Life insurance agents play many roles in today’s business environment. They have their traditional role of selling policies that pay a death benefit. They also have many other skills. Those skills include pension plan set-up, estate planning, and retirement planning. All states require life insurance continuing education credits for bi-annual license renewal. CE is key to maintaining and building agent skills.
This particular industry has seen resurgence since the economic recession. Many companies downsized agents prior to the slowdown. They relied on financial advisers, stockbrokers, banks, and the internet for sales. Whole life policies were touted as unattractive products. Many financial planners advised clients to purchase cheap term policies. They suggested investing the money that clients saved in the stock market. When the stock market plummeted, however, those “unattractive” whole life policies retained their value.
As a result, many companies have begun to add agents to their rolls. Bankers, lawyers, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers are transitioning out of their old careers and into the life insurance industry. These new agents have to face many challenges. Only thirty percent of agents earn more than $35,000 by their second year in the field. By the fourth year, only twenty percent remain at all. By the sixth year, however, those who stay can find themselves earning up to and beyond the $100,000 mark.
There are many different types of continuing education courses. Firm element and regulatory courses include ethics and suitability, prevention of money laundering, securities products, economic topics, and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) rules and regulations. Agents can also take courses in accelerated benefits, annuities, and distribution planning. They can take courses in health and benefits insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and health savings accounts.
Agents must do their own due diligence when choosing a CE provider. Referrals from a firm or a colleague can provide some direction. Agents should do research to make sure that the provider has a solid reputation and a lot of experience. Providers should offer textbook, live, and online courses.
Choosing an education provider can be daunting. Agents have to do their own due diligence. A referral from a firm or colleague is helpful. Agents should make sure that the CE provider has experience and a good reputation. They should look for online, live, and textbook courses. The coursework should be approved nationwide and accredited by the state. Some firms reimburse employees for CE, and others require the agent to pay out-of-pocket.
If a firm is looking for CE providers, they should take a few steps. One is to hire a compliance specialist who has Series 7, 24, and 63 licenses. A local compliance officer employed by government can help small firms. Larger firms need to hire a specialist. A firm should make sure that the course provider offers classes for all of the firm’s services. These could include CFP, CIMA, CPA, ChFC, and CLU credits.
All states set and maintaining life insurance continuing education requirements. These requirements are different from state to state. Therefore, it is important to do due diligence before committing to a CE provider. In a growing industry, licensure compliance and continuing education are major priorities.
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