Friday, June 8, 2012

Coming this fall: Agents and brokers in WA can submit fingerprints electronically

In Washington, as in most states, we require insurance agents and brokers to submit their fingerprints for the required background check.

For years, this has been done on paper cards, on which a worker rolls the applicant's inked fingers. It's messy, but more importantly, it's difficult to get good, usable prints. In fact, there's a 30 percent rejection rate by the State Patrol, meaning that the applicant has to go through the whole process again. We know it can be a pain, but we haven't had a good alternative.

So, good news: Starting late this summer or early fall, we will begin accepting electronically submitted fingerprints. We strongly encourage our resident applicants to use the service.


For one thing, the rejection rate is much lower. Instead of 30 percent, it's less than 3 percent.

It will also cost less. It now costs $42.50 to submit a paper fingerprint card. It will cost $32.50 to do it electronically.

It takes less time. In fact, in some cases, it could mean getting your license issued weeks earlier than with a paper card.

And there's probably a location close to you. More than 30 locations in Washington state can provide the fingerprinting service. Pearson Vue exam centers offer the service when applicants take the insurance exam, and the company also has a third-party vendor, Morpho Trust, that offers fingerprinting at several additional locations. You can find links to both on our new web page about electronic fingerprinting for insurance licensees.

Lastly, a question I know we'll get: Are electronic fingerprints required? No, not at this point. But we intend to require them starting during the first half of 2013.