The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations (ADIR) requires all workers’ compensation adjusters to complete 8 hours of Continuing Education (CE) per calendar year. The hours must be completed in person within the borders of Alabama. Medical only adjusters are exempt from this requirement. In addition to the CE requirements imposed by the ADIR, depending on whether or not the adjuster is handling claims for a private insurer, a self insured entity, or handling claims as an independent adjuster, he or she may also have to satisfy the licensing requirements of the Alabama Department of Insurance (ADOI).
A salaried employee of an insurer who adjusts only claims for that insurer (“company adjuster”) does not have to be licensed by the ADOI. Company adjusters are not required to have a license to adjust claims of any sort for their employing insurers. This is the case under existing law and the new scheme that becomes effective January 1, 2012. An adjuster that handles workers’ compensation claims for self-insured plans is also exempt from the ADOI’s licensing requirements. However, an independent adjuster who handles only workers’ compensation claims must be licensed through the ADOI.
Beginning in 2012, the ADOI will phase in a 2-year licensing cycle, based on the adjuster's birth month. All licensed adjusters will have to complete 24 hours of CE units during their 2-year license term. The phase-in will work as follows:
(a) All currently licensed adjusters will renew by December 31, 2011 with the renewed license being effective January 1, 2012. CE completion is not an issue since there is no CE requirement for adjusters under current law. Due to system limitations, the licenses will probably display December 12, 2013 as the expiration date. That will be incorrect for many licensees (except those born in December in an odd-year) due to phase-in of the birth month and CE requirements. The correct expiration dates will be made available when the system is brought into line sometime next year.
(b) An adjuster born in an odd-year will next renew in his/her birth month in 2013. This class of adjusters is not required to complete CE for the period between January 1, 2012 and renewal in 2013. The CE requirement kicks in upon renewal in 2013 going forward.
(c) An adjuster born in an even-year will next renew in his/her birth month in 2014. Adjusters in this class must have completed 24 hours of CE, including 3 hours in ethics, by the time of renewal in 2014. The CE requirement continues going forward.
The ADOI has not made any determination as to whether the 8 hours of CE required by the ADIR can be applied toward the adjuster’s 24 hours of required CE. Satisfaction of an adjuster’s home licensing state’s requirement will relieve an adjuster from his or her duty to complete the ADOI’s CE requirement (if the home state reciprocates and gives credit to Alabama residents on the same basis).
Unlike the 8 hours required for workers’ compensation adjusters, any CE unit that is required by the ADOI does not have to be physically completed in Alabama. However, the CE provider and its courses must be approved by the ADOI.