Designations for insurance and financial professionals: Best Review's annual listing of certification programs from recognized organizations.
Note: The designations listed below, in most cases, are only a sampling of all the professional designations offered by each organization.To see a complete roster of all courses and designations, please visit the websites of the various organizations.
American Association of Managing General Agencies
CIW: Certified Insurance Wholesaler
Description: This designation demonstrates the individual's knowledge and expertise in the wholesale insurance field.
Qualifications: 120 hours are required; at least 72 hours must be earned from AAMGA University courses and can be earned in the classroom or online; followed by a final project of the candidate's choice after approval by the Accreditation chair.
Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development
ACE: ACORD Certified Expert
Description: An ACE certification means that an individual has received consistent training, passed the exams required for the designation, and is up to date on the latest ACORD standards and versions through continuing education.
Qualifications: The ACE designation requires passing three exams: the first on ACORD's history, standards development process, operating procedures and related topics; the second displaying an understanding and knowledge base of the insurance industry; and the third on domain-specific standards knowledge from one or more of ACORD's Standards domains. Continuing education is mandatory for maintaining an ACE.
America's Health Insurance Plans
PHIAS: Professional, Health Insurance Advanced Studies Description: This designation is for experienced health insurance industry professionals. Enrollees gain a deeper knowledge of health insurance plan structures and alternatives; prescription drugs and pharmacy benefit news; Medicare and Part D; Medicaid; tax treatment of medical expenses and high-benefit plans; consumer-driven plans and HSAs; and planning tools including fraud detection.
Qualifications: Earn the PHIAS after successfully completing the Health Insurance Advanced Studies, Part A course.
FHIAS: Fellow, Health Insurance Advanced Studies
Description: The FHIAS designation expands on the course of study offered in the PHIAS program with a more detailed look at products like disability, long-term care, dental and Medicare.
Qualifications: PHIAS designation plus successful completion of the Health Insurance Advanced Studies, Part B course, as well as one of three electives, and passing all exams.
PAHM: Professional, Academy for Healthcare Management
Description: Students examine the fundamental building blocks of health insurance plans and their functions, and gain better understanding of types of health insurance providers, products, operational issues, legislative, regulatory and ethical issues and Medicare Advantage plans.
Qualifications: Successfully completing the Healthcare Management: An Introduction course.
FAHM: Fellow, Academy for Healthcare Management
Description: In-depth coursework focusing on specific operational areas, current industry trends, governance and leadership issues, financial management techniques, network development and maintenance strategies and medical policies and technologies.
Qualifications: PAHM designation as well as successful completion of four additional courses: governance and regulation, health plan finance and risk management, medical management and network medical management.
DHP: Disability Health Care Professional
Description: This program expands the specialized course of study offered in the Disability Income Associate program by focusing on disability income insurance, group and individual health insurance.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates have successfully completed five courses, including the recently updated Fundamentals of Health Insurance, Part A (Basics of Health Insurance), and all exams.
LTCP: Long-Term Care Professional
Description: This program provides an understanding of the role of insurance in rising long-term care needs, methods of financing long-term care, claims and administration associated with the coverage.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates will have successfully completed four courses and all exams.
MHP: Managed Health Care Professional
Description: Students gain knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a management position in the health insurance industry including an understanding of the broad management role and organizational structures, operations and administration of managed care.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates have successfully completed three required courses including the recently updated Fundamentals of Health Insurance, Part A (Basics of Health Insurance), as well as an elective course, and all exams.
The American College
CASL: Chartered Adviser for Senior Living
Description: This designation recognizes comprehensive knowledge of financial, health, psychological and sociological issues confronting older clients.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must successfully complete five courses.
ChFC: Chartered Financial Consultant
Description: Students gain expertise in insurance, tax credits, retirement planning, portfolio management, estate administration and other subjects.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must successfully complete seven required core courses and two electives, either by self-study or live classes. Three years of current or recent full-time business experience is also required.
ChHC: Chartered Health Care Consultant
Description: Professionals pursuing this designation will gain the knowledge, skill and confidence necessary to counsel clients on the full spectrum of health insurance options and to diversify their business models into fee-based health care consulting.
Qualifications: Candidates must complete five required courses, one elective course, and have at least three years' experience in health care. Continuing education will be required to retain the designation, once awarded.
CLF: Chartered Leadership Fellow
Description: This program provides financial services managers with the knowledge and tools they need to achieve key organizational goals through both education and practical field applications.
Qualifications: The CLF designation is achieved by choosing either the Office Track (six courses) or the Field Track (seven courses). For either track, at least three years' qualified experience is required.
