If you already have your professional license we congratulate you, but we want to make sure you don’t rest on your laurels. We encourage you to cross train and continue to diversify your career to take advantage of income opportunities that exist within arms reach.
What we mean when we say ‘cross train your career’ is that you should look for opportunities to get licensed in other industries that will complement your chosen industry. This will give you a unique skill set and an edge up on the competition.
Here’s an example:
If you have your real estate license, you may want to consider also getting some of these other licenses:
- A Mortgage Loan Originators license will enable you to push your client’s loans through the underwriting process, closing sales more efficiently, which is a benefit to both you and your clients.
- Your Home Appraiser license will enable you to better educate your clients on the value of their own properties, as well as the properties they are looking to purchase.
- Your Home Inspection license so you can keep your clients informed on what to look out for during inspection, and teach them how to best prepare their properties for sale.
- Your Property Insurance license to help insure your client’s new property once it’s sold.
Many of our industries and licenses are tied closely together – real estate, construction, insurance, home inspection, appraisal, mortgage broker, and others. We can help you start a diversified career where your unique skills will take your business to the next level.
Most of our classes are offered both on location and online. Review our entire course catalogue to see what other courses are suited for you: http://www.goldcoastschools.com/brochures.cfm.
Or call our Career Counselors at 1-800-732-9140 to discuss your career options today.
Do you have questions about becoming an Insurance Agent?
Last week we posted information on our blog addressing different career opportunities in the insurance industry and following that we received many questions related to what we offer here at Gold Coast Schools.
We decided to put together a Q & A featuring our most frequently asked questions and hopefully this will help you determine your options:
Q: What is the income potential if I become an insurance agent?
A: Great question, and a very important one if you are thinking about starting a new career. Insurance Agents in the South Florida market earn on average slightly over $42,000 per year. Keep in mind that averages are factoring in those that only sell insurance part time and thus generate very low income, as well as those that are elite performers and earn over $100,000 per year. The key to generating income in the insurance industry is to get your license and work hard to build a loyal customer base.
Q: What happens if I don’t pass the license exam?
A: You will pass the exam! Gold Coast Schools has been teaching insurance courses for over 40 years, and nearly every student is nervous about the exam before starting class. Upon completion of the course, you will be confident and well prepared for success both on the exam and in your career.
Q: How do I know what type of insurance I want to get a license for?
A: The get a good answer to this question you need to talk to the people that are in the industry. Our Career Counselors will be more than happy to talk with you and make recommendations based upon your goals. They can be reached at 1-800-732-9140.
Q: How long will it take to get my license?
A: Most of our courses can be completed within a month, and some in as little as a week. It all depends upon the license you are pursuing. Regardless, a new career that yields significant income potential is closer than you might have thought.
If you are interested in selling insurance, this blog post will be especially helpful for you. We are going to go over some of the steps to get started in the insurance business, talk about some of the career paths you can explore within the insurance industry, and give details on some of the most popular insurance classes Gold Coast Schools offers.
Insurance is a professional industry that allows you to be in control of your own future. As an insurance agent, you will be responsible for helping individuals, families, and businesses select insurance policies to protect their health, lives, and property. Typically, agents sell one or more types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, disability, and long term care insurance.
Gold Coast is here to help you through each of the following 7 steps towards getting your insurance career started:
- Register for your pre-license class.
- Fill out an online application with the Department of Financial Services
- Register for electronic fingerprinting.
- After completing and passing your pre-license course, Gold Coast Schools will report your passing grade to the Department.
- The Department will send you a confirmation 2-3 weeks after your application, fees, fingerprints, and course certificate.
- Schedule your state exam.
- Your license is issued upon passing the exam.
One of the best things about launching your career in insurance is that the entire licensing process can be completed in less then 2 months. This enables you to start working in this field almost immediately.
There are several licenses to choose from depending on the type of insurance product you are interested in selling. The two most popular licenses that will allow you to sell a wide range of insurance products are:
Life, Health, & Variable Annuity (2-15)
This license allows you to sell some of the most in demand insurance coverages including Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Medicare Supplement, HMO, Home Health Care, Managed Care, and Long Term Care policies.
This course includes the required State Study Manual, the Department approved 40-hour course, unlimited attendance for up to 12 months and helpful flash cards used for studying on the go. If you want to register for the full service course, you will also receive a one-day Exam Prep class, and our 875 multiple-choice Q&A manual.
General Lines: Property and Casualty (2-20)
This is the 200-hour Qualification Course for General Lines Insurance Agents and includes the General Lines Agent’s State Study Manual, our Q&A study manual, flash cards used for a quick review of course material, and the 3-Day “Super-Cram” Exam Prep class that will put you over the top in you preparation for the state exam. All classes can be attended up to 12 months at no additional cost.
If you want to narrow your focus, you can also get licensed to sell individual coverages such as “Life Only” and “Health Only”.
Once you get your initial license, Gold Coast Schools offers several classes for continuing education to help you maintain your license and expand your career.
