Including all state-specific required courses
such as Ethics, Annuity Training, and Long-Term Care
|Online continuing education courses completed quickly and easily for Insurance (Life/Health and Property/Casualty), CFP, CPA, CLU/ChFC, CIMA, and Securities|
|Includes all required state-specific CE courses such as Ethics, Annuity Training, and Long-Term Care|
|Individual courses start at $9.95|
|All the online courses/hours needed to renew for only $35.95 or less|
|*State fees are not included in prices|
|Pre-Licensing for L/H, P/C, and Securities - All States|
|Pre-approved and also co-branded instructor-led presentations for your executives and wholesaling teams in all states|
|TurnKey administration and tracking for your current Live CE program|
|Obtain CE approval for your company content and product benefits|
|Become an approved CE instructor. Double your attendance with Live CE!|
|Textbook and Online continuing education courses approved nationwide for Insurance (Life/Health and Property/Casualty), CFP, CPA, CLU/ChFC, CIMA, and Securities as well as pre-licensing education|
|Over 350 courses available, including all state-specific courses such as Ethics, Annuity Training, and Long-Term Care|
|Special package pricing and volume discounts available for your company, agency, B/D/, and organization|
|Online continuing education courses approved nationwide for Insurance (Life/Health and Property/Casualty), CFP, CPA, CLU/ChFC, CIMA, and Securities|
|Custom course creation for your company|
|Includes all state-specific CE courses such as Ethics, Annuity Training, and Long-Term Care|
|We also offer pre-licensing courses for Insurance and Securities|
Select a Topic for More Information
Researching, evaluating and choosing a qualified insurance continuing education provider is difficult---all in all, there are more than 100 CE providers for the FINRA firm element. And if we include insurance continuing education providers well… that’s a whole other story: At last count there were more than 4,000 insurance continuing education providers at national, state, and local levels for insurance continuing education courses. But, who’s counting?
He continues, “Our firm has reviewed numerous plans by consultants that were full of holes and the insurance continuing courses, for example, that were purchased were either completely outdated, terribly overpriced, or both. Because so many smaller broker-dealers do not have the time to do the insurance continuing education due diligence and most times do not even know where to start, they will hire the wrong person and overpay because they have nothing to compare.”
So how much should you be prepared to pay, and what will you get? Industry experts agree that hiring a consultant and purchasing insurance continuing education courses doesn’t have to break the bank. J. William “Bill” Cooley, the president of Success Continuing Education in Newport Beach, California, says that some firms overspend “out of fear of regulatory blowback.” To put the fear to rest, Cooley agrees with Hebert about relying on experts for advice. “An independent compliance consultant can help you not only with your needs analysis and your insurance continuing education training plan, but with implementation as well.
For this service you might pay, on average, about $1500 plus the cost of courses---well worth the investment for staying in compliance and not failing a FINRA audit if one occurs,” he says. “I suggest before you hire an outside consultant, you must confirm that this individual has at least 10 years in the securities industry as a compliance specialist, has Series 7, 24, and 63 licenses, can show you credentials, and will give you several referrals from former and current clients.”
Now that you’ve found the independent compliance consultant to help you (or your compliance officer is ready to go to the next level), it’s time to find an insurance continuing education provider. Since it’s your ultimate responsibility to ensure your firm is in compliance, you should know the quality of the firm’s content, the cost, the reporting and, most important, whether they offer the tracking capability. Says Cooley, “A common mistake some broker-dealers make is neglecting to have proof that advisors have taken the training. For example, if the insurance continuing education provider only offers live classes and 90 out of 100 of your reps attend the class, what do you do for the other 10? But, if you choose an insurance continuing education provider that offers live insurance continuing education classes and online study and textbooks, then the remaining 10 can be tracked through their online participation.
So, how do you find a qualified provider of insurance continuing education content? If you currently do not have an insurance continuing education provider, or if you are considering changing providers, you have several choices. You can choose from the major providers of firm element who offer CLU, ChFC, CFP and CPA credits, thereby leveraging your reps time and knowledge, or you can retain a regional or local insurance continuing education provider who may not have as comprehensive an offering as the nationwide providers but can still meet your firm’s needs. If you are a small independent B/D with only one or two offices, a local compliance expert and/or provider can help you, but even if you have numerous offices you really need the guidance of a consultant who is familiar with all the various states’ securities rules and regs, as well as the FINRA rules and regs.
