5 Benefits of Using Our Online Classroom to Study for Your Insurance Exams

As an up and coming insurance agent, you have to take your state’s insurance exams. It’s a given; there’s no way around it. And before you can take that exam, you’ll have to study. There are several ways you can choose to study for your state test. Below we compare the different study methods for you, so you can decide for yourself.

Approach #1: Test Prep Manual

There’s an entire national industry devoted to developing and selling Washington State insurance exam test preparation manuals. And there’s a high demand for them, especially among busy insurance students. The manuals from the national companies are great – they provide appropriate information, graphs and charts, and practice tests. That’s their good points. Their bad points far outweigh their good, in our opinion. Let’s see…..they can be quickly outdated since they are not located in Washington State or printing material for our state alone. From the time it takes to write them and publish them, things can change. Important things like laws and best practices.

Approach #2: In-Person Classes (US!!)

You know the drill – go to class, learn some stuff, take a test. Live-lecture, in-person, insurance classes do offer several advantages over studying for the whole thing on your own. If you like the feel of a textbook-type manual, and you like to highlight or write notes in the margins, the textbook is a must purchase if you study yourself online. However, the manual comes for free when you attend a live-lecture test prep class. And then there’s the live instructor. It can be helpful to have someone to answer questions, and to give real-world examples. And even though you will have to fit a few class days into your already busy lifestyle and schedule, it can save you time and money in the long run if you pass your state test on the first time.

Approach #3: Online courses (US!!)

We offer the best possible choice, we believe, in our online courses. Why? We’ll give you five reasons.

  1. Various learning materials – We offer interactive test prep quizzes, as well as reading materials. We try to accommodate many learning styles and personalities. We’re more than just a boring old book or a live lecture insurance crash course.
  2. Flexibility – No class to arrange your life and work schedule around. Access the online classroom 24 hour a day, 7 days a week. Fit us in between meetings or household chores. We’re here when you want to be here.
  3. Cost – Our online classroom is offered at a reduced cost from our instructor-taught live lecture classes. While these classes tend to produce more first time test success, self studying online is a great second option. There are companies out there who charge hundreds of dollars for just 30 days of access to the study materials. Slater Insurance School offers training at an affordable price.
  4.  Adaptability – We can add new and updated material to our online classroom, at any time, instantly. We don’t have to wait until the next edition of the textbook comes out. We can be up to date within days, if not hours, of changes to insurance laws or accepted practices. Our information is always on top and up to date.
  5. Effectiveness – We have great first-time test success rate. Interactive test questions that simulate a real exam experience, whether solely online or blended with in-person classes, tend to see students performing better on exams and tests, and retaining what they’ve learned longer. Want to be a better student? Study with us.

Now that we’ve laid it all there for you, we think you’ll agree that our online classroom is THE place to be when studying for your insurance exams. Our variety, our flexibility, our cost, our adaptability and our effectiveness speak for themselves.

What Is Life Insurance?

We’re all familiar with the concept of life insurance. It’s a favorite motif in mystery television programs and novels. The young wife “bumps off” the old husband to get his million dollar policy. Or a friend covers up another’s suicide so as not to deny his wife and children of the life insurance pay off. We’re all familiar with it, but do we really KNOW what life insurance is all about? Today, we’re going to take a closer look and find out.

Brief History of Life Insurance

Life insurance has its root in the “burial clubs” of ancient Rome. You could pay a membership to the club to ensure that you received a “proper” and “appropriate” funeral, complete with professional mourners. Modern life insurance began in the early 1700s in London, with the Amicable Society for Perpetual Assurance. You joined the Society (males only) and paid a yearly amount for one to three shares. Once a year, the Society made a payment to your heirs based on how many shares you had been paying for. It was a way to ensure that you didn’t leave your wife and children destitute.

Life insurance was introduced into the United States in the 1760s, when Presbyterian and Episcopalian ministers developed a similar scheme for their ranks. By then, the practice of setting premiums based on age and overall health had been established. At the outbreak of the Civil War, over a dozen life insurance companies were begun, nearly all of them associated with specific occupations or firms. In the 1870s, the first military life insurance was founded, with both the Army and the Navy playing a part.