According to a new report by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, sinkholes are a growing problem in Florida. Claims regarding sinkholes are growing in frequency, and sinkholes are become problems in areas where they previously were absent. Sinkholes are even being tauted as the reason for some home insurance rate hikes.
Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty stated that “the evidence is overwhelming” with regard increasing costs relating to sinkhole claims. The question becomes what can be done? McCarty is suggesting creating a state insurance program for sinkholes with potential costs for investigation and/or repair being absorbed.
Not all sinkholes are the same, although costs based on sinkhole type are not vastly different. For example, subsidence sinkholes “form gradually where the overlying top layer of soil is thin. They appear as a concave depression in the ground” and account for approximately 57% of sinkholes in Southern Florida. Collapse sinkholes, on the other hand, “form in areas where the overlying top layer of soil is quite thick. While it may appear sturdy, the reality is that below, there is not much stability; the underlying limestone has been carved hollow by water.” Collapse sinkholes account for less than 2% of Florida sinkholes. Both subsidence and collapse sinkholes have average claim values between $140,000 and $150,000.
Claims for sinkholes have tripled from 2006 to 2009 with costs increasing from $209 million to $406 million. 66% of claims have been filed in what has been dubbed the “sinkhole belt”: Hernando, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties.
Whether sinkholes are on the rise, or the message is just becoming more public, one thing is clear: sinkholes claims are paying out; and sinkhole claims will continue to grow. That means an increase in expense for Floridian home policy owners.
The American Medical Association responded to the proposed “Regulation for Uniform Definitions and Standardized Rebate Calculation Methodology for Plan Years 2011, 2012 and 2013 Per Section 2718 (b) of the Public Health Service Act” issued by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners last week. The AMA response was supportive of the NAIC goal to further transparency in the health insurance and medical loss ratio areas. The AMA states,
“We support the medical loss ratio draft regulation adopted by the B Committee on October 14, 2010. We urge you to not change this adopted version, which reflects significant compromise and process. Moreover, we oppose amendments supporting national aggregation, inclusion of broker and agent fees in the loss ratio and increasing the confidence interval to 80 percent.” (http://www.naic.org/documents/committees_b_mlr_reg_101014_combined_comments.pdf)
Further, the AMA has concerns specifically about three issues. First, the AMA opposes increasing the confidence interval from 50 to 80 percent. The AMA believes that the increase will actually reduce the incentive for insurers to price below the 80 percent level. Retaining the 50 percent level would help insurers strive towards a higher efficiency, promoting a system of more fair and consistent pricing.
Next, the AMA emphasized the importance of retaining a state level aggregation. The AMA believes that program functioning at the state level is functioning well and will be interrupted if a national aggregation program is put into effect. Companies that are currently national are already employing strategies to maintain their state level aggregation, and will be interrupted if they need to change over to a national aggregation. Additionally, consumers will face delays in receiving rebates if the national aggregation program is adopted.
The final point made by the AMA is their opposition to excluding broker fees and commissions from the earned premium calculation. Current law does not allow for inclusion of the fees. The AMA feels that the consumers will be the ones to absorb the costs of fees and commissions which could be added to the premium costs. The AMA believes that these premium increases would be significant for consumers.
Florida is being heaped with praise this week for its superior attention to insurance regulation. The National Association of Insurance Commissioner President Jane Cline presented the Esprit de Corps Award to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty stating, “The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation continues to distinguish itself in the U.S. and abroad; Commissioner McCarty and his staff have been at the forefront of international insurance supervision and it is my pleasure to honor them here today.” Te award was established in 2006 in recognition of outstanding service to the NAIC by an insurance department. Esprit de Corps means “a common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm and devotion to a cause among the members of a group.”
Another distinguished honor goes to Commissioner Kevin McCarty who was announced to be the NAIC President-Elect for 2011. The Ohio Director of Insurance, Mary Jo Hudson, originally nominated Commissioner McCarty who served as Vice President of the NAIC during 2010. Assuming all continues as planned, Commissioner McCarty will ascend to the presidential position on January 1, 2012. The new officer lineup beginning on January 1 2011 includes: Susan Voss (Iowa Commissioner), Kim Holland as Vice President (Oklahoma Commissioner), and James Donelon as Secretary-Treasurer (Louisiana Commissioner).
Gold Coast would like to congratulate Commissioner McCarty for his outstanding achievement in Florida, and anticipates positive outcomes nationally from his increased influence!
The medical malpractice insurance market in Florida is strong and stable according to Commissioner Kevin McCarty. McCarty states, “Florida’s marketplace remains competitive relative to other large states, which is encouraging news for doctors and hospitals.” The statement reflects information regarding the medical malpractice insurance industry based on the 2010 annual report released by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation earlier this month.
2009 brought the addition or expansion of ten medical professional liability insurance carriers, which proved to be good news for medical practitioners. Two carriers who had been providing medical malpractice insurances discontinued writing those policies, for a net gain of eight companies writing malpractice policies. According to the report, on average for those filing a change, rates for malpractice insurance dropped by 8.2% for physicians and surgeons and 10.8% for approved medical professional liability.
