IMPORTANT INFORMATION - PLEASE READ IMMEDIATELY
State Government Shutdown Likely
The state legislature adjourned May 23, 2011 without reaching an agreement on the state's biennial budget creating the possibility of a state government shutdown beginning July 1. While negotiations are ongoing between the governor and legislative leaders, I am not optimistic that a global budget agreement will be reached in time to avoid a shutdown. Hence, current state government operations not deemed to be critical i.e. prisons, state hospitals, and the state patrol, will be closed.
In the past, state government shutdowns have lasted only a few days. The governor and legislature were able to quickly reach an agreement and pass a budget during a special legislative session ending the shutdown. However, this time around, both sides seem to be dug in and a shutdown could go on for weeks instead of days.
Most Department of Commerce Services Not Essential
Most Minnesotans will feel the effects of the shutdown through the closing of state parks, rest areas and driver and vehicle service centers. Agents will also be affected by the closing of many Commerce Department functions. Effective July 1, the Department of Commerce will no longer accept or process initial license applications, name or address changes, letters of certification, or rate filings. All the processes which require some form of paper or electronic transaction will be halted.
Existing agent license renewals should not be affected since we are in the middle of the process of changing to birth month renewals. Since all October 2010 renewals were given licenses for at least 13 months, no renewals are up this summer. The next round of the process will occur in October, 2011 for the remaining birth month license date conversions.
Online licensing services and website access including those via Sircon will be curtailed. Also, there will be no one at the Department present to respond to inquiries.
For an updated description of government services, bulletins and announcements during the shutdown, check out the following website www.BeReadyMN.com
Ruble Graduate Seminars Not Company Sponsored
The MIIAB was able to change state law during the legislative session to allow the National Alliance Ruble Graduate Seminar courses to be once again offered as non-company courses. Previously a department of commerce interpretation of producer licensing opined that courses that restricted access and are not open to all producers must be considered company sponsored.
MIIAB changed the state producer licensing laws to allow for approved courses leading to a professional designation, i.e. CIC, CPCU,CLU,LUTCF, ARM, etc, to limit course attendance. Courses may be limited to those producers who have met prerequisites such as candidacy for the designation or sequential coursework for designation maintenance. Such coursework leading to achievement or maintenance of a professional designation shall not be considered company sponsored (unless directly offered by an insurance company).
The change in state law will be effective August 1, 2011. The upcoming September Ruble Graduate Seminar course will fall under the new law and will be considered a non-company sponsored course. This removes this coursework from the current course hour limitations the state places on company sponsored programs.
Dominic J. Sposeto