How to Start an Independent Insurance Agency in North Carolina

by Linda Ray; Updated September 26, 2017

Independent insurance agencies offer a number of different kinds of policies and represent a variety of insurance companies. An independent agent can offer clients custom plans to suit their needs. North Carolina is a growing state that attracts businesses and residents. The cities of Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville are among the fastest-growing places in the country, bringing hordes of potential customers for aggressive, skilled independent insurance agents.

Items you will need

  • Training
  • Licenses
  • Tax ID
  • Business plan
  • Liability insurance
  • Office and staff
Step 1

Take the required 20 hours of prelicensing courses required by the state of North Carolina for each line of insurance. Online self-study programs for life, accident and health, property, and casualty and personal lines of insurance are available at the Carolina Insurance School. Variable life and annuity policies can be sold under the life insurance license.

Step 2

Pay the $106 fee to take each insurance test for the lines you plan to carry. Contact the North Carolina Department of Insurance to find the locations and dates of the testing as well as to register your business with the department.

Step 3

Contact various insurance companies to find out what kinds of coverage they offer in North Carolina. Each large insurance company varies in the types of policies it offers in each state. Some do not operate in North Carolina, while others are aggressively looking for agents to represent their lines. Contract with those companies to become an independent dealer.

Step 4

Open your business by applying for a tax identification number from the North Carolina Secretary of State and purchase your own liability insurance to cover your assets. Prepare a business plan and begin recruiting clients. Open an office and hire support staff.

Step 5

Follow up with continuing education courses through industry associations or online insurance schools to receive the 24 hours of continuing education units required by the state of North Carolina every two years. In addition, state law requires all licensed insurance agents to take a three-hour approved ethics course.

Tips

  • Join the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina to take advantage of updated information, networking and educational opportunities.

Warnings

  • Use a specialized liability insurance company such as the North American Professional Liability Insurance Agency to purchase your own coverage.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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