Florida Insurance CE: Understanding the Update

Over the past few years Florida Insurance CE and licensing has received a much needed overhaul. Agents who were once confused by the complex nature of all the individual license types and education requirements are now finding themselves dumbstruck by the simplicity. Here is a quick look at the most important Florida Insurance CE changes that are impacting the insurance agent.

After much outcry, in 2012 Florida began enacting these updates with the intention of reducing the regulatory burden on agents and adjusters. By consolidating license types and updating the Florida insurance CE requirements, the state has taken actionable steps towards a licensing model much like that found in surrounding states. Insurance agents operating in Florida will no longer need to hold multiple licenses to write different lines of insurance and they will have more flexibility when taking Florida insurance CE classes. Here are some of the highlights of the rules changes.

Starting October 2012: agents are now expected to update any contact information within 30 days of the change. This was reduced from 60 days when the state moved to an electronic communication method to update agents on changes and requirements to their license. The Florida newsletter Insurance Insights launched in 2012 providing agents with monthly updates on news, education, compliance, and enforcement actions.

Starting October 2014: Florida insurance CE saw a major change in the course requirements. Every two years agents are now required to complete 24 credit hours. 5 of the hours must be completed in Florida Law & Ethics applicable to their license type, but for the first time the remaining 19  hours are entirely elective. Courses on hurricane mitigation and senior suitability were replaced with the law and ethics training. Those courses remain in several state catalogs and now satisfy the elective course requirements. There are still reductions available for agents meeting certain criteria, but they are much simpler to track and identify. For example, agents who are licensed for more than 6 years have a reduced requirement of 20 hours with 5 being on Florida Law & Ethics and 15 elective.

The following tools and rules are excellent resources for your use in better understanding your individual requirement.

MyProfile

MyProfile is the online portal for the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Licensing. To enter the system, you must enter your username and password. If you do not have a username, then click Create Account. MyProfile allows Florida agents to

  • Verify/Change a name or address
  • Apply for an agent or adjuster license
  • Apply for a re-examination (bail bond)
  • View information, and deficiencies on a pending application for a license
  • View your license(s) and/or appointment(s):
  • Apply for a Letter of Certification and a Letter of Clearance
  • Obtain a duplicate license
  • Check CE status
    • CE requirements. You should regularly review your CE status through your account. Your total hours have specific allocation requirements that must be met.
    • Check for late hours. Hours taken after your due date will still post on your compliance evaluation screen, but they will be noted as “Late”. Though your hours requirement may have been met, late completion of your continuing education requirement will result in penalties.
    • Check prior evaluation periods. Always check previous compliance periods to make sure you are not delinquent for a prior period. Be sure to click on VIEW ENFORCEMENT NOTICE just below the Not Compliant text to check for any outstanding fines.
    • Check your transcript. The same course cannot be taken with the same provider within a three-year period and receive credit. This is noted on your transcript as a duplicate course. You will need to take a different course to meet your CE requirement.

Florida Insurance CE Requirements

Pursuant to F. S. § 626.261 and § 626.281, new continuing education requirements will apply to agents with a compliance period ending on or after October 31, 2014. Agents who have been licensed for less than six (6) years must still complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.

According to the new law, agents must complete a five-hour law and ethics update course as part of the 24-hour continuing education requirement. This course replaces the current ethics, law, premium discounts, and senior suitability requirements across the different license types. The new five-hour course must be specific to the agent’s license and must cover the following subject areas:

  • Insurance law updates and other similar insurance related topics determined by DFS;
  • Ethics for the insurance professional;
  • Premium discounts;
  • Determining suitability of products and services; and
  • Disciplinary trends and case studies

Agents who have been licensed for six years or more must complete 15 hours of continuing education every two years, along with the five-hour law and ethics course update (for a total of 20 hours of continuing education every two years).

A person who has been licensed for 25 years or more and is a CLU or a CPCU or has a Bachelor of Science degree in risk management or insurance with 18 or more semester hours in upper-level insurance related courses must complete five-hours of continuing education every two years. These individuals must also complete the five-hour law and ethics course update during each compliance period ending October 31, 2014, or later.

Agents may carry forward excess continuing education hours that they have earned during one compliance period to the next compliance period. However, credits cannot be carried over for more than one compliance period.

Agents will not be able to renew their appointments, reinstate old ones, or obtain new ones if they have not complied with the continuing education requirements.

The DFS may grant an extension of up to one year to complete the continuing education requirements, if good case is shown. Good cause might include events outside the agent’s control, such as a short-term disability, military duty, or illness. The DFS will impose a $250 fine for failure to comply with the continuing education requirement on a timely basis.

Licensees who are on active military duty can request a waiver. Supporting documentation, such as written orders, must be submitted with the request. Agents should keep in mind that waivers will only be granted for the most recent compliance period and a new written request must be submitted for each additional period. Previously, there was no military waiver for continuing education.

Failure to Comply with Florida Insurance CE (636.2815.10)

The department may immediately terminate or refuse to renew the appointment of an agent or adjuster who has been notified by the department that his or her continuing education requirements have not been certified, unless the agent or adjuster has been granted an extension or waiver by the department. The department may not issue a new appointment of the same or similar type to a licensee who was denied a renewal appointment for failing to complete continuing education as required until the licensee completes his or her continuing education requirement.

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