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Top 11 Insurance Sales Agent Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for insurance sales agents, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for insurance sales agents in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that the individual has a certain level of proficiency and knowledge in their field. Having certifications can also help to show employers that the agent is committed to staying up-to-date with industry trends, regulations, and best practices. Additionally, certifications can be a great way for an insurance sales agent to stand out from other applicants and make them more attractive to potential employers.

This article reviews the top certifications for Insurance Sales Agents and explains how they can contribute to an agent's career advancement.

What are Insurance Sales Agent Certifications?

Insurance sales agent certification is a type of professional credential that can help insurance sales agents demonstrate their knowledge and capabilities in the insurance industry. Individuals who hold this certification have passed exams or completed courses that measure their skills in selling various types of insurance policies. The certification also demonstrates that the individual has a basic understanding of related laws and regulations, which allows them to provide customers with accurate advice when selecting an insurance policy.

This certification can help sales agents stand out from the competition and increase their chances of landing a job in the industry. It also shows employers that they are knowledgeable and up-to-date on relevant industry trends, making them more attractive candidates for positions that require specialized expertise. Additionally, having a certification can help sales agents earn higher salaries, as it indicates to potential employers that they are well-trained and dedicated to their profession. Finally, holding a certification can allow individuals to access exclusive events, such as conferences and seminars, which can be beneficial for networking purposes and staying current on industry news.

Pro tip: Make sure to research the different certifications available for insurance sales agents and make sure you choose one that is recognized and respected by your industry. This will help to ensure that you are properly trained, knowledgeable, and equipped with the necessary skills to be successful in your career.

Related: What does an Insurance Sales Agent do?

Top 11 Insurance Sales Agent Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Insurance Sales Agents today.

1. Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)

Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) is a designation awarded to individuals who demonstrate a high level of expertise in the insurance industry. The CIC designation is recognized as one of the most respected and sought-after credentials in the insurance industry.

To earn the CIC designation, individuals must complete five courses and pass five exams covering topics such as personal lines, commercial lines, life & health, agency management, and ethics. The courses are offered by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research (NAIER), which is an independent organization that provides education and certification programs for professionals in the insurance industry.

The CIC program typically takes between 6 months to 1 year to complete depending on how quickly you can study and take the exams. To get started with the program, you will need to register with NAIER and pay a fee of $2,500 USD which covers all five courses and exams. This fee also includes access to online study materials as well as discounts on textbooks and other resources related to the program.

Once you have completed all five courses and passed all five exams, you will be awarded your CIC designation from NAIER. This credential will give you an advantage when applying for jobs in the insurance industry or when looking for promotions within your current company.

2. Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)

Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) is a professional designation for individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of property and casualty insurance. The CPCU designation is recognized as the highest standard of excellence in the industry and is awarded by The Institutes, an organization dedicated to providing educational programs and services in the risk management and insurance industry.

It typically takes four years to complete all eight courses required to earn the CPCU designation. Each course covers a different aspect of property and casualty insurance, including underwriting principles, legal issues, operations management, and financial analysis. Candidates must pass each course with a grade of 70% or higher in order to receive credit for it.

To get started on the path to earning your CPCU designation, you must first join The Institutes by completing an application form and paying a one-time enrollment fee of $250. After that, you can begin taking courses at any time. Each course costs $495, plus any applicable taxes or fees. You will also need to pay an annual membership fee of $95 per year while you are working towards your designation.

In total, it will cost approximately $3,000-$4,000 to earn your CPCU designation depending on how quickly you complete each course and whether or not you take advantage of any discounts offered by The Institutes.

3. Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA)

Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) is a designation offered by the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. The CPIA designation is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and proficiency in the insurance industry.

It typically takes about six months to complete the requirements for the CPIA designation, which includes passing four exams administered by the National Alliance. The exams cover topics such as personal lines, commercial lines, life and health insurance, and agency operations.

To get the CPIA designation, you must first become an active member of the National Alliance. Membership costs $100 per year and requires that you meet certain criteria such as having at least three years of experience in the insurance industry or having completed certain educational courses. Once you are an active member, you can register for the CPIA exams.

The cost of taking all four exams is $400 plus any applicable taxes or fees.

4. Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI)

Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI) is a professional designation offered by The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of insurance.

The AAI program consists of three courses: Principles of Insurance, Personal Lines, and Commercial Lines. To obtain the AAI designation, an individual must successfully complete all three courses within two years. Upon passing all three exams, the individual will receive their AAI designation and be recognized as an Accredited Advisor in Insurance.

