In more than two decades as Director of a California insurance CE school, I have answered the following questions many times: Why do I have to take Insurance CE credits? I’m so busy, why doesn’t the State leave me alone? Yeah it can be a little painful to figure out what insurance CE credits you need, search out a good provider, then actually get through your courses on time. But, if you’re taking continuing education from the right place, it can ease the pain and be purposeful at the same time. How?
- Insurance CE keeps the number of agent competitors down.
Before the days when you had to take a 52-hour pre license training course to get licensed, OR before California CE credits were ever required (pre-1992), it was easy to get and keep an insurance license . . . Just take the cram course on Friday, pass the exam on Saturday, and pay your fees every two years! Practically everyone who wanted an insurance license, had one. Interestingly, since the introduction of CE and pre license mandates in the early 1990’s, the number of insurance agents has grown by only 4%. No one can be sure, but perhaps these new license and CE requirements had something to do with the low growth? I think it did. After all, when license candidates find out they have to take CE after passing their insurance license exam, they may just forgo getting the license. Some get a little further by starting a pre license course but get only half way before quitting. Either way, it means fewer competitors for you.
- Purpose-driven CE courses might keep you out of trouble.
I want to tell you about something that happened to our company about 10 years ago. I was tired of writing CE courses like everyone else . . . you know, insurance 101, the history of insurance, blah, blah, blah. There had to be a better way to help agents. One thing that was pretty noticeable, at least in the trade journals, was the growing number of mistakes agents were getting sued over. I started researching agent lawsuits . . . hundreds of them, in fact. Each case offered important insights into how agents came to make those mistakes and why they were pursued by courts and clients. I began incorporating these lessons in our courses. As a result, today, our insurance CE content embodies real world lessons you can actually use .. . after all, if agent Joe Grossnickle did something that got him sued or a license suspension, don’t you want to know about it so you don’t repeat the same mistake? We’re also one of the few CE schools around to drive home liability issues like the need to READ AND UNDERSTAND specimen polices for products you sell, or knowing what is in your agency contract? Does your contract, for instance, specifically spell out that you are representing the consumer? It can make a difference between being classed an agent or a broker, and that can get sued on a whole different level when mistakes happen.. So, as long as you are reading OUR CE courses, CE credits might keep you out of trouble. That’s purposeful.
- Purpose driven CE Content can move your career forward.
The California Department of Insurance doesn’t allow us or anybody to issue CE credits for sales or marketing training. So, even though these are subjects to help you grow your insurance career, you won’t see it discussed in any California CE course. (That said, we do have a new Free Resource Page and Free Agent Library where you will find hundreds of really meaningful sales tips. Go to www.AffordableEducators.com. Choose Free Resources). What we can get approved, however, are courses that explore content generally not available through run-of-the-mill CE schools. Asset protection, for example, is something many of your clients, maybe all of them, can use. Wouldn’t it look good, for example, if YOU were the only agent to tell a client about the need for an irrevocable trust? Read our CE course on Beyond Insurance and find out. Or what about giving your clients a “heads-up” about the many weasel clauses now being used by carriers, to deny claims? Read our Coverage Denied course and find out. We have other great CE course titles like Preferred Practices, Loss Control Mitigation and Claims Adjusting that help you understand more than just ho-hum policy construction and insurance codes you already know. So YES, CE Credit courses CAN help you stand out, and when you stand out, you help move forward in your career. CAREER TIP: Have you thought of letting your clients know that you have earned Certificate of Completions for our CE courses? Why not? Post it on your website or in a company brochure. It never hurts to move your insurance career forward with a better resume.
Well, I may not have relieved you of all the pain associated with taking California Insurance CE, but I may have provided a little clue that mandatory continuing education, with the right provider and courses, CAN serve a purpose . . . and that’s a good thing.
Not sure what CE to take for your license, or, if it’s okay to repeat a course? How about adding a new license to better serve your clients? Call us at (800) 498-5100 for the answers. We’ve been insurance trainers since 1993 and we ONLY serve California insurance agents. We know California CE requirements and rules better than anyone.
Dave Schoeffler is Director of Affordable Educators. Dave is a licensed insurance agent with a 30-year career in finance and insurance training. Contact him at www.AffordableEducators.com