1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Montgomery
House Bill 969
(As Passed the House)
AN ACT TO REQUIRE COMPLETION OF CERTAIN COURSES OF STUDY AND CONTINUING EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS AS PREREQUISITES FOR LICENSING AND RENEWAL OF LICENSES TO ACT AS INSURANCE AGENTS IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI; TO PRESCRIBE THE BASIC PRELICENSING EDUCATIONAL AND CONTINUING EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR INSURANCE AGENTS; TO ESTABLISH STANDARDS BY WHICH PRELICENSING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION SHALL BE EVALUATED FOR AWARDING OF CREDIT; TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN SELF-STUDY PROGRAMS TO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS ACT; TO AMEND SECTIONS 83-17-25 AND 83-17-117, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Every individual seeking to be licensed as an insurance agent in the State of Mississippi, as a condition of issuance of an original license, must furnish the Commissioner of Insurance with certification, on a form prescribed by the commissioner, that he or she has completed an approved prelicensing course of study of insurance.
(2) The prelicensing course of study hours shall consist of not less than twenty-four (24) classroom hours for the line of insurance for which the applicant is tested as follows:
(a) Life insurance only;
(b) Accident/health insurance only;
(c) Life, accident/health insurance; or
(d) Property/casualty insurance.
(3) Every individual seeking annual renewal of a license under Section 83-17-117 or Section 83-17-25, shall complete satisfactorily not less than twelve (12) hours of study in approved courses, programs of instruction or seminars for the lines of insurance for which the agent is licensed to transact business as follows:
(a) Life insurance license only, twelve (12) hours;
(b) Accident/health insurance license only, twelve (12) hours;
(c) Life, accident/health insurance license, twelve (12) hours;
(d) Property/casualty insurance license, twelve (12) hours; or
(e) Combination of both life, accident/health insurance license and property/casualty insurance license, twelve (12) hours in the primary line of insurance sold and six (6) hours in the secondary line of insurance sold.
Every individual shall complete the approved courses during each twelve-month period except the initially licensed year.
(4) The continuing educational requirements of this section shall not apply to:
(a) Any individual that is exempt from taking the written examination as provided by Section 83-17-109(1)(b), (c) and (e);
(b) Any individual that is licensed with a license limited to industrial life, industrial health and accident, industrial fire, small loan, vehicle physical damage or professional bail agent; or
(c) A person not a resident of this state who meets the continuing educational requirement in the state in which such person resides.
SECTION 2. (1) To qualify for credit towards satisfaction of the requirements of this act, an educational program must be a formal program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competence of the licensee and such program must meet the standards outlined herein for continuing educational programs. The subject of each course must be approved for the lines of insurance for which the licensee is granted educational credit.
(2) Formal programs requiring attendance may be considered for credit if:
(a) A detailed outline is prepared and presented to the Department of Insurance for approval;
(b) The program is at least two (2) credit hours in length, with each fifty-minute period being equal to one (1) credit hour;
(c) The program is conducted by a qualified instructor;
(d) A record of registration and attendance is maintained for a period of three (3) years and is available to the Department of Insurance for review.
(3) Continuing educational credit shall be allowed for service as an instructor of a certified program at any program for which participants are eligible to receive continuing educational credit. Credit for such service shall be awarded on the first presentation only, unless a program has been substantially revised.
(4) The course must be directly related to insurance principles and practices. A business course of general nature, insurance marketing or sales course shall not be approved.
(5) The courses or programs of instruction successfully completed which shall meet the standards of the Commissioner of Insurance for continuing educational requirements for the year in which the course is taken are:
(a) Any part of the Life Underwriter Training Counsel Life Course Curriculum or Health Course;
(b) Any part of the American College "CLU-CHFC" diploma curriculum;
(c) Any part of the Insurance Institute of America's programs;
(d) Any part of the America Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designation program;
(e) Any part of the Certified Insurance Counselor program; or
(f) Any designated insurance course taught by an accredited college or university per credit hour granted.
(6) Any correspondence or self-study program approved by the commissioner shall qualify for the equivalent number of classroom hours. All correspondence or self-study programs shall include a proctored examination administered by a disinterested third party.
(7) The commissioner specifically reserves the right to approve or disapprove credit for continuing education claimed under this act.
(8) The Commissioner of Insurance may require any original publisher or provider to submit all material to be used in his or her program to the Department of Insurance for review.
(9) All providers shall maintain a record of persons attending each course for not less than three (3) years and shall provide certificates of completion with hours earned to students upon their successful completion of each course. The certificate shall bear the course identification number as assigned by the Commissioner of Insurance.
