Does this new annuity suitability course have to be counted as continuing education?

No, this is a training requirement to sell an annuity product.  Resident producers, who take the 4-hour or 1-hour credit course, may use the credits to satisfy their overall CE requirements.  Credits used to satisfy CE requirements will be counted as general credits.  The annuity training course must be from an approved  CE Provider in that state, and the course must comply with guidelines applicable to CE courses. The annuity training course can be classroom, webinar or self-study and must meet the requirements for CE in that state to get credit.