CLU: Chartered Life Underwriter
Description: This program focuses on life insurance products designed to meet the needs of individuals, business owners and professionals, including income replacement, estate planning and wealth transfer.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates will have successfully completed five core classes and three electives via online or self-study. Three years of current or recent full-time business experience is also required.
LUTCF: Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow
Description: Course work involves the basics of prospecting, business insurance, estate planning concepts, sales training, communication skills and knowledge of a wide range of life insurance, health insurance or multiline products and services.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must successfully complete six courses, including a required professional ethics course, and all examinations.
RHU: Registered Health Underwriter
Description: This designation is for those involved in group insurance benefits and health insurance for individuals and families. The program also helps students stay current with the major benefit protection laws, including COBRA, ERISA and HIPAA.
Qualifications: The two required courses and one elective course can be completed through independent study or online. Three years of current or recent full-time business experience is also required.
REBC: Registered Employee Benefits Consultant
Description: Students gain knowledge necessary to become a professional in the sale and service of employee benefits plans. Individuals develop an understanding of the various types of group benefits and retirement plans.
Qualifications: The three required courses and two elective courses can be completed through independent study or online. Three years of current or recent full-time business experience is also required.
RICP: Retirement Income Certified Professional
Description: This designation is designed to help advanced financial advisers solve the puzzle of retirement income planning for clients. Seasoned professionals who hold major designations such as CFP certification, ChFC, CLU, CPA, CFA or other marks and who work with clients on retirement income planning should consider this program.
Qualifications: At least three years' experience and completion of three courses and exams are required. Designation requires 15 hours of continuing education every two years, once awarded.
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries
MSPA: Member, Society of Pension Actuaries
Description: This program is for individuals who provide defined benefit or actuarial consulting, and who are currently enrolled actuaries in good standing.
Qualifications: Applicants must successfully complete the three examinations required for Enrolled Actuary status and have at least three years' retirement plan-related experience.
FSPA: Fellow, Society of Pension Actuaries
Description: Candidates establish that they are both Enrolled Actuaries with proven pension analytical skills and that they are qualified to provide actuarial and consulting for all retirement plan types.
Qualifications: Candidate must hold Enrolled Actuary and Certified Pension Consultant designations; pass an essay exam and an oral presentation; and have at least three years of professional experience and references.
QPFC: Qualified Plan Financial Consultant Description: The QPFC program provides an understanding of general retirement planning concepts, terminology, distinctive features of qualified plans and the role of retirement plan professionals. QPFC is not an entry-level credential.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must successfully pass a two-part exam series, have at least two to three years of investment-related experience and hold certain licenses.
Association of Average Adjusters of the U.S.
MHCP: Marine Hull Claims Professional
Description: This designation offers professional recognition to individuals who provide claims-adjusting services for United States marine insurers.
Qualifications: The designation is open to Resident Associates and Junior Members who have been continuously and actively employed as adjusters or as underwriters' claims examiners/adjusters mentored by a Full Member for at least three years as a Resident or one year as a Junior, and have successfully completed a written exam.
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
CFE: Certified Fraud Examiner
Description: The Certified Fraud Examiner credential denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.
Qualifications: An associate membership in ACFE, a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and at least two years' experience in fraud detection in accounting and auditing; criminology and sociology; fraud investigation; loss prevention; or law. Three professional recommendations are required in order to take the certification exam. The exam covers four areas: Fraudulent Financial Transactions; Legal Elements of Fraud; Investigation Methods; and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence.
Casualty Actuarial Society
FCAS: Fellow, Casualty Actuarial Society
Description: This designation indicates expertise in strategic, financial and operational risk and the integration of hazard risk with these risks.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must fulfill the requirements of Associate: Exams 1-6; two CAS Online Courses; credit by Validation by Educational Experience for the required topics of economics, corporate finance and applied statistical methods; and the CAS Course on Professionalism; as well as successfully complete Exams 7-9.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER BOARD OF STANDARDS, INC.
CFP: Certified Financial Planner
Description: This designation indicates knowledge of competent, professional and ethical financial planning.
Qualifications: A bachelor's degree in any discipline is required to attain CFP certification. Other requirements include at least three years of qualifying full-time work experience. Candidates can complete a course of study offered by an educational institution with a curriculum registered with the CFP board. Regardless of program type, the curriculum taught must be the equivalent of at least 15 semester credit hours. Generally, the course work in a certificate-level program can be completed in 18 to 24 months. The education requirements for CFP certification include completion of a "capstone" financial plan development course registered with the CFP board. The CFP certification exam is scheduled to last 10 hours over a day and a half.