Types of Life Insurance

Life insurance typically takes one of three forms:

  • Term life insurance – issued for a set period of time, typically from 5 to 20 years. Premiums are set and guaranteed for the length of the policy.
  • Whole life insurance – issued for the policy holder’s lifetime. Premiums are set and typically do not change. Whole life has a cash value, which can be used as a savings component or even as an estate planning tool.
  • Universal life insurance – issued for the policy holder’s lifetime. Unlike whole life policies, the premiums are flexible, and can be raised or lowered throughout the lifetime of the policy holder. Like whole life policies, universal policies also have a cash savings component.

How Life Insurance Premiums Are Determined

Since the 1750s, when the first life table – a chart showing the risk of death at any age – was issued, premiums have been determined partially by the policy holder’s age at the time of the policy’s purchase. General health was taken into account not long after, as insurer’s began to see individual’s waiting until becoming ill or aged to purchase a policy.

Policy premiums are still determined by age and general health, although a recent change has been to take the individual’s family medical history also into account when determining how much your monthly premium will be. However, age and health have rarely, if ever, affected the total amount of the policy.

Life insurance is something we all know. And now, we know it a little better.

What to Expect From the Insurance Licensing Exam

However, with proper attention to your studies, a can-do attitude, and sufficient preparations, all of that hard work will pay off as you successfully pass your licensing exam. Here are some things you’ll need to know first. Continue reading

10 Tips to Help you Study for Your Insurance Exams

Let’s face it – you have to take and, more importantly, pass your insurance licensing exam. It’s a harsh reality, but it doesn’t have to be a harsh experience.  With adequate preparation and study, your insurance exam can be a pleasant, stress-free undertaking. Here’s some tips to help you survive your exams with your sanity, and your future career, intact.

Relax – It’s a big deal, I know.

But you can still treat it as just another milestone. Think positively about the experience of taking the exam. Visualize yourself knowing the answers and feeling confident and satisfied when you’ve completed the exam. Keeping a stress-free frame of mind will help prepare you emotionally for the “big day”.

Figure out how you study best.

 Not everyone does well in study groups. Not everyone does best with only textual content. If you don’t already know, discovering the way in which YOU prepare best will go a long way to helping you prepare for your exam. Flashcards? Create them. An auditory learner? Record portions of your study guide or class materials and listen to them while you drive, workout, or relax. Don’t just follow the crowd if doing so will lead you to a lower performance come exam day.

Create a plan for exam prep at least a month before.

Allowing yourself adequate time to study and prepare will keep you from the stressful experience of “cramming” in the days and hours leading up to exam day. Repetitive, gentle review will also help you pinpoint problems or areas where you need extra help or additional material in plenty of time to arrange for it.

Complete all your test prep materials.

Any and all test prep materials should be used to their fullest potential. Spend the time to take the practice test online, for example, even if you feel you already know the subject matter. Use any study guides or booklets or sample exams made available to you. Not only will they give you a sense of what the real exam may be like, they’ll also help you to know how well you know the material the exam will cover.

Apply the 50-10 rule when studying.

Your brain and body can only handle so much material at any one time. Your brain needs time to process the material being covered, and your body needs a break from sitting and studying. The 50-10 rule is simple: Study 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. During that break, get up and move around. Get a snack, go to the bathroom, take a walk up and down the hall, or around the block. Do some jumping jacks or mountain climbers or yoga stretches. Basically, do SOMETHING in that 10 minute period of time to raise your heartbeat a bit, and get your body moving.

Take your time.

Most exams last from 1 to 3 hours. And you have, if you’ve followed our other tips, a month or more to prepare for those 1 to 3 hours. An hour or two a day, every day, in the month before your exam will add up to 30 to 60 hours of exam prep time. You can’t get that in a cramming session. Also, by studying for an hour or two a day, you’ll be preparing yourself for the time it may take to actually complete the exam.

Know when to stop. 

It’s actually best if you don’t study within 24 hours of exam time. First, you need this time to physically prepare for the test. Secondly, you can cause yourself to get stressed out and lose the confidence and self-composure you’ve built up. Lastly, if you don’t know something by now, chances of you actually learning it and retaining it are scientifically proven to be slim to none.

Get a good night’s rest. 

Going into exam day exhausted and cranky from a poor, or shortened, night of sleep isn’t going to do anything for your mental capabilities or your test score. Sleep deprivation can cause a lack of mental focus – the last thing you need to take with you into the exam room.

Get a good start to the day. 

