CE changes in New York: What does it mean?

October 28, 2021

Recently, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced that it has finalized changes to the continuing-education requirements for insurance producers.

PIANY has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help its members prepare for these changes:

Q. What is changing?

A. The DFS has added a new section to the CE regulation that requires insurance producers to take up to seven hours of CE instruction on specific topics (more below). Before the amendments were made, producers were required to take at least 15 hours of CE, but there was no requirement to complete courses on specific topics.

Q. What are insurance producers required to do?

A. All licensees (i.e., insurance agents and insurance brokers) will be required to complete education in each of the following areas per licensing period:

  • one hour of Insurance Law;
  • one hour of ethics and professionalism; and
  • one hour of diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias.

All property/casualty licensees must complete additional education in each of the following areas per licensing period:

  •  At least one hour of flood insurance
  •  Three hours of enhanced flood insurance training.*

*This requirement applies only to those who insurance producers who sell flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, including Write-Your-Own carriers.

Q. What sort of course would satisfy the diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias requirement?

A. Courses that address implicit and explicit bias; equal access to justice; serving a diverse population; diversity and inclusion initiatives in the insurance industry; and sensitivity to cultural and other differences when interacting with clients, potential clients or members of the public all have been identified by the DFS to meet this requirement.

Q. I took a flood training course through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Would that satisfy the flood education requirements?

A. Probably. Courses related to the sale of flood insurance through the NFIP—including the minimum training requirements of Section 207 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 and basic flood education, as outlined or published by FEMA—would meet the requirements for basic flood-insurance education.

Q. What is enhanced flood insurance education?

A. Enhanced flood insurance courses include instruction on NFIP coverage, limits and rates—including coverage for dwellings in urban environments; on annual updates to the NFIP; on measures to improve flood insurance affordability; on the impact of climate change on flood risk and the NFIP; and on the NFIP claims process.

Q. Recently, I took a course on rules of policy cancellations in New York. Would that satisfy the Insurance Law requirement?

A. Yes. The definition of Insurance Law instruction found in the amendments is broad. Any course that addresses areas of the Insurance Law relevant to insurance producers would satisfy this requirement.

Q. Is the amount of CE I need to earn increasing?

A. No. While the amendment adds additional educational requirements, it does not increase the total number of CE credits a producer must receive. That number remains at 15 hours per licensing period.

Q. When does the regulation go into effect?

A. The regulation goes into effect Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. However, the regulation applies only to producers whose licenses renew on or after April 1, 2022. Producers with licenses with a renewal date before April 1, 2022, will not be required to comply with the new requirements until their next license renewal.

Q. If a producer—whose licenses expires on or after April 1—renews his or her license prior to April 1, does the producer need to meet the new requirements?

A. Currently, the DFS is working on system upgrades, so that the electronic renewal application can verify compliance with the new regulation. Until those upgrades are completed, the DFS will not require those producers who are renewing their licenses to show that they have met the requirements.

Q. What happens if I already have taken my 15 hours of CE?

A. If your license renews on or after April 1, 2022, you will be required to meet the requirements spelled out above. However, the DFS has indicated that courses taken before Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, may meet the requirements of the regulation. For example, many errors-and-omissions courses likely would satisfy the new ethics and professionalism requirement.

Q. Does this requirement apply to nonresident licensees?

A. No. The amendment does not apply to nonresident insurance producers, as long as they have met the CE requirements of their home state.

Q. How do I know if classes I already have taken satisfy the amendments?

A. PIANY is awaiting direction from the DFS on the answer to this question.

Q. How will I know if a course meets the new requirements?

A. PIANY is awaiting direction from the DFS on the answer to this question.

For updates about the DFS’s new CE regulation, watch your PIA Northeast publications.

About the author…

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., joined PIA as government affairs counsel for the Government & Industry Affairs Department in 2012 and then, after a four-month leave, he returned to the association in 2018 as director of government & industry affairs responsible for all legal, government relations and insurance industry liaison programs for the five state associations. Prior to PIA, Brad worked as an attorney for Steven J. Baum PC, in Amherst, and as an associate attorney for the law office of James Morris in Buffalo. He also spent time serving as senior manager of government affairs as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, a chamber of commerce serving the Buffalo, N.Y., region, his hometown. He received his juris doctorate from Buffalo Law School and his Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Politics from Utica College, Utica, N.Y. Brad is an active Mason and Shriner.

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