Volume 3, No. 7 - August 2014

Education Central

- Things to know about your continuing education

Answers to the Common Questions about New CE Compliance Cycles

October 1, 2014 is speedily approaching. If you have a continuing education (CE) compliance cycle that ends after this date you may be aware that the requirements have changed. If you're not aware, or if you still have questions, this article should help. Below are responses to some of the most common questions we have received regarding CE compliance cycles ending after October 1, 2014.

What is this 5-Hour course?

The 5-hour Law and Ethics update course is a NEW requirement for licensees with a compliance cycle ending October 2014 or later, except for title agents. The 5-hour course must be specific to a line of insurance for which you are licensed. There are many approved courses that may be found on our website at https://dice.fldfs.com.

While the 5-hour course is a new requirement, these are not additional hours. Under the old continuing education law you were required to take certain courses in ethics, suitability or mitigation discounts. Those requirements were all rolled into the new 5-hour course. The total number of continuing education hours remains the same as under the previous law.

What courses do I take to satisfy elective hour requirements?

Elective hours are the remaining balance of your CE requirement aside from the 5-hour course. Most licensees can satisfy this requirement by completing any approved continuing education course.

Can I really take ANY approved course?

For most licensees, the answer is yes. However, public adjusters will be required to satisfy ALL continuing education requirements by completing courses that are approved in the line of public adjusting. Title insurance agents are not included in the 5-hour course requirement and therefore must complete courses that are approved in the line of title insurance.

Can I take a course twice?

Not within a three-year window; otherwise, it is considered a duplicate. Licensees must take a different 5-hour Law and Ethics update course every 2 years. Education providers will be required to submit a new 5-hour course outline each year with updated information if they desire to continue offering the course.

What if I hold more than one license type?

Dually licensed insurance representatives (those with multiple license types), except title insurance agents, will have CE requirements of all licenses merged into one compliance cycle every two years requiring 24 hours of approved course work. Any applicable reduction of hours that has been earned and/or approved will still apply.

A 5-hour course completed in any line of insurance for which someone is dually licensed will satisfy the 5-hour course requirement for the cycle.

Are non-resident requirements different?

Non-resident adjusters and public adjusters can satisfy their Florida CE requirement by meeting the CE requirements of their home state or a reciprocal state in which they are also licensed. You can check this by clicking here to view a list. Otherwise, they must complete Florida CE requirements as resident adjusters or public adjusters respectively.

Non-resident agents can satisfy their Florida CE requirement by meeting the CE requirements of their home state. Otherwise, they must complete Florida CE requirements as resident agents.

Non-resident title insurance agents must complete the same Florida CE requirements as those for resident title insurance agents.

Can I take a basic course?

Yes, even if you are an experienced licensee. There is no longer a requirement to take an intermediate or advanced course.

What if I take too many hours?

Excess hours taken during any compliance cycle are eligible to be carried over to the next compliance cycle. Duplicate courses will not receive credit.

As always send any comments or questions about CE to Education@MyFloridaCFO.com.

Are You Compliant with Your CE or Not?

If you have ever felt confused about what it means to be continuing education (CE) compliant, you are not alone. That's why we are continuously finding and implementing ways to help you with this. To be CE compliant requires more than just taking CE courses. Below are a few often overlooked suggestions for remaining CE compliant.

  • CE requirements change. You should regularly review your CE status through your MyProfile account. Your total hours have specific allocation requirements that must be met. Be sure to take all the right categories of CE courses.
  • 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. The statutory penalty for failure to complete CE is the cancellation of all your appointments, however you may be given the option of paying a $250 fine instead. Regardless of the penalty assessed, you are still required to complete past due CE requirements.
  • Check past 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.

We wish you success in completing your hours to remain knowledgeable in an ever-changing insurance market. And remember, your CE compliance date is your DUE date, not your DO date.

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: 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.