Eat a good breakfast. Your body is going to need all the energy it can muster today. Avoid consuming too much caffeine. There’s no sense going into your test with the coffee jitters. Get some gentle exercise – walk the dog, do some yoga, take a swim. Nothing too taxing or overstimulating, but enough to both burn off any nervous energy and help your body build up for the day ahead.

Relax. 

There’s no sense in getting all out of sorts come exam day. You’ve spent the last 4 weeks preparing. You know the material. You know your capabilities.You are mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to tackle your exam. Go in there with the confidence that you will come out successful and satisfied. You can do this!

Do you have any tips that helped you pass your insurance exam?
Share them in the comments below:

A Sneak Peek inside the Property Insurance Course (Part 3):

PART 3 - PROPERTY INSURANCE CLASS

Our main goal at Slater All Lines Insurance School is to teach our students the information they need to pass the Washington State Insurance Producer Exam. This is Part 3 of our new Insurance Exam Sneak Peak series. We want to provide students with an inside look at some of the topics covered in our Insurance Exam Classes.

Have you ever wondered what events and items might not be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy? Here are some common exclusions, meaning, they are usually not considered a covered loss and the insurance company will not pay for the damages.

  • Loss due to ordinance or law regulating construction, repair or demolition.
  • Earth Movement means landslide, mudflow, earth sinking, rising or lifting, and earthquake including land shock waves before, during or after a volcanic eruption.
  • Direct or Indirect Loss from Water Damage – Water damage means loss caused or contributed by: sewer or drain backup, water from below the ground including seeps or leaks through any part of the building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation or swimming pool. Water damage includes flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water or spray from any of these, whether driven by wind or not.
  • Loss due to power interruption whose source is off the premises.
  • Loss due to neglecting to protect property after a loss.
  • War and nuclear perils.
  • Intentional loss or illegal activities committed by or at the direction of an insured.
  • The coverage for discharge, overflow, vandalism and malicious mischief, theft, attempted theft, or damage to glass, is suspended whenever the dwelling has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days.
  • Damage from volcanic action is not covered unless one gets a special Volcanic Action coverage. This covers volcanic blast or airborne shock waves, ash, dust or particulate matter, and lava flow. Volcanic Action coverage does not pay for damage to land, property in the open or in open sheds and buildings, and personal property in buildings not completely enclosed.

Your duties after a loss, also called Notice of Claim, include notifying the insurance company immediately after the loss, notifying the police if a law has been broken, protecting the property from further damage, submitting a proof-of-loss and inventory of damages to your insurance company within 60 days of the loss, and making the property available for inspection if required.

A Sneak Peek inside the Property Insurance Course (Part 2):

PART 2 - PROPERTY INSURANCE CLASS

Our main goal at Slater All Lines Insurance School is to teach our students the information they need to pass the Washington State Insurance Producer Exam. This is Part 2 of our new Insurance Exam Sneak Peak series. We want to provide students with an inside look at some of the topics covered in our Insurance Exam Classes.

How are loss settlements determined by insurance companies?

  • Actual Cash Value (ACV) means the cost of repairing the damage, minus reasonable depreciation (wear and tear, deterioration and obsolescence).
  • Replacement Cost (RC) means the current cost, at the time of loss, to repair or replace the damaged property with new materials of like kind and quality, without deduction for depreciation, but not more than the policy limit.
  • Stated Value Coverage, a.k.a. Agreed Value…..Property is insured for a set value. The value is determined on the policy date, not at the time of the loss. This is usually accomplished by scheduling a particular item on the policy.
  • (Fair) Market Value is a concept which does not usually apply to insurance settlements. Market value means the selling value of the property. The (fair) market value on real property would not be a good indicator of the insurable value for fire insurance.    In a down market, a home might sell for less than it cost to be rebuilt.
  • Salvage Value…. The Salvage Clause is a condition in a property policy that gives the insurance company the right to take title to property after payment of a total loss. Salvage Value is often referred to as the value of damaged property taken over by an insurer to reduce its loss. The insurance company will sell the damaged property. Most insurance companies will offer the insured an option to purchase the salvage back from the insurer for what the insurance company might receive from a salvage yard.

