Welcome to the ultimate Insurance agent Continuing Education (CE) guide.
By reading this article, you will gain a better understanding of Continuing Education requirements for insurance agents, including an overview of CE and its relevance to your license, as well as how to obtain the appropriate state-linked CE credits.
In this article, we will explore:
Let’s get straight into it.
A Quick Intro
The Financial industry can be a competitive environment, and it is no less straightforward for Insurance agents.
As part of protecting their employability and ensuring overall success in the industry, Insurance professionals need to engage in Continuous Education (CE) to stay up to date with the latest developments in their field.
But like any other aspect of the Insurance industry, Continuous Education can be a pile full of work.
Hence, it’s great to familiarize yourself with specific requirements, rules, and other associated processes – which we’ll cover in great detail in this article.
But first, what is Insurance CE?
What is Insurance Agent Continuing Education?
Continuing Education (CE) refers to courses provided to professionals to develop skills in a specific learning area or profession.
CE is usually a requirement for the upkeep of a professional license, also applicable in the Insurance industry.
After earning an insurance state license, completing training, and obtaining a permanent role, Insurance professionals need to take Insurance Continuing Education to keep updated.
They also need to stay up-to-date on relevant insurance issues, remain competitive, and keep their licenses active.
Insurance professionals can satisfy continuing education requirements through various CE providers offering approved courses.
It’s interesting to note that Insurance Continuing Education is unique from CE’s in other professions.
Instead of taking a standardized approach in terms of requirements and credits, Insurance continuing education has state-approved requirements; in other words, conditions are per the state’s rules and regulations.
That includes different CE credit hours that Licensees must complete after different periods to maintain licenses and continue practicing.
While we’ve emphasized that Insurance CE requirements generally do not follow uniform federal requirements, you may find consistencies in CE requirements, courses, and costs across states, that we discuss below.
Insurance Continuing Education Requirements
While it is no surprise that different professional licenses come with their continuing education requirements, as discussed in the previous section, the continuing education requirements for insurance Licensees also vary by state.
For example, a California life, health, or accident Insurance agent must complete 24 hours of Continuing Education every two years.
Additionally, Personal lines licensees, fire, and casualty agents should complete a minimum of 24 hours of CE during the two-year license period.
And in all instances, Licensees should dedicate 3 hours to an ethics course.
On the other hand, a Florida insurance agent who has had a license for six years or less should complete 24 contact hours every two years.
At the same time, an agent who has had a license for six or more years must complete at least 20 hours of Continuing Education every two years.
And whether you’ve had a license for more or less than six years, licensees should dedicate 5 hours out of their required credit hours to a law and ethics update course.
So as you can see, while the differences aren’t far apart, it wouldn’t be correct to look over different states’ CE requirements and regard them as the same as those in your state.
Hence, we recommend that when seeking CE requirements for your license, you get in touch with your state licensing commission to find out the specific CE state requirements.
You could also look at an approved provider’s website, as they often update their requirements as per state laws and regulations.
That being said, let’s check out the constituencies of a CE course.
Continuing Education Insurance courses
With the knowledge requirements in an insurance environment constantly changing due to new technological advances or perhaps changing economies, Insurance agents need to undergo CE courses to remain competitive in their careers.
The insurance CE courses cover various topics such as new laws and policies that have recently come into effect, ethics, and general insurance concepts.
Some well-known Life & Health Insurance CE courses include financial planning, long-term care, and annuity best interest training.
Courses are taken through accredited education providers, with Licensees can engage in learning through online courses, company seminars, in a classroom, or by correspondence.
The courses usually take about two days to complete; however, to ensure you aren’t trying to race through the course or lag behind, timers are set for each module for uniformity in pace.
At the end of the course, candidates take an end-of-course test, otherwise known as a knowledge test, to ensure they have understood the coursework.
The test is nothing like the insurance license exam, so stressing about it is unnecessary.
All required is to understand each module as questions will come from the various chapters or modules.
How much does Continuing Education cost?
After having a general overview of what courses entail, we’re sure you’d want to know how much it costs to take a CE course.
Depending on the course and the education provider, you should expect to pay anywhere between $40 to $120 + state reporting fees.
For example, with WebCE, you could get 24 credit courses for about $39.95.
Additionally, you could choose to build your 24-hour credits by combining several different modules that range between 3 to 8 credit hours each (individually priced at around $20 + state reporting fees) and have those added to make a total.
What happens if you don’t complete continuing education on time?
Failing to meet your Continuing Education requirements on time is a position you do not want to be in, as not only will your license become inactive, the process of reinstating a license can be pretty tedious.
Should your license pass the expiration date without completing any continuing education, you’ll need to meet your continuing education requirements by your state-designated extension period.
This is usually between 61 days and 12 months and you’ll also have to pay a reinstatement fee which generally begins at $75.
For example, in North Carolina, reinstating your license requires that you complete your CE Credits within four months after your initial compliance date and that you pay a reinstatement fee of $75.
One of the implications of a continuously changing work environment in the Insurance industry is the need for employees to educate themselves about new developments.
However, with the frequency that Insurance Agents need to update their Continuing Education and the uniqueness of CE courses across states, it can become the most stressful aspect of your job if you don’t get a hold of the progress of your Continuing Education.
Thankfully, with a guide as comprehensive as this, there should be no reason to skip Continuing Education and risk forfeiting your license.
Additionally, constantly reviewing your state’s department of insurance CE regulations should help you stay on top of your Continuing Education journey.
Remember, while learning can be energy-consuming, it’s needed for Insurance Agents to extend their careers and achieve success.