When stockbrokers who commit fraud or other sales abuses are barred from working in the securities industry, they often keep their insurance licenses. This occurs because state governments generally have separate departments regulating securities and insurance. This means that the insurance agent who wants to sell you variable life insurance or annuities may be a bad broker who, having been kicked out of one industry, is simply selling a different kind of inappropriate high commission product.
You could simply ask the agent if he or she sells or ever sold securities and, if so, whether his or her securities licenses are still active. But you also should spend a few minutes searching the FINRA BrokerCheck database. This free resource will tell you whether your agent was or is a stockbroker and, more important, it will provide a complaint and disciplinary history.