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Volume 3, No. 2 - February 2014

Education Central

- Things to know about your continuing education

Three Important Tips for Remaining CE Compliant

You're in the insurance business to help people protect their dreams, livelihood, and the well being of their loved ones. It took you time, energy, and money to qualify for the license allowing you to do that. You want to be sure that non-compliance with continuing education never denies you the right to continue on this journey.

Below are three tips to help you:

Tip #1: Review Your Transcript Regularly

Have you ever found you were denied credit for a course because you took it twice within a three year period? Have you ever questioned if an education provider reported your course completion to the Department? You may have even invested time and money forwarding certificates of completion to the Department just to make sure the course is reported.

We have news for you. You can save that time and money, erase those questions from your mind, and prevent possible credit denial by continually reviewing your transcript.

You can review your transcript by logging in to your MyProfile account and clicking the blue 'CE Status' button. The transcript is a running log of all the courses you have ever completed with related information pertaining to each one, including name and dates.

Before you sign up for a course, check to make sure you have not already taken the course within the last three years. After you complete a course, check your transcript to verify it has been reported. Education providers have 21 days from the date of completion to report the course; however, the majority are reported within 10 days. Keep the certificates of completion for your own records.

Tip #2: Monitor Your CE Compliance Evaluation Screen

Now that you know where all your completed courses are recorded, find out how they are applying to your requirements for continuing education. In your MyProfile CE Status page you should see the option to view your current and previous cycles of continuing education requirements.

This screen will give you a breakdown of the total hours due and the specific breakdown of those requirements. Depending on your license and the specific cycle(s) you need to satisfy, you may have to take an ethics, mitigation, suitability or even a 5-hour Law and Ethics Update course.

You will also see which requirements you have satisfied and which are still deficient. If you are deficient in any area, be sure to take courses that will satisfy that specific requirement. Lastly, check that date showing just above the requirement table to know when you must complete your courses. The date usually reflects the last day of your birth month.

Tip #3: Ask Questions

You are now educated on what you have completed, what you still need to complete, and the deadline. Go take those courses. To make sure you take the right ones, ask questions!

Unfortunately, there are people who do not have your best interest at heart and may try to offer you a course that is not approved by the Department (see below on how to find those). Therefore get necessary information from anyone advertising courses that will satisfy your CE requirement.

Here are some good questions to ask:

Are you an approved CE provider and what is your approved number with the State of Florida?

Is this course approved and what is the approved course number with the State of Florida?

Will I get credit for this course?

How many hours is the course approved for? Are those hours split between multiple requirements?

Will this course apply to the specific requirements I need?

How to Search for Approved CE Courses

Looking for continuing education (CE) courses to be sure you get all your hours completed? Our online course search can easily help you by listing those courses approved by the Department.

  1. Go to our website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents.
  2. Click on MyProfile on the left panel and log in to your account.
  3. Once in your MyProfile inbox, click on Locate at the top left. Then click on Future Course Offerings.
  4. Select the Course Authority for the type of license held or course you need to take.
  5. You can also make other choices, like Study Method and Location, to narrow your search results.
  6. If you click on Perform an Advanced Search, you will have additional options to narrow your search results, such as Course Date and Course Level.

Because many factors may affect your continuing education requirement (e.g. licenses held, number of years licensed, etc.), we encourage you to periodically check your MyProfile account to determine your individual continuing education compliance requirements and status. You will also be able to find more approved CE courses after logging in to your MyProfile account versus the public search option, which limits the results to the first 100 course offerings.

Education Providers: Conference Call Tips

The Education Unit recently conducted a test conference call in an effort to work out any system issues and enhance the conference call experience. During the test, we found that several callers were receiving a message stating that some presenting features are not available and those callers were not able to view the presentation being shared through Microsoft Lync. We have designed the March conference call around this. If you log on to the conference call and receive this type of error message please stay on the Lync session. As we move through the agenda, the material will be updated and will become viewable.

Test callers also reported an issue with the sound. These callers were not able to hear the audio through the computer speakers. The reason for this is because these callers did not have a microphone and speaker attached to their computer. If you would like to view the presentation and hear the audio through your speakers, you will need to make certain you have a microphone and speaker attached to your computer. When you join the online meeting, select the "Use Lync (integrated audio and video)" option. Otherwise, you will need to call in and listen to the audio over the phone. In that event, you can still watch the presentation on your computer. You will need to download the mini version of Lync, join the online meeting and choose the "Do not join audio" option.

The conference call is held on or around the second Tuesday of every other month. Our next conference call is scheduled for March 11, 2014 at 2:00pm EST. The calls only last 30 minutes and are packed with vital information specific to Florida insurance education providers. We are asking providers to invite the members of their team that handle the items that are submitted to the Department so that we may be able to address any questions or concerns that they may have.

If you have any questions related to the Education Conference Call, please email Education@MyFloridaCFO.com.

Education Providers: How to Survive a Department Audit

Grab your audit survival kit and follow the step-by-step directions. With these tips you won't have to worry about heartburn the next time your school is audited by the Department.

Being the subject of a Department audit does not infer that you did something wrong and shouldn't be viewed negatively. Step back for a moment and think about why audits are performed. It's a process to address procedures that may be in need of attention. So, very generally speaking, an audit is meant to be used as a tool to identify opportunities for transforming procedures to be more efficient and effective moving forward.

Taking that logic and applying it to Department audits we can surmise that they help to maintain the integrity of the education marketplace and promote awareness of the rules and guidelines that are set forth by the Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code.

So how do you keep your blood pressure in check? Here are a few tips that will help you survive a Department audit:

  • Know the Laws and Rules
    Just by knowing the laws and rules you are governed by gives you a huge advantage. This can help keep you out of the penalty box and in the game without missing a beat.
  • Remain Calm and Collected
    By keeping your cool and maintaining your composure you will go through the audit process with ease. Mastering this key point will allow you think clearly and act quickly so that you can manage your time appropriately to continue focusing your attention on your daily job priorities and fulfill the audit requirements simultaneously.
  • Gather Requested Documentation
    Gather the requested documentation and submit it immediately so that you can move on. The faster you leap over this hurdle the easier it will be to finish the race leaving you feeling energized and prepared rather than emotionally drained and physically exhausted.
  • Stick to the Deadline
    Don't procrastinate. It is human nature to procrastinate when the deadline seems so far away. Instead, move quickly to gather the necessary information and submit everything so that you have plenty of time without scrambling at the last minute to get the documentation submitted prior to the deadline.
  • Review the Audit and Work Toward Improvement
    Once the audit has been released to you for review, look it over and make notes so that you can immediately address the areas that need attention and praise your staff for the items that received higher marks. From here you will be able to make a cohesive plan of action to improve the areas that need attention.

Take these tips and implement as many as you can immediately. Change any part of your process that is not in line with the laws, rules, and guidelines that are set forth. Once audit time rolls around again, you will be much more confident which will keep you from reaching your boiling point. For more information on the laws, rules, and guidelines follow the links on the Education Central page located at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Licensure/Education.