(1) The purpose of this section is to establish requirements and standards for continuing education courses for persons licensed to solicit or sell insurance in the state.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the provisions of this section apply to persons licensed to engage in the sale of insurance in this state for all lines of insurance for which an examination is required for licensing and to each insurer, employer, or appointing entity, including, but not limited to, those created or existing pursuant to s. 627.351. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person holding a license for the sale of any line of insurance for which an examination is not required by the laws of this state, nor shall the provisions of this section apply to any limited license as the department may exempt by rule.
(3)(a) Each person subject to the provisions of this section must, except as set forth in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d), complete a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years in basic or higher-level courses prescribed by this section or in other courses approved by the department. Each person subject to the provisions of this section must complete, as part of his or her required number of continuing education hours, 3 hours of continuing education, approved by the department, every 2 years on the subject matter of ethics. Each licensed general lines agent and customer representative subject to this section must complete, as part of his or her required number of continuing education hours, 1 hour of continuing education, approved by the department, every 2 years on the subject matter of premium discounts available on property insurance policies based on various hurricane mitigation options and the means for obtaining the discounts.
(b) A person who has been licensed for a period of 6 or more years must complete 20 hours every 2 years in intermediate or advanced-level courses prescribed by this section or in other courses approved by the department.
(c) A licensee who has been licensed for 25 years or more and is a CLU or a CPCU or has a Bachelor of Science degree in risk management or insurance with evidence of 18 or more semester hours in upper-level insurance-related courses must complete 10 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years in courses prescribed by this section or in other courses approved by the department.
(d) Any person who holds a license as a customer representative, limited customer representative, title agent, motor vehicle physical damage and mechanical breakdown insurance agent, crop or hail and multiple-peril crop insurance agent, or as an industrial fire insurance or burglary insurance agent and who is not a licensed life or health insurance agent, shall be required to complete 10 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years.
(e) Any person who holds a license to solicit or sell life or health insurance and a license to solicit or sell property, casualty, surety, or surplus lines insurance must complete the continuing education requirements by completing courses in life or health insurance for one-half of the total hours required and courses in property, casualty, surety, or surplus lines insurance for one-half of the total hours required. However, a licensee who holds an industrial fire or burglary insurance license and who is a licensed life or health agent shall be required to complete 4 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years related to industrial fire or burglary insurance and the remaining number of hours of continuing education courses required related to life or health insurance.
(f)1. Except as provided in subparagraph 2., compliance with continuing education requirements is a condition precedent to the issuance, continuation, reinstatement, or renewal of any appointment subject to this section.
2.a. An appointing entity, except one that appoints individuals who are employees or exclusive independent contractors of the appointing entity, may not require, directly or indirectly, as a condition of such appointment or the continuation of such appointment, the taking of an approved course or program by any appointee or potential appointee that is not of the appointee’s choosing.
b. Any entity created or existing pursuant to s. 627.351 may require employees to take training of any type relevant to their employment but may not require appointees who are not employees to take any approved course or program unless the course or program deals solely with the appointing entity’s internal procedures or products or with subjects substantially unique to the appointing entity.
(g) A person teaching any approved course of instruction or lecturing at any approved seminar and attending the entire course or seminar shall qualify for the same number of classroom hours as would be granted to a person taking and successfully completing such course, seminar, or program. Credit shall be limited to the number of hours actually taught unless a person attends the entire course or seminar. Any person who is an official of or employed by any governmental entity in this state and serves as a professor, instructor, or in any other position or office the duties and responsibilities of which are determined by the department to require monitoring and review of insurance laws or insurance regulations and practices shall be exempt from this section.
(h) Excess classroom hours accumulated during any compliance period may be carried forward to the next compliance period.
(i) For good cause shown, the department may grant an extension of time during which the requirements imposed by this section may be completed, but such extension of time may not exceed 1 year.
(j) A nonresident who must complete continuing education requirements in his or her home state may use the home state requirements to meet this state’s continuing education requirements as well, if the resident’s state recognizes reciprocity with this state’s continuing education requirements. A nonresident whose home state does not have a continuing education requirement but is licensed for the same class of business in another state which does have a continuing education requirement may comply with this section by furnishing proof of compliance with the other state’s requirement if that state has a reciprocal agreement with this state relative to continuing education. A nonresident whose home state does not have such continuing education requirements, and who is not licensed as a nonresident agent in a state that has continuing education requirements and reciprocates with this state, must meet the continuing education requirements of this state.
1(k) 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. This requirement does not apply to an agent who does not have any active life insurance or annuity contracts. In applying this exemption, the department may require the filing of a certification attesting that the agent has not sold life insurance or annuities during the continuing education compliance cycle in question and does not have any active life insurance or annuity contracts. A licensee may use the hours obtained under this paragraph to satisfy the requirement for continuing education in ethics under paragraph (a).
(4) The following courses may be completed in order to meet the continuing education course requirements:
(a) Any part of the Life Underwriter Training Council Life Course Curriculum: 24 hours; Health Course: 12 hours.
(b) Any part of the American College “CLU” diploma curriculum: 24 hours.
(c) Any part of the Insurance Institute of America’s program in general insurance: 12 hours.
(d) Any part of the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters’ Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designation program: 24 hours.