A Sneak Peek inside the Property Insurance Course (Part 1):

PART 1 - PROPERTY INSURANCE CLASS

Our main goal at Slater All Lines Insurance School is to teach our students the information they need to pass the Washington State Insurance Producer Exam. This is Part 1 of our new Insurance Exam Sneak Peak series. We want to provide students with an inside look at some of the topics covered in our Insurance Exam Classes.

Insurance is designed to transfer the financial impact of a loss from an individual or company to an insurance company.  In exchange for the protection (agreement of indemnification) of the insurance company, an insured must pay premiums.

  • Property and Casualty Insurance Contracts are indemnification contracts. Indemnification means to restore a person to his or her original position before the loss, with no gain.
  • Property Insurance indemnifies a person or business who has an interest in physical property for the loss or the loss of income-producing abilities.
  • Casualty Insurance, often referred to as Liability Insurance, indemnifies for a wide variety of losses caused by an insured to a third party. Casualty Insurance includes Commercial Liability, Auto, Workers’ Compensation, Crime, Surety (Bonds), etc.
  • Law of Large Numbers: Risks are usually not considered insurable unless the insurance company has a large enough number of similar risks and a large enough base of previous loss experience to be able to accurately predict future losses. It is the law of large numbers that makes accurate predictions of group losses possible. The larger the number of risks, the more predictable the number of losses becomes.

A Sneak Peek inside the Disability Insurance Course (Part 3):

PART 3 - DISABILITY INSURANCE CLASS

Our main goal at Slater All Lines Insurance School is to teach our students the information they need to pass the Washington State Insurance Producer Exam. This is Part 3 of our new Insurance Exam Sneak Peak series. We want to provide students with an inside look at some of the topics covered in our Insurance Exam Classes.

How might a business benefit from different types of Disability insurance policies?

  • Buy-Out, a.k.a. Buy-Sell, is an agreement to buy out the interest of a partner or a persons’ interest in a firm, following a disability. A Disability Income policy would fund the buy-out agreement. Disability Buy-Sell coverage can be designed to provide benefits to a corporation to buy out a disabled stockholder’s or director’s share of the business. The policy will generally pay an installment benefit to the corporation for up to a year and then finally pay out a lump sum benefit to the corporation so it can buy out the disabled partner. Premiums are not tax-deductible; however, the benefits are received tax free.
  • Business Overhead Expense: Disabled individuals not only suffer a loss of income but also may incur a loss because of continuing business expenses. This situation frequently arises among self-employed persons such as doctors, lawyers and insurance producers.

Business Overhead Expense is designed to cover routine overhead (e.g., rent or lease payments, utilities, advertising, etc.) and wages. The purpose is to allow the business to keep its doors open and the business intact until the owner returns or is able to sell the business. Benefits usually are paid for 1 or 2 years. BOE premiums are tax-deductible to the business, and thus the disability benefits received are taxable to the business. However, the taxable benefits are then used to pay tax deductible expenses.

  • Key Person/Partner insurance protection replaces the income lost when an essential employee, who can also be the owner, is unable to work. The policy pays benefits directly to the business to help fund the hiring and training of a replacement.
  • The policy is owned by the business
  • The premium is paid by the business, but is NOT tax deductible
  • The business is the beneficiary, and receives an income tax free benefit
  • The person (usually an employee) is the insured
  • The key person (insured) must qualify for the coverage

A Sneak Peek inside the Disability Insurance Course (Part 2):

PART 2 - DISABILITY INSURANCE CLASS

Our main goal at Slater All Lines Insurance School is to teach our students the information they need to pass the Washington State Insurance Producer Exam. This is Part 2 of our new Insurance Exam Sneak Peak series. We want to provide students with an inside look at some of the topics covered in our Insurance Exam Classes.

How is a Flexible Spending Account different from a Health Savings Account?

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow employees to be reimbursed for medical expenses. FSAs are usually funded through voluntary salary reduction agreements with an employer. No federal income taxes are deducted from the employee’s contribution. The employer may also contribute.

The benefits of the FSA are:

  • No employment or federal income taxes are deducted from the contribution.
  • Withdrawals may be tax free if you pay qualified medical expenses.

Self-employed individuals are NOT eligible for a flexible spending arrangement.

Use It or Lose It” Rule: Distributions from the FSA are paid only to reimburse for qualified medical expenses incurred during the period of coverage. This means that amounts in the account at the end of the plan year cannot be carried over to the next year. You must use the money in the calendar year and submit the claims by the annual deadline, or the money remaining in the account goes back to the employer, so, use it or lose it.