CFA: Chartered Financial Analyst
Description: This program is intended to supplement the education and work experience of investment professionals. Curriculum emphasizes the knowledge and skills needed to be involved in asset valuation or portfolio management.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent; and they have successfully completed three sequential, six-hour examinations. The minimum length of time to sequentially pass all three exams is 18 months, but on average it takes about four years for candidates to earn the CFA charter. In addition, they must have four years of qualified professional work experience. That work experience may be prior, concurrent or subsequent to exam completion. Candidates must maintain membership-in-good-standing with the CFA Institute.
CIPM: Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement
Description: The CIPM program develops and tests the performance evaluation and presentation expertise of investment professionals.
Qualifications: Candidate must pass two exams, become a regular member of the CIPM Association and meet professional experience requirements. There are two exam periods per year, so it is possible to complete the program in one year.
Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association
CAIA: Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
Description: The CAIA designation demonstrates mastery of alternative investment concepts, tools and practices. The curriculum covers hedge funds, real assets, credit derivatives and structured products, private equity, commodities and managed futures and professional standards and ethics.
Qualifications: A U.S. college degree and more than one year of experience in a full-time capacity in the bank regulatory, banking, financial or related fields; or four years of experience otherwise. Two modules are involved: Level 1 emphasizes foundational studies and Level II addresses issues such as due diligence, portfolio management, risk management and portfolio monitoring. Ethics and professional codes of conduct are covered in both levels. Both levels conclude with exams. Many candidates have been able to complete the CAIA program within one year.
A.A.I: Accredited Adviser in Insurance
Description: This designation gives producers an in-depth knowledge of insurance and a strong focus on customer service.
Qualifications: Candidates must successfully complete three required courses and exams, as well as the Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals program, to earn an AAI designation.
AIC: Associate in Claims
Description: The AIC program teaches students how to reduce time and costs, improve customer satisfaction and retention and avoid costly lawsuits. Courses focus on technical claim handling skills, communication and negotiation skills, good-faith claim handling abilities and in-depth policy knowledge.
Qualifications: Candidates choose one of five completion tracks: property, multiline adjuster, liability claims, personal auto claims or workers' compensation. Two required courses for all tracks, and the required Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals program, are followed by several courses in the chosen area of study. Students must pass all exams to acquire the AIC designation.
AINS: Associate in General Insurance
Description: The newly developed AINS designation provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of insurance principles, practices, policies and coverages.
Qualifications: Candidates complete three required courses, or a combination of two required courses and an elective, and pass all exams. (Any combination must include the required Property and Liability Insurance Principles course.) Students are also required to successfully complete the Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals program.
API: Associate in Personal Insurance
Description: Students gain a thorough understanding of the personal lines business, including underwriting, marketing practices, the personal insurance environment, personal insurance profitability, product development and portfolio management.
Qualifications: Candidates must successfully complete four courses and exams, and the Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals program. Alternately, some students may achieve the designation by passing a series of three exams.
ARM: Associate in Risk Management
Description: The ARM designation gives candidates enhanced risk management skills by course work on how to build and implement a balanced risk financing strategy using retention, transfer and hybrids. Two related designations, ARM for Public Entities and ARM-Enterprisewide Risk Management, are also available.
Qualifications: Students must successfully complete three courses of study, along with the Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals program, and pass all exams. ARM-PE and ARM-ERM candidates must take an addition course in their particular field.
AM: Associate in Commercial Underwriting Description: This designation offers a broadened understanding of advanced underwriting techniques and helps candidates develop a disciplined approach to underwriting commercial property and liability exposures.
Qualifications: Students must successfully complete four courses of study, as well as the Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals program, and pass all exams.
AU-S: Associate in Commercial Underwriting-Strategic Techniques
Description: This designation provides the skills needed to perform profitable strategic underwriting of commercial property and liability risks.
Qualifications: Students will successfully complete course requirements to receive the AU designation, as well as a new course, AU 67-Strategic Underwriting Techniques, to receive the AU-S designation.
CPCU: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter
Description: This designation indicates a broad understanding of property/casualty insurance as well as a concentration in commercial or personal risk management.
Qualifications: Students must have two years of qualified experience. Curriculum for this designation includes four foundation courses, one elective course and three courses either in the commercial lines or personal lines concentration; passing all exams; and successfully completing the Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct exams.
Insurance Data Management Association
CIDM: Certified Insurance Data Manager
Description: The CIDM curriculum covers collection and reporting of insurance data, data quality-control techniques and essential organizational and technological expertise. The program also consists of several non-IDMA courses that study insurance operations, loss exposures and coverages.
Qualifications: Successful completion of eight courses: four courses from the IDMA curriculum (which confers the AIDM--Associate Insurance Data Manager designation) and four required courses from the CPCU or LOMA or SOFE or CAS curriculum; and successful completion of all examinations.
