experience;

c) Complete six months of responsible insurance duties as a licensed and appointed Customer Representativeand complete a 20-hour pre-licensing course;

d) Complete three years of responsible insurance duties as a licensed and appointed Customer Representative;

If you have the CPCU designation, you can waive the state exam altogether (but the CPCU also qualifies you for the broader 2-20 license).

Again, this is a brief summary, so visit the DFS website for more details or to apply for the license.

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 6. How do I qualify for a 4-40 (i.e. "Customer Representative" or "CR") license?

Basically, you can qualify in three ways:

a) Complete a 100-hour licensing course from an approved school (or an approved correspondence course) within the past two years, then pass the state exam.

b) Have at least six months of relevant insurance experience within the past two years or complete at least6 semester hours of property-casualty courses at an accredited college to waive taking the 100-hour course. Then pass the state exam.

c) Have the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR), Certified Professional Service Representative (CPSR), Certified Customer Service Representative (CCSR), Registered Customer Service Representative (RCSR), Professional Customer Service Representative (PCSR) or Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) designation, any of which enable you to waive taking the state exam.

See the
Florida DFS's website.

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 7. If I already have the 4-40 license, is there a shortcut available for earning the 2-20?

Yes. Someone who has the 4-40 or 4-42 license can qualify for the 2-20 by taking a special 40-hour qualification course (rather than the normal 200-hour qualification course for the 2-20) and passing the state exam.

In order to take advantage of this option, you also have to have been licensed and appointed as a 4-40 or 4-42 for at least one year. The difference between this experience requirement and that listed above is that the experience referred to here only has to involve the line(s) of insurance related to the 4-40 or 4-42 license.

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 8. How do I qualify for a life and/or health license?

There are several life-health licenses, and the requirements may be slightly different, depending on the particular license in question.

The broadest of the life-health licenses is the 2-15, or Life, Health & Variable Annuity license. To obtain this license you must complete a 40-hour mandatory course, then pass the state exam.

There is not a waiver for experience but you can use a correspondence course, and you can get credit for having the Certified Life Underwriter (CLU) designation. You might also qualify by having previously held a similar license in another state that has a reciprocal agreement with the state of Florida, but you'll have to talk to the DFS's Division of Licensing about that.

See the
Florida DFS's website for full details.

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 9. I'm moving to Florida and I've been a licensed agent for several years. Can I get a license without taking any classes or exams?

For most Florida resident licenses, a new resident can qualify for "transfer of license,” if they've held the same type of license for at least a year in their previous home state, and they apply for their Florida license within 90 days of moving here. You'll have to meet various requirements, including providing a "letter of clearance” from your previous home state.

You can learn more about general licensing requirements at the DFS website.

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 10. Does PIA offer insurance licensing classes?

No. PIA focuses primarily on professional development and continuing education courses.

Exceptions: Even though they were not created for licensing purposes, someone can use the CPIA designation to earn the 4-40 license. This waiver of the state licensing course and exam is based on the fact that someone earning either of these designations has demonstrated knowledge beyond that required to pass the state exam.

Even though PIA doesn't offer licensing classes, we have partnered with other educational providers that provide licensing classes. See Question 13 below.

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 11. Who offers licensing classes in Florida?

There are a number of local schools around the state offering licensing classes. We do not have an exhaustive list, but here are the ones we are familiar with:

  • Florida Insurance School
    Based in Tallahassee, but offering classes all over the state
    (850) 878-5091 or (800) 634-5813
    Florida Insurance School also provides exam prep materials and exam simulators.
  • Central Insurance School
    Based in Clearwater but offering classes all over the state
    (727) 540-0005 or (800) 571-2003
  • Gold Coast School of Insurance
    Based in Ft. Lauderdale, does classes throughout south Florida
    (954) 733-5679 or (800) 940-PASS (7277)
    Note: PIA members get a discount on Gold Coast's online courses. 
    Email for more info.
  • Southern Association Insurance School
    Ft. Myers, FL
    (800) 899-5977
  • Hilda Tucker Insurance School
    Based in Lighthouse Point but offering classes in Pompano Beach
    (954) 946-8736 or (888) 889-9022
  • Your local Community College - most offer licensing classes

