I recently attended my first SILA Education & Training Subgroup meeting. Compliance professionals and education providers from across the country met to address issues related to providing accessible, high-quality pre-licensing and continuing education for insurance professionals. I was so impressed by the passion these people have!
I also was struck by the number of changes to continuing education requirements in the various states. ILSA posts bulletins about education and other regulatory topics to our Newsroom and shares them on social media, but seeing all the changes listed together inspired me to share this regulatory review.
Changes to Credit Requirements
In the first quarter of 2023, two states amended their regulations to make it easier for licensed individuals to meet their continuing education requirements.
Maryland title producers currently need to complete 13 hours of title-specific continuing education plus 3 hours of mandatory ethics education. The Free State now also outlines specific hour completions for multi-licensed title producers. These changes took effect on February 1, 2023.
Across the county, Wyoming updated its regulation for the application of CE credits. Licensees can now carry over up to 12 hours of excess credits to the next compliance period. Credits must be earned in the last 120 days of the current compliance period, however, to qualify. This is to encourage licensees to spread their educational activities more evenly throughout the renewal cycle. The new rule took effect on January 1, 2023.
Changes to Course Content and Course Approval Procedures
Several jurisdictions also made changes to their CE course content requirements and/or to their processes for curriculum approval.
Perhaps the most high-profile of these changes involves California’s ethics requirement. On January 12, 2023, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced the inclusion of a one-hour mandatory course, Agents and Brokers Anti-Fraud Training, to its three-hour ethics requirement. This requirement applies to both pre-licensing and continuing education.
The course is available at no cost on the Department’s website through March 1, 2025. This is to allow CE providers time to integrate this module into their ethics curricula. A second notice on March 10, 2023, reminds applicants and licensees to verify whether any recently completed CE ethics training included this module. If it did not, individuals are still responsible for completing the anti-fraud training course. Additionally, licensees already renewed their licenses must complete the course and submit a certificate of attendance to the Department.
In August 2022, California also revised the outline and attachments for its eight-hour long-term care (LTC) course. Licensees enrolling for this course should verify that their provider has made the appropriate changes.
The 68th Regular Session of the Montana State Legislature passed House Bill 61. Signed into law on February 16, 2023, it dissolves the insurance continuing education advisory council. Course approvals will now be made by the insurance commissioner or contracted out for review.
The Washington State Legislature is also considering a bill, SB5026, which will repeal the state’s pre-licensing education requirement. Originally introduced to the 67th Legislature, the bill is expected to pass the 68th Legislature and go to the governor for signature by May 2023, with a potential effective date of July 1, 2023. Watch the ILSA Newsroom for further information.
Annuity Suitability/Best Interest Producer Training
Finally, the most far-reaching of the producer education and training changes involves the adoption of the NAIC Annuity Suitability & Best Interest Standard (MDL-275). To date, 30+ states have adopted the model revisions, with effective dates ranging from January 1, 2021, to August 1, 2023.
The model law requires carriers to provide product-specific training. Best Interest Standard Training courses must have a state-approved curriculum and providers must be approved by the state insurance department. Individuals who already completed the 4-hour annuity suitability training must still take a 1-hour course on the best interest standard. Typically, specific compliance requirements and deadlines vary by state.
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