Unlike the investment industry, the insurance industry is regulated at the state level. This means that there are potentially 52 different answers to the question of reinstating insurance licenses, including in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. While each state handles its own licensing, you can generally reinstate a life insurance license, provided your license was not revoked for misconduct.
Renewal Versus Reinstatement
If you are a practicing agent and your license just expired recently, you may be able to renew it simply by paying the state's renewal fee and completing any required continuing education courses. If it has been a year or more since your license expired, you may need to apply for a new license, this could mean retaking the insurance examination.
Most states require an annual or biannual licensing renewal fee to keep a life insurance license in force. Insurance agents must pay this fee and maintain their license in good standing by taking ongoing coursework in suitability, regulation, marketing to seniors and other related subjects. If you are not delinquent on your annual or biannual licensing fees, and you have kept up on your continuing education requirements, you should be able to renew your license easily. Contact your state's department of insurance regulation for details specific to your state.
If it has been some time since you have held a current license, you may need to sit for the insurance examination--or part of the examination--again. Make sure you study from current materials, as the legal and compliance situation and requirements may have changed since you were last in the field as an agent. You will have to pay a fee to reinstate a lapsed license.
If you hold a current license in one state in which you are a resident and you wish to do business in another state, you may be able to take advantage of interstate licensing reciprocity agreements that exist between insurance commissioners. For example, if you are resident of the state of Florida with a current license, you can get a license in Oregon just by paying a licensing fee and providing them with your producer number and license number in Florida. This could be a great deal simpler than reinstating a license from scratch.
Jason Van Steenwyk has been writing professionally since 1998. A former staff reporter for "Mutual Funds Magazine," he has been published in "Wealth and Retirement Planner," "Annuity Selling Guide," "Registered Rep." "Bankrate.com" and "Senior Market Advisor." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the University of Southern California.