As stated above, this is not an exhaustive list of licensing providers, but you can search for licensing courses through the DFS Course Search. This link can be particularly useful for the less popular licenses, such as the title agent (4-10) license. When searching for a prelicensing course make sure you select the correct search criteria, including prelicensing, and the appropriate course authority (i.e., the type of license you're looking for).

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12. Are licensing classes are available through correspondence courses?

Yes. You can take a correspondence course for the 4-40 Customer Representative license through the University of Florida's Independent Study Program. Successful completion of the 4-40 correspondence course also qualifies you to take the state exam for the 4-42 Limited Customer Representative and the 9-40 Nonresident Customer Representative licenses.

For more information call 800-327-4218 or 352-392-1711 (x200) or go to their website. The DFS may be able to tell you about other approved providers, and some of the schools listed above may be offering correspondence courses now.

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 13. Are there online prelicensing courses?

Yes, the Florida Insurance Licensing Association provides a Florida-specific, 40-hour 2-15 licensure course. PIA members get 38 percent off the course costs, just email Jon for your promo code before you  register. Non-PIA members pay $159.

The Florida Insurance Licensing Association also provides a 2-15 test preparation course online called Pass the First Time. PIA members receive a substantial discount of 32 percent. But you must email Annette first for your promo code to receive the discount. To register, click here.

In addition, Gold Coast School of Insurance is a well established and recognized leader for insurance prelicensing as well as continuing education courses.

Gold Coast has been in the business since the late 1970s and recently expanded their course curriculum to include an online university that offers insurance continuing education via the web to more than 30 states (including Florida). PIA members receive a 20 percent discount for online classes! To request your member discount, request the promo code by email and then click  here to register.

Non PIA members: click here to view Gold Coast's website.

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 14. Where can I get the necessary book(s) to study for the state's licensing exam?

If you are taking a class from one of the licensing schools listed above, they will probably provide one as part of the class. However, if you qualify by experience and are not taking the licensing class, or you just want to get started studying on your own, you can purchase exam study manuals. DFS has a list of manuals dependent upon the license and exam. For more information on DFS's list, click here.

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 15. How do I obtain a Florida nonresident agent license?

Go to the licensing qualifications page of the Florida Department of Financial Services' website.

When you select a particular license, it lists the requirements and includes a link that gets you into the online application process. In most cases it involves holding the equivalent resident license in your home state, filling out the application, providing fingerprints, and paying the required fees.

The names of most of the licenses are self-explanatory, but if you're looking for the broadest nonresident property-casualty license, that would be the 9-20 (equivalent to the resident 2-20 license), and the broadest life-health license is the 8-15 (equivalent to the resident 2-15).

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 16. I'm interested in getting non-resident licenses for several other states. What should I do?

One way would be to contact the insurance department of each state you're interested in directly. You can visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) website at http://www.naic.org/ and get the address and phone number for any insurance department in the country or link to their websites through the NAIC site.

A more convenient option would be to use a national licensing service.

PIA has teamed up with Sircon, which provides online licensing and compliance services, to help agencies reduce the time and expense of meeting insurance department licensing requirements. PIA members receive a 15-percent discount on all of Sircon's services. To help introduce nonmembers to the benefits of PIA membership, we've also negotiated a five-percent discount for nonmembers.

Another option would be to call the Central Licensing Bureau at 501-664-8044 or go to http://www.centrallicensingbureau.com/ and ask about their agency and individual licensing service. For a fee they can process nonresident license paperwork for any state for both new licenses and renewals. In states where the agency itself has to be licensed, they can also perform that service. The Central Licensing Bureau also provides a PIA-member discount.


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