After nearly a decade of asking, Illinois insurance producers can finally complete their 3-hour ethics continuing education requirement via webinar. The bill allowing for ethics webinars was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on August 14, 2018, and the Department of Insurance began approving webinars from course providers (including Real Estate Institute) a few weeks ago.
Although the new law provides a new method of ethics course delivery for insurance producers, the change is not applicable to public adjusters. According to the DOI, licensed Illinois public adjusters must still earn 3 hours of ethics credit by attending a live, in-person class.
The law also creates an education advisory council that will be charged with making recommendations to the state about insurance courses, curriculum and instructor qualifications.
To view Real Estate Institute’s extensive schedule of ethics webinars and in-person classes, click here.
Effective March 2, the state-mandated fee for reporting Illinois insurance continuing education credit hours to the appropriate licensing authorities has increased from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour. The fee is intended, in part, to fund online licensing services available through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ “State Based Systems” website, www.statebasedsystems.com. Producers can use the site to review their licensing information, monitor their remaining CE requirements, find approved education providers and more.
Real Estate institute offers insurance education approved by the Illinois Department of Insurance. Thousands of Illinois insurance producers complete our classroom and self-study continuing education courses each year. All state-mandated fees are required upon enrollment. State fees are subject to change without notice. We encourage students to complete courses promptly to avoid further fee increases.
If you’re like most insurance producers in Illinois, you probably don’t give your continuing education requirements much thought until you receive a license renewal notice from the state. For years, notifications have gone out in the mail and have given insurance professionals a helpful reminder regarding when to complete CE and how to renew their license.
Well, not anymore.
Effective Nov. 5 of last year, the Department of Insurance stopped sending hard-copy renewal notices to licensees. Instead of a mailed reminder, renewal notices will be emailed to whatever email address a producer has on file with the DOI.
Don’t let this change in departmental procedures impact your ability to do business! Consider taking the following steps to make your next renewal as simple as possible:
- Complete your continuing education sooner rather than later. As a reminder, producers in Illinois must complete 24 hours of continuing education (including 3 hours of in-class ethics training) in order to renew their license. (Additional requirements exist for producers who sell long-term care insurance.)
- Verify that your email address is correct. Producers can confirm, add or change their email address by visiting the National Insurance Producer Registry online at www.nipr.com.
If you’ve completed the entire 24-credit-hour CE requirement on or before your license expiration date, follow these on-time renewal instructions.
If you’re renewing your license after your expiration date, follow this link for details about reinstating your license.
Real Estate Institute is an Illinois-approved insurance continuing education provider that offers a wide range of self-study courses and thought-provoking ethics classes. Our team of knowledgeable customer service representatives is here to assist you with all of your CE needs. Contact us to enroll today!
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.
New rules published last week by the Illinois Department of Insurance have made subtle yet significant changes to the training requirements for producers who sell long-term care coverage. Those same rules also provide some long-awaited guidance for insurance carriers who are interested in offering LTC policies in conjunction with the state’s somewhat mysterious Long Term Care Partnership Program.
Are There Changes to Licensing Requirements?
For producers wanting to sell LTC products, the basics of the licensing and training requirements remain the same: An individual who wishes to sell LTC insurance in the state must first have a health insurance license and complete an 8-hour “Long Term Care (Partnership)” training course. Then, in order to continue selling the insurance, the licensee must complete an additional 4 hours of LTC training every 2 years.
What’s The New LTC Training Deadline?
Until now, the 2-year deadline for completing the 4 hours of additional training was tied to the date of the producer’s most recent LTC course completion and not to the producer’s license expiration date. As a result, producers could only ensure compliance with their 4-hour requirement if they could remember the completion date of their initial 8-hour course and all of their subsequent 4-hour completion dates.
Effective immediately, the deadline for completing the additional 4 hours of training is identical to a producer’s license expiration date.
What If I Miss The Deadline?
In another change to the training requirements, the department has implemented a 12-month grace period for producers who fail to complete 4 hours of additional training. Producers who miss their 4-hour deadline will be able to complete their training during the grace period without having to repeat an 8-hour training course again. Be aware, however, that this grace period doesn’t exempt producers from having to complete 24 hours of continuing education (LTC training or otherwise) prior to renewing their license. Selling LTC insurance without the proper license or prior to completing the required 8-hour or 4-hour training continues to be a licensing violation.
What’s New With LTC Partnership Policies?
Besides the changes to producer training, the department’s new rules contain a list of requirements for Long Term Care Partnership policies. Already popular in other states, Partnership policies might allow beneficiaries to qualify for Medicaid without having to “spend down” practically all of their savings. For each dollar received in benefits from an Illinois Partnership policy, the recipient can shield one dollar of assets. Changes to the Illinois rules reflect model language from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
For help with any of your Illinois insurance CE needs, visit us online or call (800) 289-4310.