One of the largest growing industries in the world, insurance takes a bold step in compensating policyholders in the event of a specified loss, damage, illness, and even death. Financial protection covers a wide range of items and in the world of selling insurance, this in most cases implies a wide range of insurance specialties to be learned and relearned.
Sometimes it is difficult to be aware of the continuous changes in the industry yet you are looking to deliver the best form of service to your clients. This is the purpose of insurance certifications and designations in the industry.
Insurance certifications are specifically designed to fill this gap for you such that you are up to date with the current insurance policies and you are knowledgeable in the field of specialty you work in or desire to work in.
In addition, a certification in insurance avails you the opportunity to qualify for several job positions in the insurance job market and is considered an added advantage by hiring managers when you possess one.
Insurance agents often aspire to possess two or three certifications in order to grow their careers in the insurance industry and equip themselves with the required skill in the area of specialty.
We have compiled for you a comprehensive list of the best insurance certifications you can pursue and we shall be looking at them later on.
What Are Insurance Certifications?
Insurance certification is an insurance designation for insurance professionals to let clients know of your advanced training in a specialty area and you are up to date with new industry information.
Certification can show you’re an expert in your field, or you’re working on gaining the credentials to become an expert.
Insurance agents gain a better understanding of the nuances of risks and litigation in the industry with which they are able to serve their clients in the best way possible.
Why Get An Insurance Certification?
To show your commitment to learning and relearning the most important information and best practices in the industry, pursuing an insurance certification is the best choice for you to make.
With insurance certification, you are qualified to begin selling and retaining life and/or health insurance policies within a specific state. It gives you the skills and qualifications as a life insurance agent to legally be able to explain, sell, and process that line of insurance to your clients.
Agents usually opt to add their insurance designation letters to the end of their names in email signatures, on business cards, and on professional networking websites after successfully earning their insurance certification.
It is an added advantage that you can use to sell your expertise.
What Is The Best Insurance Designation To Have?
Insurance designations show management that you are proactive in advancing your career. It is strongly advised to pursue one or two insurance designations as it also shows that you are willing and capable of handling a multitude of difficult tasks.
Here are some insurance designations you can pursue;
1 Associate in General Insurance (AINS)
This insurance designation provides a solid foundation on which to build your career in insurance.
Completing the AINS program signifies that you have attained comprehensive knowledge of insurance principles, practices, and policies in depth.
The Associate in General Insurance can enhance future career opportunities and help you do your current job better for an individual working in this field.
2 Associate in Insurance Services (AIS)
The program helps you learn practical, real-world skills that agency personnel need to gain a competitive edge in insurance policies.
The Associate in Insurance Services designation signifies that an individual working in the field of insurance has attained comprehensive training in enhanced customer focus.
3 Associate In Claims (AIC)
This insurance designation qualifies you to handle a wide variety of claims, including property, auto, workers compensation, and bodily injury claims.
Earning the Associate In Claims (AIC) designation helps you attain comprehensive knowledge of a wide variety of claims.
Claim professionals working in this field improve their technical claim handling abilities as well as their communication and negotiation skills.
What Are Professional Insurance Designations?
Insurance designations are programs that help you illustrate their insurance industry know-how and enter the insurance industry or advance their current career in the insurance industry.
They are designed to help you learn insurance industry practices and insurer operations in specific areas of expertise.
As an insurance professional, insurance designations will help you in addressing your customer’s needs and identify yourself as an industry expert to your clients.
How Do I Get Insurance Certifications?
While each state has unique qualifications for earning insurance licenses, the common process you will likely follow will be; preparing for the state’s examination and applying for a license.
During the six months which the application takes, prospective agents usually enroll in specific education courses designed for the exam yet to be taken.
Let’s look at a step by step process for getting an insurance certification:
- Identify the participating organizations and your specialty area in the industry
- Understand the specifications for your certification. Every insurance certification has its own list of requirements to pass.