Not all groups of practitioners decreased, however. Chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists saw increases of up to 0.5% while dentists and professional nurses remained steady after large hikes in 2008.
When compared to other large states the report finds:
- Florida is the fifth largest market as measured by direct premium written,
- Florida ranks sixth among the ten most populous states when measured by losses incurred to earned premium (31.7%).
Additionally, for the 22 firms comprising 80% of the market:
- Medical Malpractice is not generally the only line of business written,
- Florida is generally one of their top five markets,
- Their loss and expense ratios in Florida, while varied across companies, are in line with what they experienced in their other major markets,
- The premium weighted effective average return on surplus was 6.6% in 2009, down from 9.5% in 2008, from 11.0% in 2007 and from 19.7% in 2006,
- Solvency risk, as measured several ways, does not appear to be a critical issue with these sample firms, and these firms have shown favorable reserve development in 2009 for the fourth year in a row, reversing a previous trend of adverse reserve development.
For more information regarding the report, visit:
Florida is experiencing a delay in foreclosure sales, throwing off the entire mortgage and real estate market. Attorney General Bill McCollum has joined other states in investigating fraudulent foreclosure practices. The Attorney General sent letters to major mortgagers requesting meetings to conference about re-establishing the integrity of the foreclosure process.
In the letters, addressed to Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC, PNC Financial Group and Litton Loan Servicing, McCollum states that he is distressed to learn that these companies may have been involved in filing faulty affidavits in Florida courts regarding the knowledge of ownership and promissory notes in foreclosure cases by the affiant. These actions have led to refusals by title companies to write title insurance for questionable titles, leading to delays and disturbances in not just these specific cases, but the entire Florida economy. The Attorney General additionally expresses disapproval of the mortgage moratoria and litigation, stating that it, too will compound the economic hardship of the state.
Attorney General McCollum goes on to request a meeting with key players in order to try to find a way to solve the problems that is creating a “linchpin” in the Florida real estate and mortgage market.
It is clear that the oversight caused by the lax attention to the details necessary in transacting real estate are unforgivable, and require serious attention. Pressures to process and review original documentation can become overwhelming during months when representatives of these companies are processing 8,000 to 10,000 affidavits a month. However, the protocols are in place for a reason, and the backlog that has been caused by bypassing necessary steps will not be easily overcome. To view a copy of the letter from Attorney General McCollum please visit:
On September 30th, President Obama signed a bill extending the National Flood Insurance Program for another year. Real estate, insurance, and adjuster organizations have been lobbying for the extension since the program lapsed earlier this year. The efforts of interested organizations did not go unrecognized as the September 30th deadline approached. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by the Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), a subsidiary of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was approved first in the Senate on September 21st, then in Congress on September 23rd, before reaching the President’s desk for the September 30th signature.
The NFIP has three components including Flood Insurance, Floodplain Management, and Flood Hazard Mapping, as described in an earlier blog. 20,000 communities rely on and participate in NFIP through careful consideration to floodplain management. Floodplain management leads to a reduction of approximately a billion dollars worth of damage annually. Building codes aimed toward meeting NFIP standards lead to a reduction in 80% of flood damage.
The NFIP has gone through a series of short term extensions leading to industry confusion regarding flood insurance. The current year long extension alleviates some of that confusion by bringing some certainty to the longevity of the program. The extension also gives lobbyists a heartier platform on which to stand while looking at more comprehensive reform measures to ensure that the NFIP has a sound financial footing for five years or more. For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program please visit:
Florida has joined the states questioning the Constitutionality of the ObamaCare Insurance Mandate. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court debated whether Proposition C should be restored. Proposition C is a ballot measure that would prohibit the government from penalizing people who do not carry health insurance, requiring them to get insured.
The referendum was approved by the Florida legislature as a ballot issue in April. In July, however, it was removed from the ballot by a lower court due to concerns that it was misleading and could confuse voters. Assuming it is restored to the ballot, a majority of 60% of Florida voters will need to approve Proposition C in order to block the Federal Insurance Mandate.
One goal of the federal mandate is to keep insurance premium rates down by requiring healthy people to carry health insurance, offsetting the provisions prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people in high risk categories or those with preexisting conditions. However there are a growing number of states that are contending that the regulation is unconstitutional and a dozen states have already filed Federal lawsuits.
Several state legislatures including Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, and Virginia have already passed statutes countermanding the mandate. Florida may be joining the ranks of Arizona and Oklahoma in making the mandate a ballot issue for November. In the mean time, the State and Federal Courts will continue to debate whether health insurance coverage is an issue that should be determined by the government, or by the individual
Mortgage Loan Originators:
You must complete your 8 hours of continuing education by December 31st, 2011. Don't hesitate as there is no grace period and failing to complete your CE on time will result in the loss of your license.
Real Estate: Foundations for Success:
The Foundations for Success is a program designed to jumpstart your Real Estate career in under 30 days. It can take years to acquire the experience of top performing agents if you go at it on your own. In this program, instructor Rick Burch will share his more than 25 years of experience in the real estate industry to teach you how to market, list, and sell properties fast and generate commissions.