SECTION 3. (1) A prelicensing and continuing educational advisory committee, comprised of seven (7) individuals who are representatives from each segment of the insurance industry, shall be appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner of Insurance to advise the commissioner concerning prelicensing and continuing educational standards. Each committee member shall agree to serve a minimum of two (2) years. The chairman of the committee shall be appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the commissioner.
(2) A majority of those present at any meeting of the educational advisory committee shall be a quorum for purposes of performing the duties of the committee under this act. In the event of a tie vote, the chairman shall vote to break the tie.
(3) The committee may advise the commissioner on program content and exceptions as permitted under this act.
(4) The committee shall be available to consider other related matters as the commissioner may assign.
SECTION 4. (1) Applications for original licenses shall be accompanied by a signed statement, under oath, on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Insurance, listing the courses that were taken in compliance with this act or a certificate of attendance signed by the educational provider.
(2) Each licensee shall submit annually a certificate of attendance signed by the continuing educational provider setting forth the program in which he has participated during the reporting period.
(3) The responsibility for establishing whether a particular course or other program for which credit is claimed is acceptable and meets the continuing educational requirements as set forth in this act rests solely on the licensee.
SECTION 5. The Commissioner of Insurance, upon written request, may grant exception to or extend the time in which a licensee must comply with the continuing educational requirements of this act for reasons of poor health, military service or other reasonable and just causes.
SECTION 6. (1) Any individual failing to meet the requirements of this act and who has not been granted an extension of time within which to comply or who has submitted to the Commissioner of Insurance a false or fraudulent certificate of compliance, after a hearing thereon, which hearing may be waived by such person, shall be subject to suspension or revocation of all licenses issued for any kind or kinds of insurance. No further license shall be issued to such person for any kind or kinds of insurance until such time as the person has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner that he or she has complied with all the requirements of this act and all other laws applicable thereto.
(2) The Commissioner of Insurance may suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew a course provider's authority to offer courses for any of the following causes:
(a) Advertising that a course is approved before the commissioner has granted such approval in writing;
(b) Submitting a course outline with material inaccuracies, either in length, presentation time or topic content;
(c) Presenting or using unapproved material in providing an approved course;
(d) Failing to conduct a course for the full time specified in the approval request submitted to the commissioner;
(e) Preparing and distributing certificates of attendance or completion before the course has been approved;
(f) Issuing certificates of attendance or completion before the completion of the course;
(g) Failing to issue certificates of attendance or completion to any licensee who satisfactorily completes a course;
(h) Failing to notify promptly the Commissioner of Insurance of suspected or known improper activities; or
(i) Any violation of state law.
(3) A course provider is responsible for the activities of persons conducting, supervising, instructing, proctoring, monitoring, moderating, facilitating or in any way responsible for the conduct of any of the activities associated with the course.
(4) In addition, the Commissioner of Insurance may require any of the following upon a finding of a violating of this section:
(a) Refunding all course tuition and fees to licensees;
(b) Providing licensees with a suitable course to replace the course that was found in violation; or
(c) Withdrawal of approval of courses sponsored by such provider for a period determined by the commissioner.
SECTION 7. The commissioner may contract with the necessary personnel to carry out the duties and responsibilities created by this act and may make assessments for the expenses incurred in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of this act.
SECTION 8. Section 83-17-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
83-17-25. (1) No certificate of authority shall be issued to any agent who has not previously obtained from the commissioner a privilege license to act as an insurance agent; provided that agents or organizers of fraternal orders shall not be required to have such privilege license. The privilege license required of an insurance agent shall continue for the next ensuing twelve (12) months after June 1 of each year.
(2) The privilege licenses and filing fees required of life insurance companies, health and accident insurance companies, hospital insurance companies and fraternal insurance companies, and the agents thereof, shall continue for the next ensuing twelve (12) months after January 1 of each year.
(3) The privilege licenses and filing fees required of fire, casualty, liability, fidelity, surety, guaranty, inland marine, plate glass and title insurance companies shall continue for the next ensuing twelve (12) months after June 1 of each year.
(4) For licensing under this section, agents shall meet the continuing educational requirements provided in House Bill No. 969, 1997 Regular Session.
SECTION 9. Section 83-17-117, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
83-17-117. (1) Each license issued to an agent shall expire on January 1 following the date of issue, unless prior thereto it is revoked or suspended by the commissioner.
(2) Each agent shall file an application for renewal of license on the form and in the manner prescribed by the commissioner for such purpose. Upon the filing of such application for renewal of license and the payment of the required fees, the current license shall continue to be in force until the renewal license is issued by the commissioner or until the commissioner has refused for cause to issue such renewal license, as provided in Section 83-17-123, and has a given notice of such refusal in writing to the agent.
(3) For licensing under this section, agents shall meet the continuing educational requirements provided in House Bill No. 969, 1997 Regular Session.
SECTION 10. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.