The “use it or lose it” rule is why a person should plan carefully, and conservatively, when making contributions into an FSA.

New Washington State Insurance Producer Testing Company & Exam as of July 1, 2015!

This post has been updated with new information on 6/29/15.

EXAM REGISTRATION

The current exam company, Pearson VUE, will continue to accept reservations and will provide the insurance producer exams through Saturday, June 27, 2015. If you would like to schedule your exam date for July 1st or later, you will need to contact the new testing company, PSI Services (PSI), to make your reservation. PSI will begin to accept reservations on June 15th for exam dates July 1st or later.

Students will be expected to know the new outline for tests as of July 1, 2015 and will be taking their producer exam(s) at a PSI Services test center. PSI will have 10 locations throughout the state where you can take your insurance producer exam. Those locations are: Burlington, Ellensburg, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Richland, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Yakima.

If you live in the Seattle or Bellevue area, the closest testing locations will be Everett and Federal Way. Once we are notified of the address and contact information for these testing centers, we will post them here on our blog.

NEW TESTING LOCATIONS:

Everett

1010 S.E. Everett Mall Way, Suite 208
Everett, WA 98208

Directions to Everett insurance testing center

Arlington

18810 59th Dr. NE, Bldg. 44A
Arlington, WA 98223

Directions to the Arlington insurance testing center.

Federal Way (Seattle)

500 South 336th St., Suite 220
Federal Way, WA 98003

Directions to the Federal Way insurance testing center.

See PSIexams.com for other locations.

INSURANCE PRODUCER EXAM STUDY MATERIALS

UPDATE – Yes, the new information is available online. We are constantly updating our questions to provide our students with the best possible learning experience.

The new insurance producer exam content outline will become available June 15th. This outline will show what insurance topics could potentially be on any given exam. You can be confident that Slater All Lines Insurance School will be providing the most up-to-date study material to help our students get through the exam. The Washington State Commissioner’s office has said that there will be some changes to the General Content outline, but the state-specific content should remain the same.

Did you know that:

Slater All Lines Insurance School let’s its live lecture students audit the class as many times as needed within the first six months of their original class date. That means that if you feel you would like a class or topic refresher, you can sit back through whichever class day you would like, at no charge within the first six months. Contact us for details.

THE TEST STRUCTURE HAS CHANGED

For a very long time now, each insurance producer exam had two parts: a state-specific portion and a general-knowledge portion. And in order to receive a passing score, one needed a minimum of 75% on each portion (state and general). For exams taken on July 1st or after, the new test will be in effect. This new testing structure is not divided into separate portions. It will be one exam that encompasses the state and general portions. Also, a minimum score of 70% will be required in order to pass, not 75% like the current rule.

NEW TEST STRUCTURE & COST:

Single Line Exams:
Life, Disability, Property, Casualty, or Personal Lines Producer.

The state exam for each single line of insurance consists of a total of 110 questions, 10 of which are experimental questions and will be nonscorable. The cost for a single line exam is $45.00 and you have 150 minutes to complete it.

Combination Exams:
Property and Casualty Producer or Life and Disability Producer

The state exam for combinations have a total of 160 questions, 10 of which are experimental and will be nonscorable. The cost for a combination exam is $62.00 and you will have 195 minutes to complete it.

Did you know that: Within six months of ordering our Self-Study materials, you can attend a live lecture class for just the difference in tuition. We will give you credit for the amount you paid for self-study, good to use towards any live-lecture class tuition.

RETAKING YOUR EXAM BEFORE JUNE 27th

If you have to retake your test because you failed one or both portions prior to July 1st, you will have until June 27th to retake the exam that is currently being proctored by Pearson VUE (two separate content portions and a minimum of 75% to pass). However, if you need to retake your exam and you schedule the exam for July 1st or later, then you will be required to retake the entire new exam, that contains the new content and that has the new structure referenced above.

If you attended our live insurance class or purchased our insurance self-study materials from Slater All-Lines Insurance School, we will be happy to provide you with the updated content. Please email or call us for more information.

Did you know that:

Slater All Lines Insurance School will grant an extra 30 days of access to their Online Classroom for those students who request more time to study. If more time that that is needed, you can upgrade your package and receive an additional 90 days of access for only $50. Contact us for details.