NU Online News Service, Dec. 17, 2003, 12:47 p.m. EST – Updating the laws and regulations that govern continuing education requirements for insurance agents will be the main agent-related issue facing New York state lawmakers in 2004, says Mark Yavornitzki, executive vice president of the New York State Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Albany, N.Y.[@@]

The New York association is addressing the issue because “we want to speed up approval of licenses outside of New York state,” Yavornitzki says.

Today, New York agents must earn 15 credit hours of approved courses every 2 years. Some other states require 24 credit hours.

The difference hurts efforts to achieve reciprocity with other states for agent license renewals, Yavornitzki says.

Updating continuing education hour requirements is the key to achieving reciprocity, and New York regulators cannot make the change on their own, he adds.

“The requirements regarding credit hours are statutory and have to be done by legislation,” Yavornitzki says.

Yavornitzki praises past efforts by New York lawmakers to eliminate onerous differences in state agent licensing procedures.

He notes that, last summer, New York passed a model producer licensing bill developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

“The model producers bill is a big step in bringing New York into conformity with other states,” Yavornitzki says.