Volume 3, No. 6 - June 2014

Education Central

- Things to know about your continuing education

Five Minutes on the Five-Hour Course

The 5-hour law and ethics update course is a new CE requirement for all license types except Title. The goal of the course is to make our Florida licensees more aware of existing law, recent legislative changes and to standardize the delivery of this content. The new requirement replaces the Ethics, Law and Policy, Premium Discount Mitigation and Senior Suitability requirements. Every licensee (except Title) with a CE compliance cycle that ends this October or later must complete an appropriate 5-hour course each compliance cycle. Once October rolls around, the old requirements will no longer exist.

Each licensee must complete a 5-hour course specific to their license type. When two or more licenses are held, the licensee must complete one 5-hour course specific to at least one license type held. Below you will find a list of available course authorities for the 5-hour course and how the requirement corresponds to each license type. You'll need to pay close attention to the course authority when scheduling a course to make sure the course will apply to your CE requirements. Contact the course provider if you're unsure about a specific course offering.

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5-hour Course Authority

Corresponding License Type

5-215

Life, Health and Annuity
5-hour course

Life including variable annuity and health, or life and health agents. (e.g. 2-15 or 2-18)

5-214

Life and Annuity
5-hour course

Life and/or annuity agents. (e.g. 2-14 or 2-16)

5-240

Health
5-hour course

Health agents (e.g. 2-40)

5-220

General Lines
5-hour course

General lines or personal lines agents, customer representatives, or limited customer representatives, and industrial fire and burglary agents. (e.g. 2-20, 20-44, 4-40, 4-42, 2-33)

5-620

Adjuster
5-hour course

Adjusters, except public adjusters. (e.g. 5-20, 6-20)

5-320

Public Adjuster
5-hour course

Public adjusters. (e.g. 3-20)

5-237

Bail Bond
5-hour course

Bail bond agents (e.g. 2-34)

So, what can you expect when it comes to the actual content of a 5-hour course? The high-level topics required for each course are kept broad so that the regulated course outline needn't be changed annually. While the required outline topics are identical for each course, you can expect actual content to vary widely from course to course since the amount of time spent on each section is not standardized. This provides a fair amount of flexibility for course providers to tailor unique curriculum. You can expect legislative topics to change constantly as laws are changing, new court decisions are being made, policies are being revised and new enforcement actions are being taken. If you'd like a better idea of the structure and specific content for a particular course or seminar, get in touch with the course provider.

In addition to the 5-hour course requirement changes, all remaining hours for each compliance cycle can be fulfilled by taking electives. With the exception of Title licensees and Public Adjusters, licensees can take any approved CE course to fulfill remaining elective hours. Title licensees and Public Adjusters are required to complete courses specific to their license, and Title licensees have an Ethics, Rules and Compliance set of CE requirements instead of the 5-hour course.

For questions about Florida CE requirements, please email Education@MyFloridaCFO.com or go to our website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents.

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: Five Tips to Avoid Roster Submission Errors

You probably find yourself beyond frustrated when you are in the throes of yet another busy day at work and you actually take a moment to stop so that you can quickly submit a roster to the Department for the most recent course that was offered, only to receive an error message. Ugh! What was supposed to only take a few minutes turns into an hour of heated computer bashing. Next time you go to submit a roster, run through this list of the most common roster submission errors to avoid becoming a computer basher.

  1. Check your file size. If the size of the file is more than 5MB, you will get an error message every time.
    Solution: Create multiple files, each less than 5MB, to upload each individually. You can submit as many documents for one roster as needed.
  2. Check the file extension. If the extension following your filename ends with an x, such as .xlsx, again, you will get an error message every time.
    Solution: Go back and open the original file. Click "Save As", then click on the drop down box below the filename labeled "Save As Type" and choose "Excel 97-2003 Workbook". The newly saved .xls document should upload like a charm.
  3. Check your records. If the student is licensed, they will need to report their name exactly as it appears on their license. If you attempt to submit a name that does not match what appears on the Department issued license, you will receive an error.
    Solution: As a provider you can utilize the "Licensee Search" found under Quick Links on the Agent & Agency Services webpage. Just type in the student's license number and click "Search".
  4. Check compatibility settings. If you are unable to view the navigation tabs that typically appear at the top of your MyProfile account you may be experiencing a compatibility issue.
    Solution: If you are using Internet Explorer (version 8 or earlier), login to your provider MyProfile account. Click on Tools, and then click Compatibility View Settings. A pop up box will appear with the DFS website already populated in the field labeled "Add this website", click Add. You will see the web address move to the box below titled "Websites you've added to Compatibility View". Click Close, then refresh the page or logout and log back in to your MyProfile account. You should now be able to view the navigation tabs and move through the provider account normally. If you are not using Internet Explorer, you will need to contact your IT department to determine the best way to handle the compatibility issue.
  5. Check course/offering approval status. Have you received approval on your course and course offering? In order to submit a roster you first need to have an offering ID number. To have an offering ID number, you must have an approved course and an approved course offering. If you have not received the Department approval for your course and course offering applications and the course has already been presented to students you are in a bit of a pickle. The students that attended this course will not receive Florida CE credit and you will be the bearer of bad news for these students. By holding a course for Florida CE credit that is not yet approved by the Department, you are in violation of the Florida Administrative Code and will receive a notice of violation. This scenario is not where you want to find yourself and can easily be avoided.
    Solution: Always submit your course offering application at least 30 days in advance to be in compliance with Florida Administrative Code. The Department's system will not allow you to submit a course offering application for a course that has not yet been approved so this process is a safeguard to keep you from presenting an unapproved course. If the system does not allow you to submit a course offering application, more than likely your course has not yet been approved.

If you know the missteps others have taken ahead of time, you can use this knowledge to avoid these mistakes altogether. As always, if you are experiencing issues and cannot determine a resolution, contact the Education Unit by emailing Education@MyFloridaCFO.com.