Insurance Education Terminology


Insurance Basics & Continued Education Terminology

To me, the best part of life is our ability to communicate and learn from our everyday interactions.  Since language is the keystone of conversation, I’m going to elaborate on terminology whenever possible.  


As professional liaisons, we’re expected to communicate clearly and educate the consumers we encounter.  Clear communication protects the integrity of our marketplace and helps prevent un-intentional – Yet punishable, violations.


Although all licensees are required to complete either forty (40), sixty (60) or two hundred (200) hours of pre-licensing studies prior to taking the state insurance licensing exam, many licensees aren’t familiar with continuing education basics like how to identify Authorized insurance education providers.  

  • Unauthorized Education Providers

Licensees who attempt to satisfy their continued education requirements with either an un-approved course or un-authorized insurance education provider won’t face administrative or criminal penalties.  


These individuals could however, waste valuable time, loose the money invested in the course(s), and ultimately loose their license for failing to comply w/ minimum continued education requirements.  


With all seriousness, if a licensee lost their license for not completing their CE requirements, they deserved to loose their license for being grossly irresponsible and having an incredibly poor attention to detail.

Despite whether you’re a new licensee doing continued education for the first time or a seasoned industry expert with a wealth of industry knowledge, you were probably referred to us by a colleague and didn’t seek us out on the department website.  My point, your exposure to Authorized insurance education providers is minimal, making the following terminology incredibly relevant.  


Unit (1) One:  Insurance Education Terminology


  • AdvertisingIf a message is being conveyed your communicating.  If the intention of your communication is to capture the attention of a consumer and ultimately create an interaction, it’s deemed an advertisement.  

If it pertains to the business of insurance, the Florida Insurance Code doesen’t care if your message is delivered via mental telapathy, carrier pigeons or social media.  Litterally every method of conveying a message you can imagine is required to comply with DFS advertising guidelines – No method of communication is exempt.


  • Approved/Authorized: Approval may only come from the Department once they have determined the provider, course, school official, supervising instructor, instructor, or course offering has met all the mandatory criteria.  Only then are providers authorized and therefore allowed to engage in the business of being an Insurance Education Provider


  • Audit:  When utilized in an Insurance Education conversation an audit referrs to the Departments ability to monitor or evaluate classroom, seminar, webcast, interactive online, and correspondence courses, examination sites, administrative offices, and provider and licensee records.


  • Blended Course:  The “BLEND” insinuates  a combination of course styles to satisfy education requirements, for instance the blend of course styles may consist of a classroom and self-study correspondence or classroom and self-study online study methods.  Although correspondence and online courses are similar they are catagorized differently which is why it was worth distinguishing between the two.


  • Classroom course:  A course designed to be presented to a group of students by a live instructor using lecture, video, webcast, virtual or other audio-video presentation.


  • Completion:
    • Correspondence Course Completion:  No minimum attendence requirement is needed, only a passing grade of 70 percent or better on the final examination.


  • Classroom Course Completion:  Students are required to attend instruction for the full amount of time approved for each course.


  • Seminar Course Completion:  Students are required to attend for the full amount of time assigned for each workshop or break-out session selected.  Students are not obligated to exceed the total hours approved for the course.
  • Certificate of Completion:  Education providers must submit an approved roster (Form DFS-H2-400, Attendance Roster Detail) to the Department no later than 21 days after the completion of a course and issue students a certificate of completion within 30 days of completion.  

This certificate must contain; student name, license number, provider name, provider ID number, course ID number, course offering ID number, course name, instructor name, instructor ID, completion date, certificate award date, a statement certifying the person named on the certificate has successfully completed an insurance course taught in compliance with Department rules, the School Officals signature and the grade the student received on the final exam. 


  • Compliance Date: Referrs to the last day of the licensee’s birth month and begins after the licensee has held an insurance license (which requires continuing education) for 24 consecutive months.


  • Course Authority: Referrs to the category of the content assigned to the specific course.


