If you’re ready to start a career in insurance, you’re going to need to get familiar with two organizations: the Alabama Department of Insurance (AL DOI) and the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). You need to follow the steps the AL DOI requires to get your insurance producer license, but you’ll go through the NIPR to actually apply for your license.
All told, getting an Alabama insurance license isn’t overly easy. But if you follow these steps, you can make the process as simple as possible for yourself.
The AL DOI has specific requirements for selling different types of insurance. They call these different categories lines of authority.
In Alabama, your line options for insurance producer licensure are:
Clearly, there’s a lot you could explore here. So we don’t overload you with information, we’re going to outline requirements for the most common lines of authority: life, health, property, casualty, and combinations of those lines.
In order to qualify for an Alabama insurance producer license, you need to take some educational courses. Don’t worry, it’s not like you need to head to college here. At most, you’re looking at 40 pre-license hours.
Specifically, the pre-license insurance producer education requirements (and the links to their relevant course packages) are:
See the trend there? You basically need 20 hours on each line of authority you want to add to your license.
You can’t take these hours anywhere you want. You need to choose an education provider that has approval from the AL DOI. That can actually make your life easier, though.
The AL DOI has greenlit some pre-license education providers to offer their courses online. With on-demand, internet-based insurance producer courses, you can work on your hours whenever you have free time from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
So the state can do a background check on you, the AL DOI requires you to get fingerprinted through Gemalto. On the Gemalto website, you can register and pay for your fingerprinting using a credit or debit card. If you want to pay on-site, you’ll need a money order. Then, when you go to get fingerprinted, make sure you bring your registration ID, along with your photo ID.
To help you better understand the process, how to prepare, and what to expect, Gemalto has a pretty robust FAQs page.
Once you get fingerprinted, your prints stay in the AL DOI system for 30 days. You’ll need to get the rest of the steps in this process done before your 30 days are up.
The AL DOI partners with the University of Alabama to proctor the insurance producer licensing exam. You can sign up to take the test at the campus that’s closest to you.
To get started, you need to register. Read all of the pertinent information on that page, then scroll to the bottom and click the “Click Here to Register” button. You’ll see a list of upcoming exam times at locations throughout the state. They’re also currently offering online proctoring, which basically means you activate your web camera so a proctor can watch you to ensure you’re not cheating as you take the test online.
Choose the time/location/format that works for you, then click the checkbox by the test you want to take. Scroll to the bottom and click “Add to Cart.”
On your cart page, choose “Sign In” at the bottom and click “Create New Profile” to get yourself set up.
The exam for a single line of authority costs $50. If you’re applying for combined lines (i.e., life & health or property & casualty), it’s $75.
You can take the exam multiple times, but the more tries you require, the longer you’ll have to wait. You can retake it a second time with no issues. But if you fail on your second try, you’ll need to wait 90 days to try again. If you fail four times, you kick off a 180-day waiting period each time you retake the exam.
Long story short, you want to go into your exam feeling confident. As you’re going through your pre-license education hours, pay close attention and take notes. The content you’re learning is the same content that will be on the exam.
You also don’t have to head into this thing blind. The state offers outlines for each exam category. Going through that outline helps you figure out the info you need to know to pass on your first or second try.
At the bottom, the outline also tells you how long the test is, how many questions are on your test, and how many you need to get right to pass. Generally, you’ll need to get about 70% of the questions correct.
Once you pass the exam, you’re ready to submit your application to the NIPR. Click the “Go to the Online Application” button and choose Individual. Use your social security number to start the process. Make sure you set aside ample time because you won’t be able to save your application partway through.
As part of that process, you’ll need to pay the $80 initial license fee.
Within 10 days of submitting your application, you need to send in proof of citizenship. A valid, non-expired Alabama driver’s license will cut it here.
You can see what types of documentation the AL DOI allows and submit your proof of citizenship on this page. The submittal form is toward the bottom. Once you answer “Have you applied for an initial license yet?” and “Have you previously held a license in Alabama?”, the upload form will pop up.
After you get everything in, give the AL DOI at least a week, then use this licensee search tool to get your license number. The state doesn’t notify you when your application process is complete, so it’s on you to check up on it.
Once you have your license number, you can use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) State-Based Systems (SBS) to print your license. Choose “License manager” from the top-right of this page and follow the prompts.
If you run into any issues or you’re not seeing yourself in the license search tool after an appropriate amount of time, you can reach out to the AL DOI at firstname.lastname@example.org.