Producer Licensing: Unglamorous and Unavoidable

Producer licensing is not complicated but too many agents put it on the backburner. Since it doesn’t bring in revenue, in the rush of day-to-day business, insurance licensing falls to the bottom of the list of priorities. The very skills that make a successful insurance producer are the traits that can cause them to deprioritize unglamorous tasks like filing paperwork and remembering to issue fees. True, there’s no creativity in this primarily “busy work” task, but failure to renew licenses can lead to significant challenges down the road.

Game Over – For Now

Ignoring license renewals creates complications and headaches that require time and money to sort out.  If a producer’s license lapses, it’s basically game over–for now. That agent can’t legally sell insurance. Your insurance agency could be exposed to hefty penalties and the producer could lose their agency appointment. You can also run into problems if the producer’s license is reinstated but his or her appointments have not. Therefore, helping agents to renew on time is simply smart business practice.
These challenges with licensing are not insurmountable. However, like almost everything that falls under the umbrella of regulatory compliance, it’s easier–and more cost effective– to get ahead of the game than to play catch up.

Challenging for Agencies of All Sizes

Managing producer appointments is a time-consuming task for agencies–especially if your agents operate regionally. Every state has a specific process for renewals and you must adhere to each set of requirements carefully. It’s not possible to cut corners. We notice that startups are most susceptible to challenges with licensing since the administrative load is so overwhelming when starting a new agency.  However, mid-size agencies who have been operating for years also have a hard time managing producer appointments after growing their staff or undergoing a territory expansion from a few states to ten or more.

The Benefits of Outsourcing

For some agencies, the smartest solution is to offload this time-consuming, detail-heavy task to an insurance support services company to manage on your behalf. We offer this service at Perr&Knight because we’ve seen the complications–most of them avoidable–that happen when agencies fall behind. Our suite of producer licensing services includes:

  • Submission of name and address changes
  • Tracking of upcoming renewals
  • Issuing of renewals reminders
  • Completion of paperwork for all 50 states and electronic submission (where applicable)
  • Issuing fee reminders to producers

Many agencies try to assist their agents by handling licensing renewals in-house. It’s a viable solution for small agencies but we’ve seen many instances where agencies grow and a single individual (or even small department) just can’t keep up with the paperwork. As a result, licenses lapse.
Another common scenario is when an individual who is overseeing renewals changes jobs or retires–and takes their knowledge, calendar and renewals status with them. This is where an outside insurance support services partner can alleviate the burden by supervising your producers’ licenses for you.
Failure to submit insurance licensing renewals on time seems like minor hiccup but it’s an oversight that can snowball quickly. Licenses are a necessary part of maintaining compliance and lapsed licenses can jeopardize your ability to operate at all. Managing producer appointments falls into the pesky category of “things that don’t make your agency money, but can cost you money if overlooked.” Helping your producers stay on top of their license renewal lessens their load, so they can focus on what they do best: selling insurance.

Get help with your insurance licensing renewals. Contact Perr&Knight to find more about our support services.

Insurance Company Licensing: What to Expect

Whether you are submitting a primary application to license a new insurance company, seeking to expand coverage to additional states or adding a line of business so your company can write a new product, every insurance company’s goal is to obtain a speedy approval to begin binding policies as soon as possible.
All types of insurance company licensing share common characteristics. However, many companies proceed full-steam ahead without thoroughly understanding the challenges with licensing that can delay approvals and drain resources in the process.
Based on our extensive experience providing insurance company licensing support in all lines of business in every state, here are some of the top considerations to keep in mind as you submit your insurance license applications.

Expect slightly different requirements from each state.

About 80% of your licensing application information will be standard across the board. But the difference contained in the remaining 20% may jeopardize your approval. If you receive the same question from more than one state, it’s probably something you should address in all of your applications. All states grant the ability to withdraw your application without prejudice, so be proactive about amending your applications and re-submitting. If your company does not have the resources to review each individual application for state-specific requirements, consider working with a specialized consultant whose experience managing each state’s insurance company licensing process can limit unnecessary delays.

Details are critical.

Incomplete applications are a primary cause for delays, rejections or resubmission requests. Keep in mind that departments of insurance will not refund your filing fee once your check has been cashed.
Therefore, it’s smart to take the time to make sure that every question on your application is answered completely. If you don’t understand a question or a specific requirement, contact the state’s Department of Insurance directly and ask. Failure to submit complete, accurate information can cause your application to get kicked back, stalling your approval before the review process has even begun.

Consider your license’s capital requirements.

Your license approval may require your company to outlay a significant amount of additional capital. Your approval might stipulate that you meet certain capital requirements, such as increasing your capital and surplus or your statutory deposit. Consider your company’s process for informing your Board of Directors and the steps your financial department will need to take to ensure that you can access the requisite amount of funds.

Expedite approval of application fees with your finance department.

Your application is not considered complete unless it includes your full submission fees. Take your company’s accounting process into consideration, including the time between payment requisition and obtaining a check in hand. We’ve seen this process sidetrack our clients’ submissions, so our policy is to advance most fees when submitting applications on our clients’ behalf. This enables our clients to generate a single payment to us that covers every portion of their filing, including payment for our service.

Follow up with State Departments of Insurance.

Don’t just submit your application and wait. Though you might submit to multiple states at once, one of the challenges with licensing is that each state reviews applications on their own timetable. Follow up directly with each State Department of Insurance to make sure your application has been received and is getting the attention it deserves. If you lack the manpower for this level of involvement, partner with an insurance consulting services company that is experienced in following up with DOIs and has a tracking system in place.

Expect a mountain of paperwork and many, many man-hours.

Even with paperless submissions and electronic tools, licensing still requires copious amount of paperwork. California alone issues an 80 lb. box of paper.  Therefore, create efficiencies wherever possible. Submit forms via the UCAA electronic application, use digital tracking tools like, or work with an insurance consulting services company who can manage your applications for you.

The Departments of Insurance make the rules. It pays to follow them.

Though there might be a rule or requirement that seems illogical to you, DOIs are not likely to change their processes anytime soon. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to supply the information they request on their timetable. Prepare to lose a few battles in the interest of winning the war.
Insurance company licensing is a lengthy and detail-intensive process that can take anywhere from six months to a few years. This is not an extensive list of challenges but by keeping the above in mind during your submissions, you can set achievable expectations and timetables.
If you have questions about insurance company licensing, call Perr&Knight at (888) 201-5123 x3 and we will discuss ways we can help streamline your licensing approvals.