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Taking the first step

The first step in starting your agency is to obtain your insurance license. In all states, the process of obtaining a license is regulated by the Insurance Department through law.

Pre-Licensing requirements

Some states have a mandatory requirement that must be fulfilled before you can sit for the licensing exam. The following are the requirements in our three states.

Continuing Education Requirements

You are required by the state's licensing law to continue your education once getting licensed. It is extremely important for insurance agents to keep up to date on issues concerning clients. Changes in laws and state/federal regulations can affect the insurance needs of clients and the way in which agents conduct business. Agents can enhance their selling skills and broaden their knowledge of insurance and other financial services by taking courses and attending institutes, conferences, and seminars sponsored by IA&B. To understand the requirement of this state, we have compiled the following reminders.

 

Below are the applicable Continuing Education (CE) and Training requirements in your state. Keep in mind that training may not be monitored by the regulator, but still havea bearing on your ability to sell, solicit or negotiate the line of business affected.

Delaware
  Delaware Continuing Education (CE) & Training Requirements
General requirement
  • Producers are required to complete twenty-four (24) credit hours of continuing education

Flood

  • Any resident licensee who writes flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program must complete a two (2) hour continuing education course related to flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program. Effective Dec. 11,2015, this requirement no longer applies to producers authorized to write homeowners' or personal lines coverage but to producers who sell flood insurance. 
LTC
  • If the resident producer holds a health license and solicits long term care policies, as part of his/her biennial requirement, the producer must complete at least three (3) hours of training in Delaware long term care insurance that consists of product knowledge, laws, rules and regulations.

  • Bulletin 63 of 2013 states that Producer training must be established to address the requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, in particular for Partnership policies (see paragraph J). [Delaware was the only state that had not published any requirements in that area. It appears that for the time being, Delaware is relying on issuers (carriers) to monitor that the training required by the Deficit Reduction Act was completed.]

Ethics

  • Of the 24 general credit hours required, three (3) must be in ethics -- biennially by February 28th of every even year. 
Annuity Education/ Training
  • Effective June 1, 2017, all Life and Annuity producers (resident and non-resident) must complete a one-time, four-hour approved training course. The training must be completed prior to selling, soliciting or negotiating these products by Nov. 29, 2017.

  • A non-resident producer may comply by providing a certificate of completion from a course that has been approved in Delaware or in a state that has adopted the 2010 NAIC Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation.

  • Access revised regulation 1214, section 5.0)

Other items
  • A newly licensed producer does not need to earn any continuing education credits in the first two years in which he becomes licensed if he was licensed after the beginning of a CE cycle, which is March 1st of every even year.

  • Producers can carry over up to 5 credits. Ethics credits cannot be carried over.

  • A course can only be credited once during a CE cycle. If a course is repeated in the same licensing period, it will only count once. Be particularly mindful of this if you hold a designation  (e.g. CIC, CISR) that requires annual updates: Taking the same institute two years in a row will update your designation, but not count towards CE if it is taken in the same licensing period.

  • License renewals are mailed to the licensees 90 days prior to the due date.

  • Both resident and non-resident licensees may renew electronically.  The renewal notice will provide information on how to renew online.

  • Your agency needs to have a procedure to make sure that the partnership or corporation and all individuals’ expiration dates in the agency are logged and monitored to assure that no licenses expire without being renewed.

  • If you are a resident and you have not received your CE transcript or if you are a nonresident and you have not received your memo by mid-November, you should call the Department of Insurance (DOI). The time to notify the DOI is before your license expires.

  • Producers continuously licensed for 25 years or more at the beginning of their licensing period (or who hold a specifically approved professional designation) are eligible for an automatic twelve credit hours. These automatic credits cannot be applied to any required Flood, Ethics or LTC credits (see above).

  • Access Regulation 504

Maryland
  Maryland Continuing Education (CE) & Training Requirements
General requirement
  • During each 24-month licensing period, a Maryland resident producer must earn 24 continuing education (CE) credits of approved education subjects. The CE credits must correspond with the line(s) of authority carried on the license.

  • If you carry more than one line, you must earn at least 25% of your CE credits in each line for which you are licensed.  For instance, if you are licensed in both P&C and L&H, you must earn at least 6 of your CE credits in P&C and 6 of them in L&H.  The remaining 12 could be earned in either line. This rule also applies to "grandfathered" producers (see Grandfathering below).

Grandfathering exception
  • A producer who has held a license continuously for 25 or more years as of Oct. 1, 2008, is only required to complete 8 credit hours.

In addition, producers who were over 70 years of age as of Apr. 30, 2013 are exempt from general CE requirements, including Ethics. This exemption is not included in the law or regulation, but this long-standing MIA practice was formalized in Bulletin 13-07. Note that for those producers over 70:

- Flood CE will not be monitored by the MIA (but likely will be by Write-Your-Own carriers and/or the NFIP).

- LTC training is still required if they sell Long-Term Care products.

 

Flood

  • If you are licensed in P&C and sell Flood insurance, you must secure two CE credits in Flood insurance, with every licensing period.

  • If you do NOT sell Flood insurance but sell Homeowners’, you also need to secure two CE credits in Flood insurance. This is a one-time requirement, and the compliance deadline was September 30, 2007.

