Felons coming out of prison ask themselves how they can ever find a job. After all, they have committed a crime, served a lengthy prison term, and may not have had the most stable job history before their conviction.
While there are many employers who will hire felons, many positions remain unavailable to felons.
This blog post will address the question of whether a felon can be a life insurance agent.
- Requirements to Become a Life Insurance Agent
- Determining Character
- What This Indicates
- Reaching Their Goal
- Supporting a Felon in Becoming a Life Insurance Agent
Requirements to Become a Life Insurance Agent
The role of a life insurance agent involves selling policies to individuals that pay beneficiaries when they die and annuities with a retirement income.
In order to become a life insurance agent, applicants must complete a number of steps.
They must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, have at least a high school diploma, and reside in the state where they want to become an agent.
Some employers in the insurance industry prefer a college degree. For many, a degree in business or management is recommended, as it provides a background in marketing, economics, and finance.
Then, they must complete a life insurance pre-licensing education, which varies from state to state. They will have to undergo a background check and typically fingerprinting.
The pre-licensing education requirements are different from state to state. While the number of classroom hours vary, typically 20-50 depending on the state, completion of an accredited school insurance program is necessary.
These may be found at a community or public technical college, or private education providers.
Applicants must pass the state licensing exam that covers state insurance laws and those specific to life insurance. Some types of life insurance may require a Series 6 or 7 securities registration, which agents may need for selling policies with an investment component.
Because every state is different, you must do significant research in your state prior to studying for the exam to confirm that you are eligible to practice as an insurance agent. Every state is different and in certain geographic areas, the felony may stop you from being able to practice.
The specific requirements vary between states, but essentially each state wants to know if applicants are of good character. This involves disclosing any actions that might be considered unprofessional or illegal.
Of most importance in the life insurance field are honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness.
After all, agents work closely with clients and are involved with clients’ financial standing. Those clients expect and deserve someone whom they can trust to represent and assist them.
Important characteristics for life insurance agents are the following:
- Analytical skills to evaluate each client’s insurance needs
- Communication skills to listen to a client’s requests and indicate suitable policies
- Initiative to seek new clients
- Self-confidence in contacting prospective clients and being sensitive but persuasive with individuals.
Felons with a conviction of a capital offense, murder or treason, are permanently disqualified from becoming an insurance agent.
Those with a conviction of a felony involving money laundering, fraud, or embezzlement, or related to the financial services business are also permanently prohibited.
These types of crimes are included because they show blatant disregard for a person’s life and financial circumstances.
There is a 15-year ban for all other felonies involving moral turpitude and a 7-year ban on all other felonies. Moral turpitude is a term that refers to a lack of community justice, honesty, and good morals.
After the disqualification period, the burden is on the applicant to demonstrate they have been rehabilitated, are not a risk to the insurance-buying public, and trustworthy to engage in the insurance business.
Even after the time limit has expired, felons convicted of an offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust (meaning from a financial relationship) remain prohibited by federal statute 18 USC 1033 are denied licensure unless they obtain a 1033 waiver following an offer of employment.
Typically, a state insurance commission will conduct a waiver review to determine an applicant’s suitability for licensure.
The waiver review usually consists of:
- Documents relating to the felony
- Nature and severity of the felony
- Period of time since the felony
- Number of felonies or other similar incidents
- Circumstances surrounding the crime
- Relationship of the crime to the practice of real estate
- Applicants’ activities since the completion of the sentence, including employments, education, participation in treatment, payment of restitution, and other efforts at rehabilitation.
What This Indicates
What stands out is that the life insurance field is willing to consider felon applicants who are serious about successful re-entry into society.
Felons must take their situation seriously and have a goal of working for as a life insurance agent. No, it won’t be easy to be accepted.
But there is an opportunity available to those who want it.
Doing the things that it will take to reach that goal and become a life insurance agent will be challenging, but what hasn’t been since leaving prison?
Reaching Their Goal
Felons need to be willing to do what it takes. After all, they succeeded in completing their prison sentence one day at a time.
Seeking expungement or sealing of their records can pay big dividends. For felons eligible for expunging their records, they will be able to honestly state they have not been convicted of a crime on an application for employment or an insurance licensing program.
When it comes to their employment record, having a quality resume is essential.
The Guide to Getting Employed is available to those who want that goal. There are stories of success and tips for presenting themselves in a favorable light.
Supporting a Felon in Becoming a Life Insurance Agent
For families of felons wanting to work as a life insurance agent, take the time to help your loved one in their efforts to get further education or training.
Support them in returning to society and finding a way to succeed and make a difference.
An earlier blog post showed felons make good employees.
The life insurance industry needs qualified agents. There is no reason why felons can’t be that quality agent.
What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a life insurance agent with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.