The MDRT, Park Ridge, Ill., is making the new qualification option one of three ways to qualify for membership.

The 84-year-old group strives to be a professional development association for top producers. It has 31,500 members in about 80 nations and territories.

To use the option, a producer must generate $150,000 in 2010 gross income from insurance and financial services products.

A minimum of $43,950 of the total must come from new business generated during the previous year, and $43,950 must be associated with risk-protection products, MDRT says.

Producers now qualify for MDRT membership based on their annual production, as measured by commissions earned or premium generated during the production year. Membership for the current year is based on a minimum of $87,900 in eligible commissions paid or $175,800 in eligible paid premium credited to the agent’s account.

Guy Baker, MDRT’s immediate past president, said in June that the new income option will “provide agents and advisors who no longer are receiving commissions with a way to qualify for membership.”

“The shift to fee-only income is happening in U.K. and Australia,” Baker said. “Given the [recent] congressional debate about applying a fiduciary standard to broker-dealers in the U.S., it could happen here.”

-wh