Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) has taken the first step toward updating its qualification criteria, fulfilling a pledge made a year ago by MDRT President John Cruikshank. For the first time, agents will earn membership credits for "nontraditional products"--for example, long-term care, mutual funds, group and individual health insurance, and (for international qualifiers) retirement products. When incorporated into the MDRT by-laws, agents will be able to earn up to 40 percent of their membership credits with sales of these products.

Cruikshank also plans to implement MDRT qualifications based on customer service and professional excellence measures, but those changes are still under discussion and are unlikely to be rolled out for several years.

Use the knowledge and motivation of MDRT meetings--even if you can't attend. MDRT is now releasing educational and motivational manuscripts of speeches delivered at its annual meeting--on floppy diskettes. The two-disk set is $62.50 for nonmembers. Also available from MDRT: the proceedings of annual meetings from 1988 through 1996 on CD-ROM. Call (847) 692-6378 for information or to order.

The Insurance Broadcast System (IBS)--two dedicated television networks aimed at the life-health and property-casualty insurers--debuted in June. The Life-Health Network and the Property- Casualty Network will broadcast half-hour shows two days a week, repeated three times a day, and feature live, daily industry news broadcasts and taped interviews. Subscribers pay $1,000 for installation, then $595 per month. IBS is based in Los Angeles.