- Successfully complete the required courses and pass the respective exams
- Complete continuing education courses to keep your certification up to date
Coursework for insurance certification programs is usually availed by these three institutions:
- The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research (The National Alliance) which is an organization that sets standards for quality and relevant continuing education for those in insurance and risk management.
- The Institute for WorkComp Professionals (IWCP) which is an organization that specializes in helping train insurance agents to help companies understand worker’s compensation agreements and reduce their insurance payments.
- The Institutes Risk and Insurance Knowledge Group (The Institutes) which is also an organization that provides educational courses and collaborations with industry groups to help build fundamentals and create networking opportunities for insurance professionals.
How Much Does It Cost To Get An Insurance Certification?
The cost of an insurance certification exam ranges from $40–$150. This depends on the state you are in and the fee is usually updated on your state’s insurance licensing website.
It is important to note that license application fees are separate.
The application fee ranges from $30-$200 in most cases and a background check could cost you about $30.
The process of applying and acquiring your license is dependent on the state as well.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Life Insurance Certifications In CA?
An estimated total of $243 for life insurance certification. In some cases, insurance carriers require agents to have a life insurance license as well, and therefore most agents opt for both licenses at the same time.
Here is a breakdown of the estimated cost for a health & life insurance license in California:
- Education Course: $80.00
- Health Application Fee: $188
- Health Licensing Exam: $55.00
- Life Application Fee: $188
- Life Licensing Exam: $55.00
- Background & Fingerprints: $59
This gives you an estimated total of $625 if you decide to pursue both health and life insurance licenses.
How Long Do Life And Health Insurance Certifications Last?
Insurance certifications last for about 2 years. Renewal fees range from $15 – $200 per line. All states also require the completion of continuing education courses in order to renew your license.
There is no continuing education “grace period” therefore once the expiration date has passed, a violation exists. You must complete all required CE hours and pay any fines or fees before you can renew your license.
The fine for not doing the required continuing education is $50 per deficient hour and up to $500.00.
What Certifications Or Licenses Are Required To Sell Vision Insurance And Health Insurance?
A Life & Health insurance license through the State is needed to sell health insurance.
You should complete any pre-licensing education required by the state you want to become licensed in.
You can get Health Insurance Associate (HIA) certification which is offered to insurance professionals who have passed the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)’s the course of study required to sell vision insurance and health insurance.
Which Certifications Work With Next Insurance?
Next Insurance was created to give businesses insurance coverage. The most preferred insurance certifications for Next Insurance are;
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Risk Manager (CRM)
- Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)
What Are The Best Insurance Certifications That Can Help Enhance Your Career?
Pursuing the right insurance certification helps you gain the knowledge you need to offer a higher level of service to your clients. Insurance certification also helps boost careers and the right one helps you advance in the industry.
Take a look at the best insurance certifications for career growth you should consider:
Commonly referred to as CIC, Certified Insurance Counsellor, focuses on the practical application of insurance principles such as Agency Management, Commercial Property, and Life and Health.
The CIC does set you up to pursue further designations, like the CRM that we listed here too. The Certified Insurance Counsellor is considered one of the most credible insurance designations.
Certified Insurance Counsellor credential covers all areas of insurance, such as personal, commercial, and life.
This insurance designation focuses on specific topics such as commercial casualty, commercial property, and agency management.
Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI) is a comprehensive program that focuses on the Foundations of Insurance Production, Multi-Lines Insurance Production, and Agency Operations and Sales Management.
From this online insurance certification, you will walk away with practical skills that will empower you to give some of the best services available in the country to each of your clients.
The Accredited Adviser in Insurance credential helps agents learn more about property and casualty lines, underwriting, and customer services in depth.
This certification program is offered by The Institutes.
The Associate in General Insurance (AINS) focuses on general property and liability insurance for personal or commercial lines. It will give you a strong foundation in general insurance principles.
This online insurance designation is a great place to start as an insurance professional. This certification program is offered by The Institutes.
One of the popular certifications in insurance certifications, the Associate in General Insurance is highly advantageous for you to possess this certification.
