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florida ce requirements / faqs

New Requirements
Compliance Period
Penalties for Non-Compliance

Required Number of Credits
Non-Resident Agents
Course Content
Excess Credit Carry-forward
Record keeping

Florida’s CE requirements are subject to periodic revision. The following information is believed to be correct as of publication — but is not guaranteed. Each agent should be familiar with the laws and rules applicable to his or her individual situation. Use the links to the right for specific Florida statutes and rules.

The following summary focuses on Life/Health licenses:

Since 1993, the Insurance Code requires licensed agents to complete approved continuing education courses to renew existing appointments. The continuing education requirements apply to all agents who sat for a licensing examination. (One exception is for “dental representatives”, a limited health agent license, who are exempt from continuing education requirements.)

      

       New Requirements

 

Law & Ethics 5 Hour Update
Any person who holds a license to solicit or sell insurance in this state must complete a minimum of 5 hours in continuing education, approved by the department, on the subject of Law & Ethics Starting with compliance period ending October 31, 2014 and every period after.

Long Term Care Partnerships
Long-Term Care Partnerships is recommended for staff and producers who need to understand the federal regulations and the role state plans play in funding public and private long-term care. Available online, the course is designed to meet NAIC guidelines (and Florida's adoption of those guidelines) requiring an initial eight hours of training for those who sell partnership policies and 4 credits every compliance period after.

The following requirements have dropped but the courses may still be taken and used towards your elective requirement:

Unauthorized Entities This requirement has been dropped!
Starting with compliance periods ending December 2004 and after, all agents are required to complete a 2 credit hour course in Unauthorized Entities

Ethics This requirement has been dropped!
Starting with compliance periods ending June 30, 2005 and after, all agents are required to complete a 3 credit hour course in Ethics.

Senior Suitability This requirement has been dropped!
Any person who holds a license to solicit or sell life insurance in this state must complete a minimum of 3 hours in continuing education, approved by the department, on the subject of suitability in annuity and life insurance transactions. A licensee may use the hours obtained under this paragraph to satisfy the requirement for continuing education in ethics under paragraph Starting with compliance periods ending January 31, 2009 and after, all life licensed agents are required to complete a 3 credit hour course in Senior Suitability.

 

Compliance Period

The Department requires agents to complete the required CE credits “no later than the last day of the agent's birth month after holding the license for 24 consecutive months”. After that, the continuing education requirement must be met every 24 months.

The Department can grant a 90-day extension to the compliance date for good cause. Valid reasons include events outside the agent's control: illness, short-term disability, accidents, emergencies, and military duty. A pre-existing permanent disability is not a valid reason for an extension. To qualify, the agent must apply for the extension before the “regular” compliance date. An extension applies only to the current compliance period. Subsequent compliance dates remain unchanged.

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Penalties for Non-Compliance

If the agent fails to complete the required CE credits by the compliance date, the Department will not renew the agent's appointments. Without a valid appointment, the agent may not transact insurance business in Florida. Agents face fees up to $250 for non-compliance — and the Department will cancel an agent's license if the agent does not have a valid appointment for a 24-month period. When an agent's license is canceled, that agent must re-apply for the license (including examination, pre-licensing course, etc.) to regain his or her license.

Please note: Simply completing the CE credits does not by itself maintain an agent's license. The agent must maintain active appointments to safeguard his or her license. Failure to complete the required CE credits will cause non-renewal of appointments, which can eventually cause the Department to cancel the agent's license.

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Credits Required

recently licensed agents

As a rule, agents recently licensed in Florida must complete a minimum of 24 (reduced from 28) continuing education credits per two-year compliance period. There are a couple of exceptions to this general rule — which reduce the CE requirement in half.

Agents who have held an insurance license for 25 or more years and hold a CLU or CPCU designation qualify for a reduced CE requirement of 14 hours per compliance period. The same applies to agents who hold a college degree in risk management or insurance and have completed at least 18 semester hours of upper-level, insurance-related college courses.

The continuing education requirement for administrative agents is also reduced to 10 hours per compliance period. Administrative agents are licensed health or life agents who primarily engage in clerical functions. Administrative agents must be supervised by another licensed agent, and cannot transact insurance business outside the office. Administrative agents may not be compensated based on production.