The cost to obtain the AAI designation varies depending on the state where you are taking the courses. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 - $2,000 for all three courses.

To get started with the AAI program, you must first register with The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. Once registered, you can begin taking the courses at your own pace or attend classes offered through local universities or community colleges.

5. Associate in General Insurance (AINS)

Associate in General Insurance (AINS) is a professional designation offered by The Institutes, a leading provider of insurance education and research. It is designed to provide insurance professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the principles of property and casualty insurance, as well as the legal, financial and regulatory aspects of the industry.

The AINS program consists of four courses: Introduction to Property & Casualty Insurance; Personal Lines Insurance; Commercial Lines Insurance; and Risk Management & Insurance Services. Each course is approximately 10-15 hours long and can be taken online or in a classroom setting. Upon successful completion of all four courses, students are awarded the AINS designation.

The cost for each course varies depending on whether it is taken online or in a classroom setting, but typically ranges from $250-$400 per course. In addition, there is an exam fee of $100 for each course that must be paid upon registration.

In order to obtain the AINS designation, students must complete all four courses within one year from their initial enrollment date. Once all four courses have been completed, students will receive their certificate of completion from The Institutes along with their official AINS designation certificate.

6. Associate in Commercial Underwriting (ACU)

Associate in Commercial Underwriting (ACU) is a professional designation offered by The Institutes, a provider of risk management and insurance education. It is designed to provide commercial underwriters with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively evaluate and manage commercial risks.

The ACU program consists of four courses: Introduction to Commercial Underwriting, Commercial Property Underwriting, Commercial Liability Underwriting, and Risk Management. Each course requires approximately 30 hours of study time and must be completed within one year of enrollment. Upon successful completion of all four courses, individuals will receive their ACU designation.

The cost for the entire program is $1,500 plus applicable taxes. This fee includes access to all course materials as well as the final exam.

In order to become an Associate in Commercial Underwriting (ACU), individuals must have at least two years of experience working in commercial underwriting or related fields such as risk management or claims handling. Additionally, applicants must pass an online assessment prior to enrolling in the program.

Once enrolled in the program, individuals must complete all four courses within one year of enrollment in order to receive their ACU designation. Upon successful completion of all four courses, individuals will receive their ACU designation and certificate from The Institutes via mail.

7. Associate in Personal Insurance (API)

Associate in Personal Insurance (API) is a professional designation program offered by The Institutes, an organization that provides education and resources for risk management and insurance professionals. This program is designed to help individuals gain knowledge and understanding of the personal lines insurance industry, including products, services, underwriting, and claims handling.

The API program consists of three courses: Principles of Personal Insurance, Personal Insurance Products & Services, and Personal Insurance Underwriting & Claims. Each course takes approximately 10-12 hours to complete, with the entire program taking 30-36 hours to complete.

To get the API designation, you must first complete the three courses listed above. Once you have completed all three courses successfully, you will receive a certificate of completion from The Institutes. You can then submit your application for the API designation along with a $125 fee to The Institutes. Upon approval of your application, you will be awarded the Associate in Personal Insurance (API) designation.

The cost for the API program is $125 plus any applicable taxes or fees associated with enrolling in the courses.

8. Certified Risk Manager (CRM)

Certified Risk Manager (CRM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge, skills and abilities of individuals who have achieved a level of proficiency in the field of risk management. The CRM designation is awarded by the Global Risk Management Institute (GRMI) and recognizes individuals who demonstrate their commitment to excellence in risk management.

It typically takes between three and five years to complete the CRM program. To qualify for the certification, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, pass an exam and complete a portfolio that demonstrates their experience in risk management. Applicants must also demonstrate their commitment to continuing education by completing at least 30 hours of approved continuing education credits every three years.

The cost of obtaining the CRM designation varies depending on the provider offering it. Generally, it costs around $1,000-$2,000 USD for all materials and fees associated with the program.

In order to obtain the CRM designation, applicants must first register with GRMI and pay any applicable registration fees. After registering, applicants will be able to access study materials and take practice exams before taking the actual exam. Once they have successfully completed all requirements for certification, they will receive their official CRM certificate from GRMI.

9. Certified Life Underwriter (CLU)

A Certified Life Underwriter (CLU) is a professional designation awarded by The American College of Financial Services. It is the premier certification for individuals who provide life insurance advice and services to their clients. The CLU designation requires a comprehensive understanding of life insurance products, planning strategies, and risk management techniques.

