As an insurance agent, you already know continuing to learn about the insurance and risk management industry is important. You have to maintain your license with sufficient CE credits and stay in good standing, so ongoing education is a part of your professional life.
But you may be wondering if obtaining a professional designation is still important for insurance agents in 2021. What are the benefits of having a designation, or two, behind your name?
More than alphabet soup, having insurance designations can help your career in lots of different ways. Read on to learn more about insurance designations in 2021 and their relevance for insurance agents.
Are Professional Insurance Designations Still Relevant in 2021?
The short answer is yes, insurance designations remain relevant for agents and other insurance professionals in 2021. The courses offered by the designation programs are updated frequently so current trends, case law, and new innovations can be included. As the industry evolves, so do the educational offerings provided.
With many people seeking careers in insurance, a professional designation can set you apart from your peers. It is a way to start building your brand and growing your credibility as an expert in the industry. Professional designations are recognized by others in insurance and by customers looking for expert advice.
What Designations Should I Consider as an Agent?
There are many different professional insurance designations you can consider obtaining during your career as an agent.
The CPCU, or Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, is a great designation for agents. The CPCU Society was started by agents and brokers, after all, so they have a long history of supporting and providing education for agents. The CPCU is often considered one of the most prestigious P&C designations and is often anecdotally compared to a ‘master’s degree in insurance’.
There are several ways to earn the CPCU by taking different courses and focusing on personal or commercial lines. The CPCU program is comprehensive – it combines rigorous exams with an ethics component and an experience requirement.
The Accredited Adviser in Insurance program, or AAI, is another good option for agents and brokers. The program is shorter than the CPCU requirements but is still offers a comprehensive education in insurance operations and principles. The AAI also has an ethics exam that must be passed before earning the designation.
The CIC, or Certified Insurance Counselor, is a designation program offered by the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. It consists of five courses with exams to be passed within five years.
The CLU is the Chartered Life Underwriter designation offered by The American College. It is designed for life insurance financial professionals. Earning the designation can exempt its holders from pre-licensing education requirements in many states.
What are the Benefits of Professional Designations for Insurance Agents?
Agents can find many benefits to obtaining an insurance designation, regardless of the designation they decide to pursue.
- Earn Continuing Education credits – Taking courses to earn a professional designation can also fulfill your CE credits to maintain your license. Once you have the designation, you’ll have the opportunity to take courses offered by your designation program to keep your skills fresh.
- Stay current on industry trends – Designation programs offer up-to-date classes, so you’ll learn the most current material. Trends in insurtech, global insurance, and microinsurance are some newer topics that are being incorporated in industry education courses.
- Attend industry conferences – Most insurance designation programs have a celebratory conference and meeting annually, often held in great locations. Many of these conferences are open to anyone, so even if you haven’t finished your designation studies yet you should consider attending an industry conference. It’s a great way to learn, network, and refresh.
- Develop skills in related areas – Professional designation programs are comprehensive – you’ll learn about parts of our industry you don’t work in and develop skills to deepen your insurance knowledge as a whole. This lets you make connections between concepts and better understand risk and insurance to apply to your agency tasks.
- Reduce potential E&O issues – Taking insurance education classes can help you learn more about risk and insurance and more ways to help your clients. This can potentially lead to fewer E&O issues for you as you learn to avoid them.
- Grow professional network – Earning a designation means you’ll be introduced to new colleagues who also hold your designation. This is a new group of professionals to network and share business with – make sure to connect on LinkedIn and other social media platforms with groups dedicated to your designation.
- Earn more – The National Alliance notes professionals with the CIC designation earn 30% more than their peers without the designation. This is a compelling reason to study for the designation early in your career to maximize your lifetime earnings.
- Instill confidence – Having a designation behind your name can help to instill confidence in you and your abilities. Designations are recognized in the insurance industry and can be used to show customers your dedication to excellence and continuing industry education. They can also show potential employers you are committed to your field.
Insurance agents are professionals who should consider studying for a professional designation. These programs allow you to continue your industry education, network with colleagues, and stay up to date on trends and new innovations.
Attending an industry conference is a great way to continue your learning! The American Agents Alliance 2021 Conference & Expo on September 23-25 is the largest P&C event in the West. Don’t miss this opportunity to earn CE credits and continue your learning. Whether you have your first professional designation or are still working toward obtaining it, you’ll find supportive peers at the conference to cheer you on!