  • Correspondence Course:  Referrs to a self-study course designed to be presented to students through physical documents or other media.  For example, this five hour Law and ethics course has been delivered to you via-email in three (3) parts; 


  • Part One (1) is the written course content, 


  • Part Two (2)  is the exam,


  • Part Three (3) is an official affidavit stating you are in fact the individual who completed the course.  This document contains basic identifying information and is signed by the student and a wittness. 


  • Course:  Referrs to an education program or training program designed to meet Florida’s continuing education requirement for licensees.  Courses are categorized three (3) different ways; basic, intermediate and advanced courses.

  • Basic Courses:  A Basic course is an introduction to a subject or topic and will typically only deliver information which would help the student better comprehend the general topic.  These studies have a broad focus by nature since they attempt to frame the conversation.  With insurance studies a Basic course offering most likely will address industry concepts, terminology and types of coverage.
  • Intermediate Courses:  An intermediate course is designed to expand on basic knowledge.  This is accomplished by explaining how to practically apply the Basic concepts you’ve already learned into specific client situtations.   Terminology and some “Basic” information will be addressed however, the Department considers this information as nothing more than a “Basic” review therefore no more than 25% of an intermediate course may address “Basic” topics.  

This second-intermediate level learning is typically accomplished by analyzing Florida Insurance Code (Statutes), case studies pertaining to the insurance code and working through problem solving exercises which focus on the behavior expected of a Department licensed professional.


  • Advanced Course:  Advanced courses utilize complex case studies, known calculations and other professional resources specific to performing an analysis in order to spark ideas with the potential to innovate.  These courses address complex issues through analysis of the topic including the underlying subject.  Advanced studies, in-depth analysises and sometimes abstract thinking focused on a topic sparks innovation.      


  • Course Offering: Referrs to approved classroom, seminar course, or a monitored exam of a self-study course.  The course offering includes the specific course location, date(s), and time the course or exam is scheduled to be held. 


  • Education Database (; Referrs to the Department’s online system for activity relating to approval of providers, school officials, courses, course offerings, instructors, and the filing of rosters and other information relating to continuing education courses required by rule or statute to be filed with the Department.


  • Guest Speaker:  A Guest Speaker is an industry relevant professional speaking and sharing with students at an approved seminar, led by an approved instructor.  A Guest Speaker is typically not an instructor nor are they affiliated with the continued education provider however, they are qualified to present information in a classroom setting.


  • Identity Theft (IDT)Identity Theft is a serious crime which occurs when an individuals sensitive personal information is stolen and used by others who impersonate the victim.  Identify theft is most commonly associated with financial matters however, the FTC statistics supports the fact these impersonators (or identity thieves) are just as likely to utilize a victims identity to obtain a job, drivers license, conduct criminal type activities or even receive medical services capable of changing your permanent medical history.
  • Day:  An approved course may be hosted any day of the week including weekends and holidays.


  • Credit Hour:  
    • Instructor Led Course: One approved continued education credit hour must consist of at least 50 minutes of instruction time and ten (10) minutes of personal time (break).


  • Self-study Courses: Since their’s no way to regulate the actual amount of time a student will spend on an independent study type course, the Department outlined curriculim addresses all material necessary for a student to successfully complete a final examination.  For the most part, laws and relevant producer requirements change slowly so licensees typically prefer self study courses over instructor led classroom courses.


  • Calculating Self-Study Course Credit Values:  Take the total number of written words in the course and divide it by 180 (180 represents the average amount of words an adult can read in one minute).  The answer equals the value of words transulated into minutes.  Since every 50 minutes of instruction time is equal to one (1) credit hour to arrive at the course value you then divide the total number of minutes (word count/180) by 50.  Your new total identifies how many one hour credit segments the course offering is worth.


  • For intermediate level classes multiply the number of credit hours by 1.25,


  • For Advanced level classes multiply the number of credit hours by 1.50,


  • NOTE:  No insurance related continued education course shall exceed 24 credit hours.


