The California Department of Insurance (CDI) wants to make sure that its insurance licensees stay in the know about the latest changes in the industry. At the same time, they also want to make sure ethics stays top-of-mind for each insurance professional. To achieve these goals, they require that most California insurance licensees take continuing education before they can renew their licenses every two years.
On top of simply taking the hours, you need to make sure your hours cover the right topics. Let’s take a look at what the CDI requires you to learn during your California insurance continuing education hours. To start, though, let’s see how many hours you need.
Generally, if you’re a California resident producing insurance, you’re going to need to take 24 hours of continuing education before you can renew your license. Specifically, you’ll need 24 hours of continuing education during each two-year license period if you’re a:
Property and casualty broker-agent
Personal lines broker-agent
Accident and health agent
Life agent (life-only and accident and health)
That said, if you’re a limited lines automobile insurance agent, you only need 20 hours of continuing education during each renewal period.
Also, continuing education requirements differ for insurance professionals who sell long-term care and annuities, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the requirements based on the specific insurance products you sell.
As of 2013, most California insurance licensees needed some sort of ethics training, but the requirements were all over the place. Independent insurance adjusters and public insurance adjusters needed three hours of ethics continuing education, personal lines and automobile licensees needed two hours, and other resident brokers and agents needed four hours.
Fortunately, AB 1391 changed that. Ever since January 1, 2014, all California resident insurance agents and brokers are required to take the same number of ethics continuing education hours: three.
These three hours count toward your overall continuing education requirements. So if you’re an agent who needs 24 hours per renewal cycle, take your three hours of ethics training and dedicate your other 21 hours to other industry-relevant topics.
Beyond the three hours on ethics, which you can take online, your additional continuing education hours need to align with your license type. Fortunately, if you take your hours with a provider that has the CDI’s approval, you’re covered so you don’t need to worry.
You can look up courses that meet the CDI’s requirements with their tool. Fortunately, they allow you to take your hours online so you can knock them out at your own pace whenever it’s convenient for you.
Quick note: the CDI recommends you finish your hours 60 days before your license renewal is due. That way, they have sufficient time to update your records with your completed hours.
Ultimately, what you learn during your California insurance continuing education hours should keep you informed about your license type and help you be a successful and ethical industry professional. If you want more information about your continuing education requirements, check out the CDI’s webpage on the topic.