Depending on the type of training you need, of course, the well-established nationwide insurance continuing education providers can meet most all requirements. Firms like SuccessCE provide insurance continuing education credits. If your B/D provides the full-service lineup of investment and insurance products, including financial plans, and your reps hold the various licenses to recommend and sell them, i.e. securities, mutual funds, annuities and other insurance products, you should consider working with a CE provider that is approved nationwide for regulatory and firm element including CFP, CPA, ChFC, and CLU credits. Be sure to ask the provider specific questions about their CE credits for these licenses.
To get more information on CE providers, including insurance continuing education providers, outside of the nationwide selection requires your own due diligence or that of your compliance consultant or compliance officer. The National Association of Compliance Professionals offers a vendor directory at and you can find a few on the SIFMA website, but the pickings are slim. You can also attend a few industry conferences and find out what the latest insurance continuing education buzz is by strolling the exhibit hall and visiting some of the insurance continuing education providers at their booths. You’ll see the nationwide insurance continuing education providers there, as well as some high-quality regional providers. Collect their course catalogs and pricing sheets and ask for the names of broker-dealers they have worked with.
After you have decided on the insurance courses your reps need and you are in the process of researching an insurance continuing education provider, before making your final decision it’s important to determine the quality of the content.First, you must ask the provider if their content follows the required format: Fundamentals of the particular product, the Features and Benefits, Suitability, Risks, and Regulatory Requirements followed by 15 test questions. If it does, you should ask if you and/or your compliance consultant or officer could review a sample course.
It might be a good idea to ask a few of your top reps to review it as well, and if you have a field force committee the members would be a good resource, too.
Small firm or large, the budget is always a major consideration. Now that you have and your compliance consultant or compliance officer has worked through the initial stages of firm needs and analysis, training plan and program, and have researched the various insurance continuing education providers and narrowed it down to a few choices, the pricing of the insurance continuing education courses may be your determining factor at this point.
“In my experience,” says Cooley, “you should not have to pay more than $60 for a set of three insurance continuing education courses per rep, and many times it can be even less expensive.” Cooley added that, in most cases, a firm should be able to get added services and insurance continuing education courses for under $100 per rep.
The subject of insurance continuing education can be overwhelming but as Chet Hebert suggested, the insurance continuing education industry is blossoming and thousands of insurance continuing education credit offerings are available by almost as many insurance continuing education providers and vendors. Many B/Ds offer proprietary continuing education programs, and of course the industry organizations such as the IAFP, the ICFP, NAPFA, NEFE, all have regional and national conferences that your reps can attend to receive credits. The College for Financial Planning also offers a series of monthly tapes for CE credits.
Either your firm or a colleague can refer you to one that they have had much success with. You really need to look for a CE provider that has an experienced background and has a good reputation in the industry. The CE provider should be able to offer Online, Live, and Textbooks courses and should be approved nationwide. You may also want to research what the pros and cons are of the organization before you decide. SuccessCE has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is a respected name in insurance continuing education as well as other areas.
If your B/D, Insurance Company, or General Agency provides the full-service lineup of investment and insurance products, including financial plans, and you hold the various licenses to recommend and sell them, i.e. securities, mutual funds, annuities and other insurance products, you should consider working with a CE provider that is approved nationwide for these credits, which will include insurance continuing education.
If you attend a live presentation and like what you hear and learn, this can be very motivational. For example, let’s say you want to discuss re-balancing a portfolio with a client, but do not fully understand the process well enough yet. A live, high-level presentation on the subject, with interaction and time for questions is highly effective. Our firm specializes in classroom education with an emphasis on the interaction between instructor and attendee. We provide the highest caliber of live insurance continuing education materials to promote quality sales of financial services products.
Look for an individual who is a professional educator or experienced in the topic being discussed Ask if the instructor holds reputable advanced credentials.
First, you must ask the provider if their content follows the required format: Fundamentals of the particular product, the Features and Benefits, Suitability, Risks, and Regulatory Requirements followed by 15 test questions. If it does, you should ask if you and/or your compliance consultant or officer could review a sample course.
You know the adage, “Price is only an issue in the absence of value.” That being said, the cost of a “package pricing of courses (insurance continuing education) should not exceed $39.95. Overpriced services can range from $49.95 to more than $100, depending on how many are chosen, the multiples, the format, and numerous other variables. Avoid companies that charge grading or certification fees. It is crucial to look at the quality of the content and the quality of the provider along with ease of use to complete the courses.
Many times degree and designation programs will qualify for CE. Any time you can take advantage of a CE course to help you earn a prestigious designation or degree, it will enhance your knowledge and add to your professionalism. Usually the information will be on the provider’s website. The team members at Success CE can answer those questions for you, if you need more information.
This requires your own due diligence or that of your compliance consultant or compliance officer. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do that, be assured that SuccessCE is the top provider of approved nationwide for CFP, CPA, ChFC, MCLE, CIMA, and CLU credits.
