Changes in licensing, fees and continuing education due dates for insurance agents in Virginia will take effect January 1, 2021.
These changes, as provided by Virginia law, have been in the works for more than two years and are among the biggest changes impacting Virginia insurance agent licensing in more than 30 years, according to a Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) press release.
The SCC’s Bureau of Insurance is changing the duration of agent licenses from a perpetual basis to a biennial basis based on birth month and year. The changes will impact approximately 332,000 individuals and agencies holding 340,000 insurance agent licenses in Virginia.
The switch to biennial license renewals allows the bureau to more regularly receive up-to-date contact and other license-related information from agents, such as criminal history and disciplinary actions.
Beginning January 1, 2021, license renewal fees will be $10 every two years per line of authority for all insurance license types.
Continuing education (CE) due dates also will change. Currently, the Bureau uses a static date for resident insurance agents licensed in Virginia to complete CE requirements.
As of January 1, CE due dates will align with each resident agent’s individual license renewal date. The number of hours required for CE has not changed, but the $22 continuance fee has been eliminated effective January 1, 2021.
In addition, new Virginia licensees who live in the commonwealth will be fingerprinted for state and federal background checks. This requirement does not pertain to license renewal applications.
These changes are intended to benefit both licensees as well as the bureau’s oversight of the licensing process. Among other things, the changes are designed to create greater efficiencies and transparency by ensuring that agent information is updated regularly and to coordinate an agent’s license date with their CE due date. They are also designed to identify license applicants with criminal histories outside of Virginia.
“One of the Bureau’s top priorities is making the insurance licensing process as uniform as possible with national regulatory standards,” said Bureau Agent Licensing Manager Richard Tozer. “Implementing license renewal, aligning CE with the license renewal date, and fingerprinting will ensure we will meet that goal.”
Insurance agents will be able to complete the license renewal process online in conjunction with their CE requirements 90 days prior to their license expiration date.
Going forward, if an agent fails to complete their license renewal and/or CE requirements by their license renewal date, they will have a 12-month period in which to seek reinstatement of their license rather than having to retake the license examination or be fingerprinted.
Under the new licensing process, the first agent renewals will be due beginning in February 2022, with the remaining agent license renewals taking place over the next 24 months. The bureau anticipates an average of 14,000 license renewals each month.
Beginning in 2021, insurance agencies will renew their licenses by May 1 of each odd year.
The bureau has worked closely with the Virginia Insurance Continuing Education Board to coordinate implementation of the new processes for CE requirements.
“This has been an incredibly complex project and the bureau truly appreciates the amount of input provided by industry stakeholders,” said Deputy Commissioner Mike Beavers of the bureau’s Agent Regulation Division.
Source: Virginia State Corporation Commission
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