The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance requires its insurance professionals to obtain an insurance license before engaging in transactions for a fee.
Anyone looking to earn commissions by engaging in insurance transactions must follow the state’s procedure for obtaining the appropriate insurance license. Wisconsin offers insurance licenses in 5 different lines of authority (license type) as follows:
- Accident & Health
- Personal Lines
Insurance professionals who specialize in the above fields must take the necessary pre-licensing classes and pass the state exam. If, however, you wish to specialize in Variable Live/Variable Annuity, Surety, Crop or Travel insurance, you are not subject to the pre-licensing education or examination requirement. You only need to complete the necessary application.
Pre-Licensing Education Requirements
For those candidates seeking one of the 5 licenses that are subject to the state exam, you must complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education from a state apprstate-approved provider. Of the 20 hours, 8 of the hours must cover the subject areas of Wisconsin insurance laws, principles of insurance and ethics. The remaining 12 credit hours are focused on learning information specific to the line of authority for which you are seeking a license.
If you’re seeking a license in more than one line of authority, you must complete the 8 hours of general insurance law plus 12 hours for each line of authority. For example, if you’re seeking property and casualty insurance licenses, you must take 12 hours of property, 12 hours of casualty plus eight hours of insurance law for a total of 32 credit hours.
Upon completion of the pre-licensing education, you will receive a Certificate of Completion which is a prerequisite for taking the Wisconsin state licensing exam.
Taking the State Licensing Exam
After successfully completing the pre-licensing education requirements, you must schedule a date and time for taking the insurance licensing exam. The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance has contracted with Pearson Vue to administer all of Wisconsin’s insurance licensing exams.
Visit the Prometric website, register and scheduled the exam. While on the website, download the State of Wisconsin Insurance Licensing Information Handbook document which provides step-by-step information on the insurance licensing procedure.
Wisconsin Criminal Background Check and Fingerprinting
Effective July 6, 2010, the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance modified the fingerprinting procedure. Before you can make a reservation to get fingerprinted, you must have already scheduled your state licensing exam.
L-1 Identity Solutions is the vendor that handles the fingerprinting process for the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance. You may visit them at their website or call them at 866-416-4896 to set up the fingerprinting appointment. The current fee (as of February, 2011) for fingerprinting is $52.25.
The fingerprints are used to run a criminal background check. The prints are compared against both the local law enforcement and FBI databases.
Wisconsin Insurance License Application
After successfully completing and passing the state licensing exam, you must complete the Wisconsin Insurance Licensing Application and submit it electronically. The application becomes available to you 72 hours after passing the state exam.
Once the state has received the application, passing test scores and the supporting paperwork, your application will be reviewed. Once it is approved the state will issue your insurance license.
Wisconsin insurance licenses are valid for a period of two years. Within that two-year period of time you must take 24 credit hours of continuing education classes. Of the 24 credits, 3 must be in the subject area of ethics of insurance. If you fail to take the necessary continuing education credit hours, you may not renew your insurance license.