Volume 3, No. 8 - September 2014

Education Central

- Things to know about your continuing education

The Big Bang: Issuance of a License

A clock starts ticking the moment a license is issued to a licensee by the Florida Department of Financial Services. This clock is powered by the Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code and it determines how long a licensee gets to keep their license. Think of the hands on a winding clock - 'big hand' as appointments for transacting insurance; 'little hand' for continuing education.

Appointments grant a licensee the ability to transact insurance, but only under the condition they maintain their knowledge in the subject area of their license. The goal of the law is to lessen the probability of an error. Without constant education, our understanding of the industry will slip as laws change and regulations are updated. Education is not only important to understanding, but vital in preserving the fidelity and integrity of the people in this industry. Let us explore some timelines:

  • Continuing Education (CE) requirements are biennial for all license types which require an examination, even for those who qualified for exemption from the examination under Florida law. CE requirements are defined in section 626.2815, F.S., and Rule Chapter 69B-228, F.A.C.
  • Most licensees are required to complete 24 hours of CE. A reduction is applied to qualifying licensees who meet certain experience and/or education requirements.
  • Required CE courses are determined in section 626.2815, Florida Statutes. A chart breakdown by license type can be found via our website at: www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Licensure/Education/CEReq.htm
  • Licenses expire if more than 48 months elapse without an appointment. Failure to complete continuing education may result in cancellation of appointment(s), which can ultimately lead to loss of the license.

As in the clock analogy, when the 'little hand' is activated by the issuance of a license, the deadline for completing continuing education is set. That deadline is the last day of the licensee's birth month falling at least 24 months after the date of licensure, and then every two years thereafter.

When in doubt, log in to your MyProfile account. It is the responsibility of each licensee to monitor their CE hours, transcript, and other Department notices.

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: Flexible Electives

In the past, continuing education courses have sometimes been approved for more than one course authority, essentially creating duplicate courses. This typically occurred when education providers tailored course material for both agents and adjusters, essentially diversifying their student audience. Because of the differing continuing education requirements for agents and adjusters, both course authorities required approval to ensure all licensees could receive credit.

With the advent of the new continuing education requirements in October 2014, all licensees (except title insurance agents) will have the 5-hour law and ethics update course requirement, along with elective requirements. The electives category allows licensees to take nearly any approved CE course, so there will no longer be a need to make sure identical curriculum is approved for more than one authority. Along with providing added flexibility for licensees, the elective requirements will also reduce the number of course applications providers may need to submit.

The Education Team at the Florida Department of Financial Services is available to answer any questions education providers or licensees may have about this change. Send your questions to Education@MyFloridaCFO.com, and if you have not already, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the new CE requirements at: www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Licensure/Education/CEReq.htm.