Continuing education providers need to be accredited. The various types of accreditation include your state department of insurance, CFP, CLU/ChFC, CIMA, CPA, and MCLE accreditation for CE designations and organizations.
Your CE provider should have this information on their website and be able to provide you this information over the phone. Absent that, check with the state department of insurance and they will tell you everything you need to know about insurance continuing education credits before you enroll. As part of your license renewal, your state may require education in specific categories of knowledge. SuccessCE can personally help you with any questions you may have about your credits so that you do not encounter any problems with your licensing.
Firms may pay for quality providers, or at least reimburse you afterward, assuming you are a W-2 employee. Remember, the price of the courses do not reflect the quality of the content or the suitability for Insurance, CFP, or FINRA requirements. You might want to investigate the reasons why your firm might not want to reimburse you for a particular course, including overcharges by some CE firms. As a general rule, wirehouses and the larger firms pay for their reps courses, and the independent advisors pay for their own. Either way, it is our firm’s belief that no one should have to spend more than $25 per course per rep or $39.95 for a complete set of all the courses needed to renew a license.
If you are better educated about a product or a service you are offering, your clients will benefit from that education as well. If you truly have a client-centric practice, you will want to enhance your learning through all CE courses, in addition to insurance continuing education.
By J. William “Bill” Cooley
Have you noticed that other product distribution companies have more advisors in attendance during product presentations? Of course, one of your biggest challenges is drawing an enthusiastic audience for your product presentations. We believe there are several reasons why other companies have larger audiences and one is that their presentation is approved nationwide for the various licenses and designations. I am referring to insurance, CFP, CLU, ChFC, and CIMA continuing education credits.
If you were an advisor attending a product distribution company’s presentation would you prefer just sitting there and listening for an hour or more, or would you rather enjoy a live presentation where you earn CE credits? The answer is a no-brainer.
Just remember: whether or not you believe your topic is a timely or hot one, it would still draw larger crowds if the presentation was approved for nationwide CE credits.
Think about the following:
Here’s How To Do It--- Offer advisors in the audience continuing education credits either through LIVE CE or CE Credit Card/CE Vouchers. It is possible you can double your attendance through LIVE CE presentations which can also be customized to your firm’s products. As a result, you are able to showcase your products and its benefits to the advisors and they, in turn, will learn the strategies to recommend the products to their clients.
Another option is to choose a nationwide- approved CE company so you can build an audience as well as your sales. Be sure that their Live CE presentations are pre-approved in every state. Do the Math: If you tell you company’s story to twice as many advisors, and you keep the same closing ratio, will you double your sales? It’s not rocket science---the idea really works!
Value-Added Face Time for Your Wholesalers---Your goal is to have your target audience look forward to the wholesaler’s visit. If advisors know they will Insurance, CFP, CLU/ChFC, and CIMA CE credits with each visit, they will.
More Credibility---Your wholesalers will also be recognized as experts in their field by giving LIVE CE classes on your firm’s products.
You’ve Heard it Before: Time is Money. “Lunch and Learn” session are great for LIVE CE presentations when time is critical to both your wholesaler and the advisor. Especially in these times of market volatility, advisors are spending most of their time calming clients and needing help with their time management. Your wholesaler can present a LIVE class which will give the advisors the CE credits they need, and at the same time, showcase your products. You probably agree this is effective time management!
Great Alternative--- Some wholesalers may not have the presentation experience to teach LIVE CE classes. If so, why not have your wholesaler gives his or her standard presentation and then, as a value-add, at the end hand out a CE Voucher or Credit Card to each attendee, customized with your company logo and the wholesaler’s information. This gives the wholesaler to opportunity to re-visit or call the advisor and ask, “Have you used the Vouchers?” or “Have you completed your CE?” The wholesaler now has the opportunity to get more quality face time after their initial office visit.
Double Whammy---By handing out the CE Voucher and Credit Card, your wholesaler’s LIVE CE presentation just became that much more effective. He or she can remind advisors that they can earn up to 30 hours of online insurance continuing education, depending on their state, with the luxury of the CE Voucher and/or the CE Credit Card. There is easy portability, and no pre-notification requirements. Companies find that they are perfect for a large or small meetings. Note: Wholesalers, who present Live CE and present the vouchers and credit cards as an added “Thank You” will see an additional increase in their attendance.
Don’t be just a talking head: ADD VALUE. It’s easy to increase advisor attendance by using Success LIVE CE and custom-branded CE Credit Cards and Vouchers.
Both your wholesalers and your advisors will be happy and you will be satisfied with your sales results!