Commonly known as CPCU, a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter is an expert on risk management, underwriting, and property-casualty insurance.
A CPCU shows your peers and clients that you have specialized knowledge of the insurance industry. It is a great choice if you want to grow your career by working with a carrier, third-party, or in the fast-paced world of insurance.
The Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter program offered by The Institutes covers all areas of the underwriting process and helps you understand insurance accounting and legal issues in the industry.
This program is also a popular certification among insurance certifications sought after in the job market in insurance.
A Certified Risk Manager (CRM) is a program that focuses on preventing, minimizing, and eliminating risk.
It is offered by The National Alliance and requires a background in professional insurance.
The certification in risk management provides specialized skills in three core areas Principles of Risk Management, Analysis of Risk, Control of Risk, and Financing of Risk.
The Certified Risk Manager program is highly advisable if you are interested in helping business clients analyze their operations and determine where they may encounter risks.
This program will ensure you learn how to prevent, reduce, avoid and eliminate risks and get a better understanding of policy and insurance language. Through this program, you attain a seniority level in your career.
The Certified WorkComp Adviser (CWCA) teaches you how to help your clients lower their workers’ compensations insurance costs, establish safety committees and provide human resource advice to employees.
It focuses on the core areas in insurance to do with Understanding the Workers’ Comp Premium Audit, Navigating the Experience Mod, The Anatomy of a Claim, and Putting the Process into Action.
This Certified WorkComp Adviser certification program specializes in workman’s compensation insurance and is for those interested in the niche of workers’ compensation insurance. It is popular for insurance agents and companies that mostly deal with the human resource function of their clients.
This certification is offered by The Institute of WorkComp Professionals.
Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) helps insurance professionals learn risk management techniques for businesses and individuals.
This program may be an excellent choice for you if you are looking to manage both commercial and personal life insurance accounts.
It provides you with knowledge of key concepts of risk assessment and management in insurance. Certified Insurance Service Representative is offered through The National Alliance.
The Certified WorkComp Specialist (CWCS) teaches about experience modifiers, claims management, and audits. This certification provides a broader focus across multiple insurance disciplines that equip you with the most sought-after skills in this field of insurance.
This Certified WorkComp Specialist designation offered by Workcomp Professionals is a great choice for agents who choose to specialize in workers’ compensation insurance as it allows them to provide workers’ compensation education for both employers and employees.
CPLHI, short for Certified Professional, Life and Health Program, is an insurance program designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of core areas in life and health insurance.
It provides you with training in the most necessary skills and key topics in life and health insurance. It is offered by LOMA.
Associate in Risk Management (ARM) provides an in-depth understanding of risk assessment and treatment that gives the skills you need to succeed in a rapidly evolving risk management landscape.
It focuses on risk management today, risk in an organization, holistic risk, and detecting risk. You learn to develop the skills you need to holistically assess existing risks and anticipate merging ones.
This online insurance certification is offered by The Institutes.
FAqs on insurance certifications
What is the passing score for an insurance certification exam?
70% in all states
How many times can you take an insurance certification exam in a year?
3 times in one year
How long before I can retake a failed insurance exam?
24 hours to register again
Are there disqualifications for getting an insurance certification?
Yes. The following felonies are unlikely to be eligible;
- Felony involving money laundering, fraud or embezzlement
- Capital Felony
- Felony of the first degree
- Felonies related to financial services
Is the insurance exam computer-based?
Yes, it is computer-based in all states.
The insurance industry is constantly evolving with new practices coming up every other day, and as a professional insurance agent or someone looking to become one, it is your duty to provide the best insurance coverage and advice to your clients and their properties. Insurance certifications help you do just that.
Not only do you possess the required skills in your field of specialty after completion of an insurance certification course but they also provide you with the necessary updates and education on changes in the industry.
Insurance certifications also help you advance in your career across the insurance industry.
Our community would be pleased to learn from your experience on insurance certifications. Do feel free to share with us in the comments.