To qualify for the reduced CE requirement under either of these exceptions, the agent must file the appropriate form with the Department before the agent's compliance date. There is a fee to designate an agent as "administrative".

experienced agents

In 1996, the Legislature passed a law changing the continuing education requirement for “experienced agents”. This change in the law applies to compliance periods beginning January 1, 1998 (in other words, compliance periods ending in the year 2000 and thereafter). “Experienced agents” are those holding a Florida insurance license for six years or more as of the beginning of their compliance period. These “experienced agents” must earn 20 credits every compliance period (instead of the initial requirement of 28 hours). Experienced agents must earn their 20 hours of CE credits in courses designated by the Department as intermediate or advanced levels of difficulty — i.e., no basic level courses. (Newly-licensed agents may earn their 24 hours in courses designated as basic, intermediate or advanced.) “Experienced agents” who also qualify as CLUs, CPCUs, or hold a college degree in risk management or insurance, must complete 10 hours of continuing education every two-year compliance period.

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Non-Resident Agents

Non-resident agents may not have to comply with Florida's continuing education requirement if the agent's home state:

  • imposes a continuing education requirement,

  • has a reciprocal arrangement with Florida, and 

  • will certify the agent's compliance with that state's CE requirements (or the agent may submit the proper form and certificates of completion to the Florida Department).

Otherwise, the non-resident agent must comply with Florida's continuing education requirements.

As of Spring 2000, Florida has reciprocal agreements with 43 states. The following states do not have CE reciprocity with Florida: Alaska, Hawaii, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont. Alabama and Tennessee have modified reciprocity — check those states’ departments of insurance for details. Mississippi allows reciprocity for P&C only. Non-resident agents should contact their home state to determine their CE requirements.

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Excess credits

As of 1996, agents may carry “excess credits” forward from one compliance period into the next. This represents a change from the previous rule that only allowed for “carryforward” of credits earned in the last half of an agent's compliance period. To count the excess credits that an agent may apply toward the current compliance period, the Department reviews only the 24 month period immediately preceding the agent’s current compliance period — and any credits in excess of the required number for that period are carried forward. In other words, only the excess credits actually earned in the preceding compliance period are carried forward.

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Course content

Agents may earn continuing education credits in one of two ways: classroom instruction or self-study programs. Classroom courses require agents to attend class for the approved number of hours. Agents may also earn credits in self-study programs. To earn credit in this manner, the agent must successfully complete a monitored, closed-book final examination. Passing grade is 70% correct. Some online courses do not require a monitored exam. Wall street Instructors online self-study courses do not require a monitor for exams.

An agent must earn continuing education credits in courses dealing with topics related to the his or her license, i.e., life courses for life agents, property courses for property agents, etc. Agents holding a life, health and variable annuity license may earn CE credits in any courses dealing with life, health or variable annuities. Agents holding both a life/health license and a property/casualty license must complete one half their CE requirement in life/health courses and the other half in property/casualty courses. [Life/health agents who also hold any other type of license, such as title agent, workers’ compensation, etc., should consult with the Department regarding their specific continuing education requirement at 1-850-922-3137.]

Beginning with renewals in 1995, Florida law required each agent to complete a minimum of two hours in courses dealing with Florida laws and regulations in each compliance period. This “rules and regulations” requirement was discontinued in 1998.

The Department will not grant credit to an agent for repeating a course within a three-year period. The Department will also deny CE credit for courses dealing with:

  • mechanical office or business skills,

  • use of computer software,

  • accounting or tax preparation,

  • internal company rules and policies,

  • motivation or sales ability,

  • pre-licensing training,

  • preparatory courses for licensing examinations, or

  • specific product or company knowledge.

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Recordkeeping

As of January 1, 2002 the Department of Financial Services Education Database handles the administrative aspects of Florida's CE system for the Department. This database monitors the continuing education credits earned by Florida agents. Course providers furnish the Department with a roster of agents who successfully complete a CE course.

Course providers must also furnish agents completing a CE program with a certificate of completion within 30 days. The certificates of completion are for the agent's files — resident agents do not have to file the certificates with the Department, unless instructed otherwise. Unless the agent can prove otherwise, the Department uses these records to determine an agent's compliance (or noncompliance).

Each agent is responsible for completing the required courses by his or her compliance date. Agents can enroll in Wall Street Instructors' Free Reminder Service that notifies agents approximately 60 days prior to the end of their compliance period with a postcard and/or an e-mail.

 

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