Who we are: The SuccessCE Family of Companies is designed to be the One Source for all your CE needs. We offer pre-approved and customized Live CE courses for your company's executives and wholesalers to present to producers. Double your attendance for sales presentations! For more information on Live CE presentations click on www.ClienTellCE.com; we offer Online Nationwide approved courses which can be viewed at www.SuccessCE.com. For Online/Textbook click on www.AffordableCE.com; and for Customized Live CE and Online courses for your company you can go directly to www.FirstChoiceCE.com To see everything we have to offer, go to www.InsuranceContinuingEducation.com for viewing all four of our CE providing firms.
By Sydney LeBlanc
In July of 1995, our world---as we knew it---changed. That’s when the landmark NASD (now FINRA) Continuing Education Rule 1120 mandating CE requirements for all registered reps and broker-dealers took effect through the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program.
The two primary directives of the program are the same today as they were then: A Regulatory Element and a Firm Element.
In 2006, FINRA changed its grandfathering rules for all reps and now it’s back to class for regulatory training with the virtual elimination of the exemption to Rule 1120 that had been established 10 years earlier. The ramification? Slightly more than 100,000 reps who were previously grandfathered will now have to take (or have already taken) the test. The new rule states that reps must complete the training within 120 days from the second anniversary of their registration date, and every three years thereafter. Reps who miss the training will have their licenses inactivated.
Here’s a quick rundown of the CE areas that are immediately relevant to our industry:
Insurance Continuing Education---Regulated by the State Department of Insurance (50 states plus District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam). Each state has a certain number of hours of insurance continuing education that a rep must complete if he or she holds an insurance license in a particular state. For example, in California the insurance continuing education requirement is 30 hours, while Florida requires 24 hours of insurance continuing education. Insurance continuing education regulations and rules fall under the jurisdiction of the State Departments of Insurance. Many states also have state specific insurance continuing education courses that an agent must complete to either renew their license, or if the rep markets certain products. Currently, 19 states require an ethics course as a part of the insurance continuing education.
We’ve covered the very basics of continuing education in this article. Professional training and education is the lifeblood of our industry, and the firms, both insurance continuing education providers and broker-dealers, are ramping up to provide as much value as possible in order to compete in this environment. A few firms have even set up informal mentoring programs for their reps. It’s a good trend. William “Bill” Cooley, president of SuccessCE, sums up the real value behind insurance continuing education in our industry: “ I believe insurance continuing education courses should reinforce investor protection and market integrity. This is what keeps individuals investing in our markets.”
“Contemporary Living Benefits” is an exciting new course offered by Success Live CE for product distribution companies, broker-dealers, general agencies, and organizations in a Live CE (classroom) presentation format. This comprehensive insurance CE course can be a one-or two-hour presentation, and explains the new living benefits, as well as reviewing the old, for a complete understanding of Living Benefits and the advantages of using these benefits for advisors to help clients achieve Retirement Income Security.
This insurance continuing education course includes a thorough explanation of what is offered to clients who invest in these products. Included is a discussion about protection as well as the guarantee of a lifetime income. Also explained are the Living Benefits associated with products such as life insurance, indexed and fixed annuities, in addition to the Variable Annuity product.
Says J. William Cooley, President and CEO of the SuccessCE Family of Companies, “We discovered through our research with our clients that there was a significant lack of understanding in the field about Living Benefits. Learning about this important aspect of insurance products is especially meaningful in these days of market and economic turmoil, and we are pleased to offer this education for the benefit of our corporate and individual customers”.
Product distribution companies that have living benefits attached to any of their products should present this Insurance, CFP, CLU/ChFC, and CIMA-approved CE course to double their audience at meetings, presentations and conferences. This course combined with the SuccessCE Voucher and/or SuccessCE Credit Card will make any company unique in the industry and add value for their producers. For more information, visit www.successcelive.com or contact Carol Seguin at 949-706-9453 x-145. CSeguin@SuccessCE.com
About the Success Family of CE Companies
The Success Family of CE Companies is a nationwide approved provider of "state of the art" Life and Health Insurance Continuing Education courses, CFP Continuing Education, Pre-Licensing Study Courses for Insurance and FINRA licenses, Property and Casualty Insurance Continuing Education, CPA Continuing Education, CIMA Continuing Education, CLU/ChFC (PACE) Continuing Education and Legal (MCLE) Continuing Education. The Success Family consists of these leading brands: Success CE, www.SuccessCE.com, ClienTell CE, www.ClienTellCE.com, Affordable CE, www.AffordableCE.com, and First Choice CE, www.FirstChoiceCE.com