Date:July 15, 2009 (Revised August 14, 2009)
To:All Insurers and Agents
From:Sean Dilweg, Commissioner of Insurance
Subject:Regarding Promulgation of Rules Effective September 1, 2009, and Approval of Statutory Authority Relating to Licensing, Prelicensing and Continuing Education for Insurance Agents

These changes to the agent licensing requirements are to conform to the NAIC model requirements for licensing and regulation of insurance agents. Three new lines of authority, variable life/variable annuity, crop, and surety are created to bring Wisconsin in conformance with the lines in the NAIC model. For the variable line, there will be a 6-month transition period where an agent can solicit under either the current licensing requirements or the new ones. After that period, the agent would only be able to solicit under the new requirements.

These changes will now allow online, self-study and correspondence course credits to satisfy the existing prelicensing education requirements. The changes also include requiring that agents applying for a resident license submit fingerprint identification for crime checks.

Another change is to raise the agent application and renewal fees as well as the annual company appointment fees.

This bulletin contains a summary of repealing, renumbering, amending, and creating rules relating to Chapters Ins 2, 5, 6, 26 and 28, Wis. Adm. Code, and fee increases included in 2009 Wisconsin Act 28.

Section 3135. 601.31 (1) (n), Wis. Stat.

Fees associated with appointing or renewing the appointment of an agent under s. 628.11, Wis. Stat., were increased from $7 to $16 annually for resident agents and from $24 to $50 annually for nonresident agents. The new fees are effective for all transactions completed since the last company appointment billing.

Ins 2.13 (12)

Beginning April 1, 2010, agents selling variable life and annuity contracts will be required to hold a variable life/variable annuity line of authority. Agents will need to hold a life line of authority and provide verification of required registration by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) registered for Series 6 or Series 7.

Ins 6.50 (2) (a) 6

This section creates the definitions of variable life and annuity products license.

Ins 6.50 (2) (b) 7

This section creates definitions of crop and surety insurance license.

Ins 6.57 (3), (5) and (6)

The change permits the Commissioner to prescribe the payment type for the annual appointment fees charged to insurers and replaces the word "listing" with the word "appointment" in order to conform to the national standards.

Ins 6.58 (5) (a) and (b)

This section changes the biennial renewal fees for resident firms to $35 and for nonresident firms to $70.

Ins 6.59 (2) and (3)

The change states that examinations are not required for the variable life/variable annuity, crop or surety lines of authority.

The application fee schedule is changed to $75 per line of authority.

Ins 6.59 (4) (a)

This section adds the requirement that agents submit fingerprints in order to conduct a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history check as part of the application process for agents applying for a resident license.

Fingerprinting will be required of all new resident applicants, however, may not be implemented as of the effective date of the rule to accommodate necessary software changes. Fingerprints will be scanned at the test center at the time of examination and sent to the FBI electronically. The completed reports will be valid for a period of 180 days. OCI will continue to require a separate electronic Wisconsin Crime Information Bureau (CIB) check. The cost of fingerprinting is $34.25. The fee for the separate CIB check remains at $18. The total cost of $52.25 will be collected at the time of exam reservation.

Ins 6.59 (4) (an)

This section sets out the requirements for the variable life/variable annuity line of authority. A completed application consists of a completed form OCI 11-041R giving the current address for the residence of the applicant; the current mailing address for the applicant; payment of the fees; any documentation required in answer to questions on the application; and verification of required registration by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) registered for Series 6 or Series 7.

Ins 6.59 (4) (ap)

This section sets out the requirements for the limited lines of crop and surety. A completed application consists of a completed form OCI 11-041R giving the current address for the residence of the applicant; the current mailing address for the applicant; payment of the fees; and any documentation required in answer to questions on the application.

Persons holding a valid Property and Casualty license will not be required to add the limited crop and/or surety qualifications, as they are already included in those major lines. Crop falls specifically under the Property qualification, and Surety is included under Casualty.

Ins 6.59 (4) (b) and (c)

The change permits applicants to schedule examinations one business day prior to the examination date and states that examination scores are valid for 30 days. An applicant will be required to repeat the examination if the application is not submitted within 30 days.

Ins 6.63

This section changes the biennial renewal fees to $35 for resident individual agents and $70 for nonresident individual agents. It also sets out the fees for agents whose licenses have been revoked.

Ins 26

Various changes have been made to permit self-study, correspondence and online prelicensing courses. Prelicensing course providers will be required to pay the same course approval fees as currently paid by continuing education providers, and are subject to requirements of the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board if required by s. 38.50, Wis. Stat. Prelicensing instructor approval qualifications have been expanded to include certain professional designations.

Ins 28

Various changes have been made to conform to national standards for continuing education courses. Providers advertising courses before approval is received are required to include a notice that the course is pending approval.

Agents will no longer be able to claim credit for prelicensing education currently approved as continuing education toward their requirements for original licensure. They may receive credit only if they are adding qualifications to an existing license and the provider and course has been approved for continuing education credit.

Further information will be available on the Agent Licensing Page of the OCI Web site (http://oci.wi.gov/agentlic.htm) as it becomes available. Questions can be addressed to the Agent Licensing e-mail address: ociagentlicensing@wisconsin.gov.