(e) Any part of the Certified Insurance Counselor program: 21 hours.
(f) Any part of the Accredited Advisor in Insurance: 21 hours.
(g) In the case of title agents, completion of the Certified Land Closer (CLC) professional designation program and receipt of the designation: 24 hours.
(h) In the case of title agents, completion of the Certified Land Searcher (CLS) professional designation program and receipt of the designation: 24 hours.
(i) Any insurance-related course which is approved by the department and taught by an accredited college or university per credit hour granted: 12 hours.
(j) Any course, including courses relating to agency management or errors and omissions, developed or sponsored by any authorized insurer or recognized agents’ association or insurance trade association or any independent study program of instruction, subject to approval by the department, qualifies for the equivalency of the number of classroom hours assigned thereto by the department. However, unless otherwise provided in this section, continuing education hours may not be credited toward meeting the requirements of this section unless the course is provided by classroom instruction or results in a monitored examination. A monitored examination is not required for:
1. An independent study program of instruction presented through interactive, online technology that the department determines has sufficient internal testing to validate the student’s full comprehension of the materials presented; or
2. An independent study program of instruction presented on paper or in printed material that imposes a final closed book examination that meets the requirements of the department’s rule for self-study courses. The examination may be taken without a proctor provided the student presents to the provider a sworn affidavit certifying that the student did not consult any written materials or receive outside assistance of any kind or from any person, directly or indirectly, while taking the examination. If the student is an employee of an agency or corporate entity, the student’s supervisor or a manager or owner of the agency or corporate entity must also sign the sworn affidavit. If the student is self-employed, a sole proprietor, or a partner, or if the examination is administered online, the sworn affidavit must also be signed by a disinterested third party. The sworn affidavit must be received by the approved provider prior to reporting continuing education credits to the department.
(k) Each person or entity sponsoring a course for continuing education credit must furnish, within 30 days after completion of the course, in a form satisfactory to the department or its designee, a written and certified roster showing the name and license number of all persons successfully completing such course and requesting credit, accompanied by the required fee.
(5) The department shall refuse to renew the appointment of any agent who has not had his or her continuing education requirements certified unless the agent has been granted an extension by the department. The department may not issue a new appointment of the same or similar type, with any insurer, to an agent who was denied a renewal appointment for failure to complete continuing education as required until the agent completes his or her continuing education requirement.
(6)(a) There is created an 11-member continuing education advisory board to be appointed by the Chief Financial Officer. Appointments shall be for terms of 4 years. The purpose of the board is to advise the department in determining standards by which courses may be evaluated and categorized as basic, intermediate, or advanced. The board shall submit recommendations to the department of changes needed in such criteria not less frequently than every 2 years. The department shall require all approved course providers to submit courses for approval to the department using the criteria. All materials, brochures, and advertisements related to the approved courses must specify the level assigned to the course.
(b) The board members shall be appointed as follows:
1. Seven members representing agents of which at least one must be a representative from each of the following organizations: the Florida Association of Insurance Agents; the Florida Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors; the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida, Inc.; the Florida Association of Health Underwriters; the Specialty Agents’ Association; the Latin American Agents’ Association; and the National Association of Insurance Women. Such board members must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university with major coursework in insurance, risk management, or education or possess the designation of CLU, CPCU, CHFC, CFP, AAI, or CIC. In addition, each member must possess 5 years of classroom instruction experience or 5 years of experience in the development or design of educational programs or 10 years of experience as a licensed resident agent. Each organization may submit to the department a list of recommendations for appointment. If one organization does not submit a list of recommendations, the Chief Financial Officer may select more than one recommended person from a list submitted by other eligible organizations.
2. Two members representing insurance companies at least one of whom must represent a Florida Domestic Company and one of whom must represent the Florida Insurance Council. Such board members must be employed within the training department of the insurance company. At least one such member must be a member of the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators.
3. One member representing the general public who is not directly employed in the insurance industry. Such board member must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university with major coursework in insurance, risk management, training, or education.
4. One member, appointed by the Chief Financial Officer, who represents the department.
(c) The members of the board shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief Financial Officer. Each board member shall be entitled to reimbursement for expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. The board shall designate one member as chair. The board shall meet at the call of the chair or the Chief Financial Officer. (7) The department may contract services relative to the administration of the continuing education program to a private entity. The contract shall be procured as a contract for a contractual service pursuant to s. 287.057. 1Note.—
A. Section 12, ch. 2008-237, provides in part that “[e]ffective [June 30, 2008,] the Department of Financial Services may adopt rules to implement this act.”
B. As amended by s. 46, ch. 2010-175. For a description of multiple acts in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, “Statutory Construction.” Paragraph (3)(k) was also amended by s. 1, ch. 2010-61, and that version reads:
(k)1. 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 subparagraph to satisfy the requirement for continuing education in ethics under paragraph (a).
2. An agent who has not sold individual life insurance policies or annuity contracts during the continuing education compliance cycle in question and does not have any active individual life insurance policies or annuity contracts is exempt from the requirements of subparagraph 1. In order to apply the exemption, the department may require the filing of a certification attesting that the agent has not sold individual life insurance policies or annuity contracts during the continuing education compliance cycle in question and does not have any active individual life insurance policies or annuity contracts.