Renewing Your License in 2021
Suppose your California Insurance License is renewing in 2021. In that case, you will need to make sure you have 24 hours of continuing education on record with the State. Sounds easy, right? Many agents are still making mistakes in choosing the wrong courses. Other agents do not attend enough classes. If this happens to you, your license will be suspended. And, a suspended license means no paycheck for you!
Let’s go over some of the special rules and a brand new fee charged by the State this year.
License Type Requirements
All casualty, life, health, and personal lines agents must take continuing education. But, if you have more than one license, you may still only need 24 hours of CE. AND, you can choose courses to meet one or both of those licenses.
Bill has both casualty and life licenses. He can take 24 hours of casualty courses to meet his education requirement. Or, he can take 24 hours of life courses. Finally, he can take a combination of BOTH life and casualty licenses . . . 12 hours of life and 12 hours of casualty.
California is one of the few states that allow you to do this.
No matter what type of license you have, you need at least three hours of ethics every two years. A lot of agents miss this one, then find out their license is suspended. Agents also waste time by taking too many hours. That’s right! It’s a prevalent mistake. How does this happen? Well, you know you need 24 hours of CE. But, did you know that that 24-hour requirement INCLUDES the three hours of ethics? In other words, you do not need to take 24 hours of education PLUS another 3 hours of ethics, as many agents believe.
Here is another misconception by agents. They take several ethics courses to meet the requirement for several license renewals. Wrong. The State says you MUST complete a current or fresh ethics course in your current license period.
Example: Juan wants to get his ethics done for the next 8 years. He takes ethics totaling 12 hours in 2021. He thought they will meet his ethics requirements for 4 renewal periods. 12 hours divided by 3 required hours per license period. Wrong. The State mandates that a new ethics course MUST be taken EACH RENEWAL PERIOD. Why? Because they want ethical practices to be on your mind regularly. Even though Juan gets credit for 12 hours of CE, he will still need to take a new ethics course each license period.
Call us to get questions like these answered before you buy. Be sure your license is not suspended. Why take and pay for more CE than you need?
Excess / Carry-Forward Hours
What happens if you take more Continuing Education for Insurance Agents hours than needed? First of all, you don’t lose them. Excess hours you take in one renewal period carry forward to the next renewal period. BUT, you cannot take more than 24 extra hours. If you do, you could risk losing some of those excess hours.
Example: Sally needs 24 hours of CE for her 2021 license renewal in December. She has some extra time on her hands during her vacation. Sally decides to finish her 24 hours for her current license renewal. PLUS, she did another 34 hours for her next renewal. Since she can only carry forward 24 excess hours, Salley is at risk of losing 10 of the extra 34 hours she took.
Duplicate and Special Courses
Many agents don’t know it, but it is ok to repeat a course you took last time. BUT, you must be sure you are taking it in your new and different renewal period. Questions? Call us at (800) 498-5100
Suppose you’re selling products like homeowners insurance, flood insurance, annuities, or long-term care. In that case, there are special training courses you must take. You may need to re-take them every two years to get commissions. Sometimes they are necessary to talk to customers about these products. Call us with any of your questions.
The Department of Insurance requires all continuing ed schools to pay a special new fee. It is 67 cents per credit hour. This fee is paid when submitting your California Insurance CE courses to the State. This DOI processing fee is used to pay for a private company (Sircon) to document your hours. They post the info on their website and handle your license renewal. Of course, the cost of license renewals is a separate matter and a different fee . . . about $190 per license this year.