LTC
  • If you are licensed in health insurance and also sell long-term care insurance, you must also earn 2 continuing education credits approved for long-term care credits. In addition, a separate training requirement applies to producers who sell or wish to sell long-term care insurance in Maryland. The training requirement includes:

-    a one-time, eight-hour training course. Producers who sold LTC insurance prior to Sept. 10, 2007 must complete the eight hours of training before Sept. 10, 2008. Producers who are only starting to sell LTC (e.g. getting a new license, adding the line of authority) must complete the eight hours of training prior to selling LTC insurance.

-    an ongoing, four-hour training course, to be completed once in every 24-month period.

Ethics

  • You need to complete three hours of Ethics credits (even if you are "grandfathered" or a title producer).

- any credits in excess of three will not count towards general credits (current interpretation of the regulation)

- if you are over 70, the MIA also exempts you from the Ethics requirement.

Other items
  • There are no carryover credits allowed in Maryland.

  • You may not earn credit for attending the same course within the same licensing period or during two renewal periods but within six months of each other. Be particularly mindful of this if you hold a designation  (e.g. CIC, CISR) that requires annual updates: Taking the same institute two years in a row will update your designation, but not count towards CE if it is taken in the same licensing period or within six months of the previous one.

  • Effective Oct. 1, 2013, there is no longer a limit on the number of credits that can be taken by correspondence or online.

  • The license renewal date is being transitioned to the last day of the producer's birth month.

    • Non-resident licensees simply need to attest that they are in good standing in their home state and their license will be renewed. Maryland recognizes all states for CE purposes, and will use the NAIC producer database to check on the producer's good-standing status.

Regulation

Access COMAR 31.03.02 (CE regulation)

Pennsylvania
 
  Pennsylvania Continuing Education (CE) & Training Requirements
General requirement
  • During each 24-month licensing period, a Pennsylvania resident producer must earn 24 continuing education (CE) credits of approved education subjects.
Grandfathering exception
  • A producer is exempt from CE if he or she was licensed prior to 01/01/71 and has been continuously licensed for all lines of authority carried since. If the producer adds a line of authority or lets the license lapse, the grandfathering feature is lost.
Flood
  • If you sell Flood insurance, you must secure 3 hours of approved Flood “training.”

  • Training is set and monitored by the specific Write-Your-Own (WYO) companies (or NFIP/FEMA).

  • This is a one-time requirement. However, if 1) you want to participate in the NFIP's COOP or Referral programs or 2) your WYO carrier mandates a course every licensing period, you will need to take the course again.

Long-Term Care

If you sell, solicit, or negotiate Qualified Partnership Policies (referred to as LTCP), you must complete:

  • A 1-hour training course on Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid) prior to any sale, solicitation or negotiation of a Qualified Partnership Policy,

  • A one-time, 8-hour training course. The eight-hour training may include the one-hour LTCP course referenced above; Producers licensed in A&H before 04/01/11 must complete the course by 04/01/12. Producers licensed in A&H after 04/01/11 must complete the course prior to selling.

  • An ongoing, 4-hour training course, to be completed once in every licensing period.
Ethics N/A
Other items
  • Up to 24 hours of carryover credits are allowed in Pennsylvania.

  • You may not earn credit for repeating a course in the same licensing period. If you hold a designation that requires annual updates (e.g. CIC, CISR): Taking the same institute two years in a row will update your designation, but not count towards CE if it is taken in the same licensing period.

  • The license renewal date is the last day of the producer's birth month.

  • You have up to the date of expiration to fulfill the CE requirement. The Department sends a notice of compliance 90 days prior to the expiration date of your license.

  • If you let your license lapse by failing to timely renew, pay the fee, or complete the CE, you may, within one year, request reinstatement from the Department. You must submit the completed renewal form, the lapsed license fee, and verification that all CE has been completed for the previously licensed and lapsed period. 

- If the request is received within 60 days of the lapse, the Department will reinstate retroactively.
- If the request is received more than 60 days after the license lapse, the license will be effective on the date of reinstatement.
- If the lapse period exceeds one year, the person must reapply (and take the licensing exam).
  • If you are unable to timely comply with the CE requirement or payment of a lapsed license as a result of military service or other extenuating circumstances, you may request a waiver for both the CE and the fee. The request should include sufficient detail and supporting documentation for the Department to make a decision.

 Check available courses

 

 Continuing Education Opportunities

In order to assist you in staying professional and in good standing with the Insurance Department, we have become a premier provider of continuing education courses for independent agents. We offer many opportunities from one-day seminars on a variety of subject matters to more advanced and nationally-recognized designation programs. In addition to our core offerings, a number of organizations offer professional designation programs that certify an agent’s expertise. Although voluntary, such programs assure clients and employers that an agent has a thorough understanding of the relevant specialty.

IA&B offers these professional designation programs in addition to stand alone, one-day seminars on specialty topics:

  • Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
  • Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)
  • Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA)
  • Errors and Omissions (E&O) seminars
  • Special Topic Seminars
  • Online, Self-Study and Webinars
  • Licensing Exam preparation

Additional information on all of these programs

Starting an agecny - table of contents

  


 

 

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