How the Recent Reforms Have Transformed the Florida Insurance Sector?

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Since October of 2012, a new era of transformation was ushered in with the reforms made in the Continuous Requirements in Florida. The Florida laws made many changes and accorded relaxations in many areas, such as elective hours. 

All these steps ensured a smoother transition in the dynamic insurance sector of the modern-day while ensuring that agents and the adjusters are not in any way overburdened. The Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Licensing, Florida, also completely revamped the online portal to make a singular user-friendly platform for candidates to easily access a host of information pertaining to their CE requirements. 

The https://www.einsurancetraining.com/florida-insurance-continuing-education states that the insurance agents can update themselves of the latest developments in the insurance sector. For this, the agents must keep themselves abreast of the recent changes in the Insurance CE Requirements. 

The Florida Insurance CE Requirements were once again revamped effective October 2014. The amendments of 2014 and 2012 have ushered in a phase of modernization in the Florida Insurance Sector.

What Changes have been Made Pursuant to the New Law?

Under FS § 626.261 and § 626.281, the latest CE requirements are applicable for agents whose compliance term concludes on or after October 31, 2014. Agents who hold a license for less than six years must complete a 24-hour CE requirement every two years.

According to the recent amendments, agents must complete a 5-hour Law and Ethics course, which is an intrinsic part of their 24-hour CE requirement. The course suffices as a replacement of the ethics, premium discounts, and senior suitability courses across the various kinds of licenses. The new course has a five-hour course requirement specific to the agent’s type of license and which should include the following areas – 

Insurance Law updates and insurance topics decided by DFS

  • Ethics Courses for Insurance
  • Premium Discounts
  • Deciding the appropriateness of products and services
  • Disciplinary tendencies and case study analysis

Agents who have a license for six years or more have a 20-hour commitment time limit. Fifteen of the said 20 can be elective, whereas the rest 5 hours must be invested in the ethics course update every two years.

A CLU or a CPCLU holding a license for more than 25 years and having a Bachelor of Science Degree in risk management must complete the mandatory 5-hours of CE requirements every two years. Agents with 18 or more semester hours in upper-level insurance courses are also required to undergo the same commitment hour requirement. Additionally, candidates are required to complete the five-hour law and ethics course for each compliance period after October 31, 2014.

The Florida laws permit the carryover of excess continuing education hours by a candidate earned during a compliance period to the next period. However, the legal mechanism prohibits the transfer of the credits for more than one compliance period. 

Agents must know that the recent framework bars the renewal of appointments if continuing education requirements are not met. Not only this, but in the case of non-compliance, the agents will be unable to reinstate old appointments or obtain new ones as well.

What are the Recent Changes Made for Agents to Seek Extensions or Waiver?

The DFS can grant a discretionary extension for one year to enable the agents to complete continuing education requirements in certain exceptions. Whenever a candidate’s good case is cited, then events such as short-term disability, military duty, or illness or any other event outside the control of the agent will be taken into consideration. The DFS will levy a fine of $250 for failure to meet timely compliance on the agents who do not comply with the time requirements.

Previously, the military service was not a criterion for a waiver, but this has changed after the recent amendments. Licensees with an active military duty can also seek a waiver from the DFS in relation to the CE requirements. 

However, supporting documentation such as orders, etc. must accompany the request for waiver. Agents should also bear in mind that the waivers will be granted for the recent periods, and requests for every other period must be submitted individually. 

For failure to comply with the prescribed legal framework, the department can terminate or prohibit the further renewal of appointments of an agent or adjuster. Upon being notified by the department that continuing education requirement criteria are not duly met, the department has the power to take any other punitive action. The only exception to this sanction is if the department has granted an extension or waiver.

Conclusion

It is important to realize that the department has complete discretion regarding a candidate’s CE requirements. Therefore, it is advisable that either there must be the proper reason or a genuine excuse to avoid compliance. Unless there is solid documentary evidence to support such claims for waiver etc. agents must proactively work to fulfill their commitments and compliance directions as per the law.

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