Before they can sell, solicit or recommend annuity products to the public, Illinois insurance producers must complete a state-approved annuity training course. However, we continue to hear from students who were unaware of this important state rule. Keep reading to learn more about how to stay in compliance with this requirement.
- What kind of course do I need?
The course must be at least 4 hours in length and can be completed in any format (classroom, self-study, etc.) that is acceptable to the Department of Insurance. Real Estate Institute’s 4-Hour NAIC Annuity Suitability Training course contains all the state-mandated topics and has been approved to help producers satisfy this requirement. Students who complete our course will also receive 4 hours of continuing education credit.
- Is there an exemption for people who have already been selling annuities for several years?
The Illinois rules don’t have any “grandfather” exemption. The requirement applies equally to all producers regardless of when they first became licensed.
- I only sell fixed/variable/indexed annuities? Does the rule apply to me?
The training must be completed regardless of whether a producer sells fixed, variable or indexed annuities. Although there are exemptions for producers who only sell certain types of annuity products, those exemptions are for a very small segment of the annuity market. Most Illinois producers won’t qualify for them.
- I’m new to the annuity business. Is this course all I need in order to start selling annuity products?
In addition to completing a 4-hour training course, individuals who want to sell annuities in Illinois must have a life insurance license.In the case of variable annuities, an individual must also be licensed to sell “variable products.” In order to earn the variable-product licensing designation, a producer must complete all necessary securities licensing procedures and become registered with a national organization called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
- Do I need to complete annuity training every 2 years before renewing my license?
Although some states require continuous training, the rule in Illinois is only a one-time requirement. Once this training has been completed, no additional annuity-specific coursework is required in order to renew a producer’s license. However, producers who sell variable products might be required to take special courses through FINRA in order to renew their securities license.
- I have a non-resident Illinois license and completed annuity training for my home state. Do I need an Illinois annuity course?
In general, non-resident producers are exempt from the Illinois requirement if they satisfy the annuity training requirements in their home state. However, the topics covered in their training must be substantially similar to those required by Illinois.
- What will happen if I don’t complete the training?
Insurance companies are required to verify completion of the training before letting anyone sell annuities on their behalf. Most carriers take this responsibility very seriously and won’t let you do business with them unless they obtain proof of your completion.Some insurers go beyond the Illinois requirement and want producers to take specific courses from specific education providers. If you have not completed your training and are asked to do so by a particular insurance carrier, you might want to ask about any company-specific rules.Be aware that the Department of Insurance will not keep a permanent record of your course completion. In order to prove that you have completed the mandatory training, you should keep a certificate of completion in a safe place. This document will be provided to you by your course provider.