Continuing Education Guidelines Q&A

The new        Continuing Education (CE) Guidelines will come into effect for all Insurance Council licensees starting June 1, 2021. 

To help licensees understand the guideline requirements and how they apply, we've put together a list of questions and answers about the new Continuing Education Guidelines. Don't see your questions answered here?  You can reach out to our Practice and Quality Assurance Team directly at practice@insurancecouncilofbc.com.


Q&A Topics

Record-keeping/Reporting

How and when do I submit my CE credits to Insurance Council?

You do not need to submit CE certificates to the Insurance Council annually, but you must keep a record of your CE for five licence periods (from June 1-May 31 for five years). If you are subject to a CE audit, you will be asked to provide course completion certificates at that time.

The Insurance Council is currently working to develop an online CE recording tool to help licensees track their completed CE. More information will be available in late summer.

Course Eligibility

How do I know if the course I’m taking is eligible for CE credits?

At present, the Insurance Council does not accredit or approve CE courses. Licensees should review the Insurance Council’s technical content requirement in the CE Guidelines for their class of licence to determine if a course meets the criteria for acceptable CE. Licensees should assess the course content (e.g., review course objectives, learning outcomes) to ensure the course aligns with the requirements. If you continue to have questions about whether a course qualifies under the CE requirements, please contact the Practice & Quality Assurance team

To create more clarity about which courses are eligible for CE credit, the Insurance Council will be introducing an accreditation system for CE courses and course providers. This program is still in development.


What type of course delivery/event is considered  acceptable for CE credit?

CE Courses may be online, in-person, or blended. Attending industry conferences, symposiums, and university courses may be eligible for CE if they meet Insurance Council’s technical requirements. 


What type of CE courses do not qualify for CE credits?

Continuing education courses that do not contribute to fulfilling knowledge to remain competent in the insurance industry will not be given credit toward meeting the Insurance Council’s continuing education program. Credit toward the continuing education requirement will not be granted if the course content primarily involves:

  • Marketing or sales techniques;

  • Service;

  • Training on how to use computer programs;

  • Self-improvement or self-help; or

  • Non-insurance products, such as securities and mutual funds.

Please contact the Practice & Quality Assurance team if you have questions about whether a course would qualify for CE credits.

For questions about specific scenarios and CE credit eligibility, please see the Does it Count for CE Credit? section.

Course Length/Calculating CE Credts

What is the minimum length of time for a course to qualify for credits under the CE Guidelines?

A course must include at least 15 minutes of instruction to qualify for a minimum of 0.25 credits.
 

How do partial credits count for courses that are less than an hour?

One hour of instruction is equal to one hour of CE credit. Breaks are excluded, and you must attend the complete course or seminar. The course length to CE credit equivalent is as follows:

  • 15 minutes of instruction equals to 0.25 credits.

  • 30 minutes of instruction equals to 0.5 credits.

  • 45 minutes of instruction equals to 0.75 credits.

Partial credits for courses more than one hour in length continue to be accepted in 15-minute increments. For example, a course that includes an hour and 15 minutes of instruction equates to 1.25 credits and a course that includes 2.5 hours of instruction equates to 2.5 credits.


I completed a course that includes 40 minutes of instruction. How many credits will I earn?

You would earn 0.5 credits. For courses that fall outside of the 15-minute increments, credit amount would be rounded down to the nearest 15-minute increment. For example, if a course is 20 minutes in duration, you would earn 0.25 credits.


I took a course from February to May 2021 but will not be completing the final exam till July 2021. Will my course count for CE credits towards the 2021 licence period or the 2022 licence period which starts in June?

If you pass the course in July 2021, the credits would count towards the 2022 licence period (June 2021-May 2022). Where a course involves an exam, you must successfully complete the course and pass the exam to obtain CE credits. The date on which you successfully complete the exam will determine the licence period that the credits would count towards.  
 

Carrying Over Credits

How many credits can I carry over to the next filing period?

Starting June 1, 2021, credits you earn can be carried over to the next licence period up to a maximum of one licence period’s worth of CE credits. This means if you are a life and/or A&S agent, you can carry over up to 15 credits and if you are a general insurance salesperson, agent, or adjuster, you can carry over up to 8 credits to the next licence period.

Example Scenario:

Chang is required to complete 15 credits as a life insurance agent for her 2022 licence period (between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022). During this licence period, she completed 20 credits. 

Chang can carry over five credits to the 2023 licence period as she completed five credits more than is required for her life licence during her 2022 licence period. After applying the carry-over credits, she still needs to complete 10 CE credits in order to meet the CE requirements for the 2023 licence period.
 

I have completed more credits than I need to meet my CE requirements for the 2021 licence period. Can I carry over these credits to the 2022 licence period?

The Insurance Council’s new CE guidelines come into effect on June 1, 2021. Credits from courses taken prior to this date cannot be carried over into the 2022 licence period. However, excess credits completed from June 1, 2021, onward may be carried forward to the next licence period. 

