What licenses do I need to become an insurance agent in Illinois?

What licenses do I need to become an insurance agent in Illinois? | Insurance Business

What licenses do I need to become an insurance agent in Illinois?

All insurance agents and brokers practicing in the state of Illinois must obtain a license from the state’s Department of Insurance. Before a license will be granted, candidates must complete an approved line of pre-licensing education and pass the state licensing exam.

The state’s pre-licensing education program is designed to prepare candidates for their licensing exam and their future insurance careers. Candidates cannot take the licensing exam unless they present a signed pre-license education course completion certificate. All certificates are valid for one year after the completion of the education course.

Pre-license education

Illinois requires candidates to have at least 20-hours of pre-license education in any given line of authority. So, if a candidate wants a property & casualty license, they must take 40-hours of pre-licensing education. At least seven and a half of those hours must be spent in a physical classroom setting in the state. The rest can be done online or in person.

How to schedule your licensing exam

Candidates can register for their exam online. This must be done at least 24-hours before the desired examination date. You can also book your exam over the phone, by calling: (800) 274-0402. Before reserving an exam slot, candidates should collect the following information:

  • Legal name, address, social security number, contact information, and date of birth
  • The name of the examination(s)
  • The preferred examination date and test center location

Candidates can take up to two examinations in one session. If they opt for ‘back to back’ scheduling, they can sit two examinations for one fee. Exams cost $102 and must be paid for in advance. Fees will not be accepted in the test center.

About the exam

The Illinois Department of Insurance describes the exam as follows: “The content of the general examination is based upon information obtained from a job analysis performed by Pearson VUE. Responses from insurance professionals were analyzed to determine the nature and scope of tasks they perform and the knowledge and skills needed to perform them. This information is the basis upon which examination questions are written and ensures that examinations reflect the practice of insurance. The examination has been developed to reflect the laws, statutes, rules and regulations for the practice of insurance in Illinois, and has been reviewed and approved by Illinois insurance professionals.”

Once candidates have completed the licensing exam, they will get a score report marked ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’. The passing score for all exams is 70. Each exam is split into two sections: general and state. If a candidate fails one section but passes the other, they will only be required to re-sit the section they failed - and they must do so within 90-days.  

Property and casualty exam structures

The property and casualty exams are in a multiple-choice format and consist of two parts. The first part deals with general insurance product knowledge and the second part revolves around Illinois insurance laws, regulations and practices.

Below is a condensed description of the property exam content and corresponding marks:

Part 1: General Product Knowledge, Terms, and Concepts
I. Types of policies - 25

II. Insurance terms and related concepts - 14

III. Policy provisions and contract law - 11

Total scored questions - 50

Pretest questions - 10

Grand total - 60

Part 2: Illinois Statutes & Regulations Pertinent to Property and Casualty
I. Illinois statutes & regulations pertinent to all lines of insurance - 22

II. Illinois statutes & regulations pertinent to casualty insurance only - 5

III. Illinois statutes & regulations pertinent to property insurance only - 3

Total scored questions - 30

Pretest questions - 7

Grand total - 37

Below is a condensed description of the casualty exam content and corresponding marks:

Part 1: General Product Knowledge, Terms, and Concepts
I. Types of policies, bonds and related terms - 25

II. Insurance terms and related concepts - 14

III. Policy provisions - 12

Total scored questions - 50

Pretest questions - 10

Grand total - 60

Part 2: Illinois Statutes & Regulations
I. Illinois statutes & regulations pertinent to all lines of insurance - 22

II. Illinois statutes & regulations pertinent to property and casualty insurance - 5

III. Illinois statutes & regulations pertinent to casualty insurance only - 10

Total scored questions - 37

Pretest questions - 7

Grand total - 44

Getting a license

The Illinois Department of Insurance will grant a license to practice if a candidate meets the following criteria:

  • Complete the pre-licensing education requirements
  • Pass the licensing exam
  • Wait five days after passing the exam before applying for a license at www.nipr.com
  • Some candidates may be required to maintain a surety bond

The fee for an online license application is $180 plus a service charge of $5. If you want to add lines of authority to your license, you simply have to pay the $5 service fee, and not the full $185.

What if you’re new to Illinois, but have an agent license in another state?

If you’ve been previously licensed for the same lines of authority in another state, you do not have to complete the pre-licensing education or examination in Illinois. This exemption applies if you’re still licensed in another state or if you apply for an Illinois license within 90 days of canceling your previous license. The Illinois Department of Insurance also requires a letter of clearance from the state you were licensed in, confirming you were in good standing at the time of your license cancelation.