On October 1, 2015, the Division of Insurance issued another letter to “remind” resident insurance producers of the new continuing education (CE) requirements of G.L. c. 175, §177E. This 2014 Act granted the Division additional powers and rights to discipline producers who do not comply with the law. As reported by Agency Checklists, at least one producer has had his license suspended for failure to comply with his CE requirements. Insurance Producer’s License Suspended For Lack of Continuing Education, “Agency Checklists,” January 25, 2015.
Division’s letter follows prior Bulletins and articles on new CE requirements
The Division’ s October 1, 2015 letter outlines the key changes enacted by Chapter 139 of the Acts of 2014 that now appear in the General laws as §177E of Chapter 175. As stated in the Division’s letter these changes are:
- The required completion date of a resident insurance producer’s CE requirement is contemporaneous with the producer’s license renewal date;
- The law adds the ethics requirement that requires resident insurance producers, as a part of their CE requirements, to satisfactorily complete a program of instruction or attend a seminar on ethics equivalent to three classroom hours of instruction;
- Newly licensed resident insurance producers must complete 60 hours of CE prior to their first license renewal date;
- Other licensed resident insurance producers must complete 45 hours of CE during the 36-months prior to their license renewals.
The October 1 letter also makes the point that the new statute grants the Division the power to discipline any insurance producers who do not complete their CE requirements. Disciplinary actions may include:
- license nonrenewal, or
- financial civil penalties
The October 1 letter does not specify the financial penalties that the Division can levy against resident insurance producers for their failure to comply with CE requirements. These penalties however are set forth in the statute as:
…a civil fine of not less than $20 nor more than $100 for each hour of instruction by which that person fails to meet the requirements imposed by this section
The new CE provisions apply to almost all Massachusetts producers
The new statutory requirements outlined in the Division’s letter apply to all resident and nonresident persons licensed for:
(1) life insurance, annuity contracts, variable annuity contracts and variable life insurance;
(2) sickness, accident and health insurance; or
(3) property and casualty insurance;
The only exception to the new CE (and old CE) requirements are those insurance producers grandfathered in by the original continuing education (Chapter 666 of the Acts of 1982) who hold a Massachusetts producers license issued prior to April 4, 1983, the effective date of that Act. However, even these producers are subject to the acts education requirements if they have since that date:
- Passed an examination to add any additional authority for selling additional lines of insurance, or
- If they were a person who were unlicensed for more than one year immediately prior to April 4, 1983.
The new CE requirements are detailed in prior Agency Checklists’ article
These changes identified in the Division’s letter have also been the subject of prior articles by Agency Checklists.
Since the passage of the amendments to section 177E in 2014, Agency Checklists has published four articles that explains the new statutory requirements and the statutory changes in detail. In chronological order these articles are:
- July 29, 2014, New Law Allows Mass. Commissioner To Fine For Failure To Finish Continuing Education Requirements;
- September 23, 2014, New Law Gives Some Mass. Producers Less Than Four Months To Complete Their New CE Requirements;
- March 1, 2015, New Reporting Requirements For Mass. Insurance Producers Regarding Their CE Credits
- June 30, 2015, MA Division of Insurance Reissues Warning To Resident Producers About Continuing Education Requirements
Additionally, a copy of the Division’s October 1, 2015 letter can be viewed on this link: Division of Insurance October 1, 2015 CE reminder to producers.
Finally, the Division of Insurance Bulletin 2014-06 on CE credits can be viewed on this link: Bulletin 2014-06.