Repeating Courses

Do I get credit if I take the same course more than once?

You may only claim CE credits for a course once within three licence periods unless the course content has changed substantially enough to warrant retaking it.

The purpose of CE is to enhance the licensee's insurance knowledge and to remain up-to-date in the insurance industry. For a course to qualify for CE credits, you must gain new knowledge through the completed course, or the course content must have changed substantially since the first time the course was completed.
 

What constitutes substantial course changes according to the Insurance Council?

Substantial course changes include major changes in the course content (e.g., new material has been added or revised, course objectives, shift in topic focus).

Changes in instructor or course modality (e.g., in-person to webinar) do not constitute substantive changes and will not be considered for CE credit if the course has already been taken in the last three licence periods.

If you are audited by the Insurance Council, you would be asked to demonstrate how the content fundamentally changed each time it was taken to determine whether credits would be granted more than once.

Exemptions/Waivers

I obtained my licence between March 1 and May 31, 2021. Am I required to complete CE for the 2021 licence period?

No, if your licence is issued between March 1 and May 31, 2021, you are not required to complete CE credits for any of the three remaining months of the 2021 licence period. Beginning June 1, 2021, you will be required to complete CE specific to your licence class.
 

I obtained my licence between March 1 and May 31, 2021. How many credits am I required to complete for my first annual filing by May 31, 2022?

The first annual filing for new licensees who obtain an insurance licence between March 1 and May 31, 2021 is May 31, 2022. If you are a life and/or accident and sickness insurance agent, you are required to complete 15 credits between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022. If you are a general insurance agent, salesperson, or adjusters, you are required to complete 8 credits between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022.
 

I have a professional designation and previously qualified for credit reduction. Is there a reduction in the number of CE credits I am required to complete under the new CE guidelines?

No. Starting June 1, 2021, all licensees are required to complete the same number of credits for their class of licence; there are no CE credit reductions in the new guidelines. This means that all general salespersons, agents, or adjusters are required to complete 8 credits annually and all life and/or accident and sickness insurance agents are required to complete 15 credits annually.
 

I previously qualified for a credit reduction based on the number of years I’ve been licensed with the Insurance Council. Is there a reduction in the number of CE Credits I’m required to complete under the new CE guidelines?

No. Starting June 1, 2021, all licensees are required to complete the same number of credits for their class of licence; there are no CE credit reductions in the new guidelines. This means that all general salespersons, agents, and adjusters are required to complete 8 credits annually per licence period (June 1-May 31) and all life and/or accident and sickness insurance agents are required to complete 15 credits annually per licence period.
 

Why are there no longer any credit reductions for licensees who hold certain designations or five or more years of licensed experience?

There were a number of important regulatory factors the Insurance Council considered in eliminating the CE credit reductions. Firstly, eliminating the CE reduction would create harmonization with other provincial jurisdictions, relevant to those registered in multiple jurisdictions. Secondly, because licensees can hold a licence without being active in the industry, a CE credit reduction based on number of years licensed would not adequately support public protection. Furthermore, where professional designations are concerned, since professional associations have varied CE requirements for their designations—and in some cases do not have any—broadly applying a reduction in CE credit requirements is problematic and does not establish a consistent amount of insurance-specific learning for all licensees.

Non-resident licensee

I’m a non-resident licensee. How does the new CE guideline affect licensees who live outside of BC?

Non-resident licensees whose home jurisdiction does not have a mandatory continuing education requirement are required to meet the Insurance Council’s requirements.  Non-resident licensees whose home jurisdiction has a mandatory continuing education requirement are not required to meet Insurance Council’s requirements, provided they are meeting the CE requirements of their home jurisdiction and keep their licence there in good standing. 

Does it Count for CE Credit?

I completed courses before becoming licensed with Insurance Council. Do these courses count towards meeting my CE requirements?

No, only technical courses that meet Insurance Council's CE requirements and are taken after the licence is issued may qualify for CE credits.

If I completed a course but did not pass the exam would I still earn CE credits for completing the course?

No, where a course involves an exam, you must successfully complete the course and pass the exam. As part of your CE records, ensure that you maintain documentation of successful course completion, in the event you are audited by Insurance Council.

My professional designation requires a certain number of courses or hours to be completed to maintain my designation.  Can I use these courses as CE credits towards my insurance licence?

Yes,  if the courses you completed meet the Insurance Council’s technical content requirement. Information on what constitutes technical content can be found in the CE Guidelines.  

I facilitate/develop courses or seminars on insurance, does this count towards CE credits?

No, CE credits are not granted for developing, leading, teaching, or presenting a course or seminar. The spirit of continuing education is for licensees to enhance their insurance knowledge and gain competence. Instructors or facilitators of an insurance course are expected to have subject matter expertise in the content that they teach.