How do I become a life insurance agent in Canada?

Interested in earning your license to become a life insurance agent? There are several steps to the process and requirements will vary from province to province. We’ve provided a general overview of the key prerequisites that you’ll need to fulfil to get you started on this exciting career path. For those interested in selling only accident and sickness (A&S) products, the licensing process follows a similar path to that of a full life licence.

Step 1: Certification

Enroll in the Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) offered by IFSE Institute. The training program consists of five modules:

  • Life insurance
  • Accident & sickness insurance
  • Segregated funds & annuities
  • Ethics & professional practice
  • Ethics & professional practice (Québec)

Depending on the licence you wish to obtain, you will have to complete a combination of these five modules.

In order to become certified, you must pass all the exams associated with the modules needed. Once you are successful, IFSE will update your status on the Canadian Insurance Participant Registry account you created as part of the enrolment process.

Visit the LLQP or A&S pages for more information.

Step 2: Licensing exams

The next step is to register for the licensing exams with your applicable provincial insurance regulator. Following is a list of the insurance regulators across Canada.

Province/territory Regulator
Alberta Alberta Insurance Council
British Columbia Insurance Council of British Columbia
Manitoba Insurance Council of Manitoba
New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Newfoundland & Labrador Superintendent of Insurance
Northwest Territories Superintendent of Insurance
Nova Scotia Superintendent of Insurance
Nunavut Superintendent of Insurance
Ontario Financial Services Commission of Ontario
Prince Edward Island Superintendent of Insurance
Québec Autorité des marchés financiers
Saskatchewan Insurance Councils of Saskatchewan
Yukon Superintendent of Insurance

Again, you will be required to successfully pass a series of modular exams based on the licence you wish to obtain. The exam topics mimic the ones you completed at IFSE. But keep in mind, you must meet this condition within a one-year time frame.

The new harmonized program that was introduced January 1, 2016 applies to all jurisdictions in Canada. If you want to practice in more than one province, or if you move between provinces, you do not need to re-do your licensing exams. The one exception is the province of Québec since it has its own ethics and professional practice module.

Step 3: Sponsorship

Now that you’ve passed the exams, it’s time to find an insurance provider to sponsor your license application for your home province. In essence, the sponsoring company will contract with you whereby you act as an insurance agent of the organization.

The insurer is responsible for determining whether you have met all the criteria and are suitable to be licensed. They must also oversee your activities to ensure that you comply with the rules and regulations regarding your work as an insurance agent.

Step 4: Errors and omissions insurance

Before you can apply for your licence, you’ll need to acquire errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, which is a professional liability insurance to protect you from client claims against any unintentional mistakes. E&O insurance is mandatory, and your sponsoring firm will likely help you find an E&O provider.

Step 5: Application

This process includes submitting an application, paying a licensing fee, and clearance of any background checks (e.g. criminal, financial) as required. Take care when completing the application making sure that you’ve provided all the necessary information.

The jurisdictions review the application form and supplemental information to establish whether you have met all the underlying criteria. In addition, they will make a determination on whether you have “good character and reputation” and you will “carry on business in good faith”.

Other requirements

Individual provinces may have their own specifications that you must satisfy. In Québec, new licensees are subjected to a probationary period where they are supervised by a licensed representative for a 12-week period.

Most provinces impose provisions requiring agents to stay current by taking continuing education courses. The Insurance Council of British Columbia mandates that all licensees complete a Council Rules Course within the first year of licensing. Be sure to check with your provincial regulator to get the full list of requirements.

Ready to start on your path to becoming a life insurance agent? Register today for IFSE’s LLQP. If you’re only interested in pursuing your accident and sickness insurance licence, we can help with that too.

Interested in learning more about a career in financial services? Watch our video “Day in the life of an insurance agent”.