The program consists of nine courses covering topics such as life insurance principles and practices, estate planning, retirement planning, taxation, and financial planning. To be eligible for the CLU designation, applicants must have at least three years of full-time experience in the life insurance industry or two years of full-time experience plus completion of an approved college course in life insurance.

It usually takes about two years to complete the program if you are taking classes part-time. However, if you are taking classes full-time it can take as little as one year to complete the program.

To get your CLU designation you will need to enroll in the program through The American College of Financial Services website and complete all required courses with a grade of “C” or better. You will also need to pass a comprehensive exam that covers all areas of study within the program.

The cost for the CLU designation varies depending on how many courses you take at once and whether or not you are taking them online or in person. Generally speaking, it costs around $2,400-$3,000 USD to earn your CLU designation.

10. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation given by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. It is a certification that demonstrates an individual has met the rigorous educational, examination, experience and ethical requirements needed to become a financial planner.

To receive the CFP designation, individuals must complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, complete a CFP Board-approved program of study that includes at least six college-level courses in financial planning topics, pass the CFP Certification Examination and meet the CFP Board's ethics and experience requirements. The entire process typically takes three to four years to complete.

The cost of obtaining the CFP designation varies depending on whether you choose to attend a formal program or self-study. A formal program will generally cost anywhere from $5,000-$20,000 while self-study can range from $1,500-$2,500. Additionally, there are fees associated with taking and passing the exam which range from $695-$995 depending on when you register for it.

11. Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

A Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is a professional designation awarded by The American College of Financial Services. It is the highest standard of knowledge and experience in the life insurance industry. To obtain the CLU designation, applicants must complete a rigorous program of study, pass a comprehensive examination, and meet certain other requirements.

The CLU program consists of eight courses covering topics such as financial planning, estate planning, retirement planning, taxation, investments and risk management. Each course requires approximately 30 hours of study time and takes an average of 18 months to complete.

To become eligible for the CLU designation, applicants must have at least three years of full-time life insurance experience or five years of part-time life insurance experience. In addition to passing the eight required courses, applicants must also pass an ethics exam and submit documentation demonstrating their work experience in the field.

The cost for obtaining a CLU designation varies depending on how you choose to pursue it. You can either take the courses online or attend classes at The American College campus in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Online tuition typically ranges from $1,200 - $3,000 per course while on-campus tuition is more expensive at around $2,500 - $4,000 per course. There are also additional fees associated with taking exams as well as application fees for submitting your credentials to The American College for review.

Do You Really Need a Insurance Sales Agent Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual. An insurance sales agent certificate is not required by law, but it can be beneficial for those looking to work in the field of insurance sales. Having a certificate may give an individual an edge when competing for jobs and demonstrate a certain level of competency. It can also help broaden an individual’s knowledge base, allowing them to better serve their customers.

Whether or not one should pursue an insurance sales agent certificate is ultimately up to the individual's own needs and goals. Those who are already working in the field may find that they do not need a certificate in order to continue in their current role, while those just starting out may find that having a certificate could provide them with additional qualifications and skills. Ultimately, each person must decide whether or not obtaining a certificate is worth the investment of time and money.

Related: Insurance Sales Agent Resume Examples

FAQs About Insurance Sales Agent Certifications

1. What certifications are available for insurance sales agents?

Answer: The most common certification for insurance sales agents is the Life and Health Insurance Certification from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Other certifications may include the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation.

2. How do I obtain an insurance sales agent certification?

Answer: To obtain an insurance sales agent certification, you must first meet the educational and experience requirements set by your state's Department of Insurance. Then, you must pass a state-administered examination to demonstrate your knowledge of insurance products and regulations.

3. Are there continuing education requirements for maintaining an insurance sales agent certification?

Answer: Yes, most states require that certified insurance sales agents complete continuing education courses each year in order to maintain their certifications.

4. How long does it take to become a certified insurance sales agent?

Answer: The amount of time needed to become a certified insurance sales agent varies depending on your prior education and experience level, but generally it can take anywhere from six months to two years before you are fully certified.

5. What benefits do I receive from becoming a certified insurance sales agent?

Answer: Becoming a certified insurance sales agent can open up job opportunities in the industry, provide more credibility with clients, and allow you access to exclusive discounts on products or services related to your profession. Additionally, many employers offer incentives such as higher pay or bonuses for those who are certified in their field.

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