  • In-house: Pertains to courses or services available only to employees of an entity or members of an association.  The exclusivitity of an “In-house” course is the opposite of a “Public” course which is open to all who qualify and wish to attend.


  • Incomplete Application: Any application which contains errors, omissions and isn’t suitable for submission to the Department of Financial services is deemed incomplete. Applications which require additional information or documentation in order to satisfy Department standards are deemed incomplete. 


  • *When a complete application has been submitted with the initial premium and the client receives a receipt for the agent side of the transaction, is deemed complete.
  • Instructor: An individual registered with the Department who teaches an approved course or training program. Instructor includes supervising instructors for bail bond agent courses.


  • Live:  As with “live tv” or a “live radio broadcast”, a “live course” is one which is being held or broadcasted in real time.  Not taped, filmed, or recorded.


  • Online Course:  A self-study course delivered via the internet or other computer network.


  • Outline (or Syllabus):  Referrs to a synopsis or condensed version of a course incorporating the main ideas, and listing the major sections, topics, and sub-topics to be discussed, showing the schedule of how a continuing education course is to be presented, including time allotment to subject matter and including break times.  *The Department requires all course outlines to be in a Three (3) tiered format. 


  • Present (or in attendance)Referrs to an attendance requirement and  means the student appeared/attended the course either in person, or by live connection through web-hosted means.


  • It is important to note; Sleeping, reading non-course related material, using a cellular phone or other electronics for a purpose other than taking notes and leaving the clas for reasons other than a scheduled break or emergency deems the student “inattentive” and therefore is a a violation of Rule 69B-228.060.  


  • Consequently, if a student is deemed to be inattentive or disrupts class, the instructor has the authority to “Expell” the student from the class and withold continued education credit.


  • Provider: A provider may also at times refer to an insurer however for the purpose of sections one’s discussion on Insurance Education Providers, the term refers to the idividual, partnership, organization, association, corporation, or entity which has been approved/authorized by the Department of Financial Services to offer and conduct educational insurance training courses.


  • Provider Records:  Our studies will show the amount of information education providers are required to arichive is extensive and include; any document relating to course approval, course offerings, attendance records, course completion records, credits, course offering advertisements, instructor and guest speaker qualifications, in addition to any other record(s) required but not mentioned above.
  • Provider records must be archived for five (5) years and be furnished to the Department within 30 days of a records audit.  Only records identified by Florida Insurance Code must be archived.


  • *Records = Microfilm, computer memory, images or any other method of retaining infomration.


  • Public: When being used in the context of a continued education course, the word “Public” means the course being offered is available to any/every person who wishes to participate.


  • In-house courses are only available to employees or members of an association are the opposite of Public courses, which are open/accessable to all who qualify.


  • Insurance Association: An individual agent, adjuster association, insurance-related trade association, business entity authorized to conduct the business of insurance and unlicensed insurance-related professional societies, whether or not incorporated.  


Insurance Associations have; 

  • Officers and a board of directors elected by the membership;


  • By-laws that establish requirements for membership;


  • Meeting schedules;


  • An agenda with an insurance-related purpose; and,


  • At least ten actively enrolled members.


  • School Official:  To draw a comparison to the average business, a School Official is like a General Manager or “Agent in Charge”.  These management type positions are responsible for the actions of the people woking on behalf of the employer or provider.  As with an “Agent in Charge” of an insurance agency, the School Official is subject to administrative action from the Department for violations of the insurance code.


  • Self-Study: A term used to describe correspondence and/or online hosted course(s).
  • Virtual Classroom Course:  A type of web-based classroom environment which allows students to attend from anywhere with internet access, provided they have a computer capable of supporting the course’s broadcast requirements.  

Virtual classroom broadcast deliver pre-recorded course content, which like a coorespondence course, allows students to learn and progress at a pace they’re personally comfortable with.  Virtual classrooms eliminate the need for brick and motar schools and classroom schedules by connecting students in multiple locations to pre-recorded instructor led content.  


  • Webcast Classroom Course:  A type of classroom course delivered through interaction with a live (Not recorded) instructor via the internet.