Volume 5, No. 5 - May 2016

Education Central

- Things to know about your continuing education

CE Mistakes You Don't Want To Make

Since continuing education is one of the two items required to maintain your license, it would be wise to know the possible pitfalls that might jeopardize your CE compliance status. Let’s review the four most common mistakes that licensees make so that you know the tips to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Waiting until the last minute to complete CE requirements.

The date listed in your MyProfile account is your CE due date, not your CE do date. There is too much risk in waiting until the last month, week, or even day to complete your continuing education requirements.

The class that you planned to take or signed up for may get canceled or even rescheduled for a date after your hours are due. You might find yourself in the middle of a self study exam and unable to complete and pass the course before the clock strikes midnight. You might even find that you completed the wrong course.

Things change, family or friends need your help, your days get busy and CE gets forgotten…life happens.  Make it a rule of thumb to complete your CE requirements as early as possible so that if the unforeseen circumstance arises, you won’t be scrambling around at the last minute to figure out how you are going to make it work.

Mistake #2: Assuming all credits are reported.

It would be nice to place full trust in the CE provider you chose to report your CE credits to the Department. After all, the CE provider is required to submit students on a roster within 21 days. All of this is true, but in the end, it is your CE requirement and you want to be sure that the CE providers you work with are fulfilling their responsibilities. Anything could happen, the CE provider could go out of business, or your records could get misplaced.

Always secure and maintain a copy of your certificate of completion in the event the provider doesn't report you on a roster within the required 21 days. This will help you verify your attendance to the Department if requested.

Check your MyProfile account to make certain each credit you completed has been posted to your transcript.  If credits are missing, check your records and locate the certificate of completion for the course that is missing to verify the information. If it has been more than 21 days contact the CE provider to report the issue and request credit to be submitted to the Department. If the CE provider is not responsive or is not cooperative, contact the Department.

Mistake #3: Trusting a CE course advertisement.

Do you remember the saying "a wolf wrapped in sheep's clothing"? Unfortunately, there are false advertisements made by unscrupulous companies promising you something that is not true. A helpful tip:  locate the listed course ID number and verify it with the Department's "Find a CE Course" search database online at https://dice.fldfs.com/public/pb_srch_adv.asp. If there is no course ID number listed within the advertisement, be suspicious.  Providers are required to include the course ID number when an advertisement is made about a specific course.

If an advertisement states that the course is “pending” approval, run as fast as you can.  Providers are strictly prohibited from using this, or any other misleading wording within their advertisements for CE credit. If you encounter misleading advertisements be sure to report them to the Department so that we can address them with the source of the advertisement directly. We don’t want you or anyone else to be duped by these false advertisements.

If the course is approved, you'll want to make sure that it is the correct course to meet your requirements. Some CE requirements can only be satisfied by taking a specific course. For example, the 5-hour law and ethics update requirement can only be satisfied by completing a 5-hour law and ethics update course specific to a license you currently hold.

Mistake #4: Ignoring notifications from the Department.

Notifications from the Department contain important information regarding the requirements necessary to maintain your license. Because of this, is vitally important to make sure you have an active email address on file with the Department. Not to mention that you are required to report contact information changes to the Department within 30 days.

Be sure to carefully read each email and make certain that Department emails are not automatically being forwarded to your SPAM folder. Department emails will notify you each time a completed course is posted to your transcript, if you are non-compliant with your CE requirements, if your appointments were terminated or if your license is going to expire.

Make it a routine habit to check your MyProfile account. There you can stay on top of your CE status, monitor your CE transcript and view your inbox for Department communications that may impact the status of your license or appointments if left unread.

This Insurance Insights newsletter is another useful tool that can be used to receive first hand important information regarding Department changes and updates, industry news, compliance tips and enforcement actions. Make sure you read this newsletter regularly and share the information with your friends and colleagues so that none of you have your name appear within the Enforcement Actions section in the future.

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

Are You Compliant with Your CE or Not?

To be CE compliant requires more than just taking CE courses. Below are a few 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.
  • 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.

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.

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.