International Association of Insurance Professionals
(Trade name of the National Association of Insurance Women)
CLIP: Certified Insurance Industry Professional
CPIW/M: Certified Professional insurance Woman/Man
Description: These identical designations certify professional development, technical knowledge and leadership skills. Course work stresses high standards, a commitment to continuing education and an awareness of industry issues.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates have been members in IAIP/ NAIW for at least two years, have been employed in the insurance industry for at least five years and completed the required classroom educational programs. Certification requires completion of one course offered by an outside insurance education provider.
DAE: Diversified Advanced Education
Description: This program is for candidates who have held the CIIP or CPIW/M designation for at least three years. Candidates will be required to complete a certified ethics program to qualify for DAE designation.
Qualifications: Among the ways to earn DAE: 25 hours of insurance or continuing education; professional development courses either as student or teacher; one class leading to an industry designation either as student or teacher; and other tracks. Once awarded, the DAE designation must be renewed every five years.
International Claim Association
FLHC: Fellow, Life and Health Claims
Description: The FLHC Program provides an advanced level of claim education in life and health insurance and a thorough understanding of claim administration for both individual and group coverages.
Qualifications: Students must hold an ALHC Program certification, which indicates the successful completion of six basic courses and exams. FLCH candidates must then complete four additional courses: three required through LOMA and one optional course from either LOMA or The American College. Candidates must pass a series of exams after each segment. For most examinations, two or three months of preparation are required.
International Foundation for Retirement Education
CRC: Certified Retirement Counselor
Description: The program gives retirement planners a mastery of the topics and issues involved in their profession and requires adherence to a code of ethics and commitment to continuing education.
Qualifications: A bachelor's degree in any field and minimum two years' of related professional experience; or high school diploma and minimum five years' experience; acceptable background check; an ethics certification; and the successful completion of a comprehensive, four-hour, 200-question proctored exam.
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
CEBS: Certified Employee Benefits Specialist
Description: This certification is for professionals in the employee benefits and compensation field.
Qualifications: The designation requires successful completion of eight courses (six mandatory and two elective) and pass an exam at a computer-based testing location. Three specialized, three-course certifications are also available through the CEBS program. The Wharton School is responsible for all academic standards, including curriculum and examinations, associated with the CEBS program.
Investment Management Consultants Association
CIMA: Certified Investment Management Analyst
Description: The CIMA credential is designed specifically for financial professionals who want to attain a level of competency as an advanced investment consultant.
Qualifications: Candidates must have at least three years of experience and pass a background check and a qualification exam before enrolling. Applicants then enroll in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania or the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business for course studies. Students then must pass a certification exam before receiving a CIMA designation.
CPWA: Chartered Private Wealth Adviser
Description: This designation is an advanced credential created specifically for wealth managers and advisers who work with high-net-worth clients on the life cycle of wealth.
Qualifications: The designation requires five years' experience in a client-centered position in financial services industry, and a bachelor's degree or at least one of six major professional designations. The curriculum begins with an approximately six-month long pre-study program and concludes with a 5-day long class at The University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Core studies cover 10 subject areas. Final exam required for certification.
(Life Insurance and Market Research Association)
LLIF: Leadership Institute Fellow
Description: This designation demonstrates a commitment to professional development and the desire to be a forceful leader. Coursework involves attending interactive classroom-based programs, participating in self-assessment activities, and engaging in strategic coaching exercises. Designation takes one to two years to complete.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates obtain 15 credits by passing Limra-sponsored classes along either a moderate track (one to two years) or a fast track (one year). At least five credits must be earned in the Leadership category; at least two credits in the Marketing category; at least two credits in the Financial category; and the remaining six credits are elective. Successful candidates then attend the invitation-only Capstone Program at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, to receive their remaining five credits. LLIF designation is only conferred upon completion of the Capstone element.
(Life Office Management Association)
FFSI: Fellow, Financial Services Institute
Description: This designation demonstrates expertise in developing, managing, administering, and supporting wealth accumulation products, retirement plans, employee benefits, banking products, mutual funds and other financial products.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must complete seven core courses on two levels, and earn three Professional Achievement Credits through Loma's job-specific education program of customized course work, and pass all exams.
FLMI: Fellow, Life Management Institute
Description: This designation provides insurance and financial services professionals with advanced expertise in the operations, products and management of life and health insurance companies.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates will successfully complete 10 courses and a proctored final exam. (LOMA recommends a course progression that begins with its Level I program, followed by the Associate, Life Management institute credential, before enrolling in FLMI-level courses.)
National Association of Estate Planners & Councils
AEP: Accredited Estate Planner
Description: This designation is awarded to attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters, Certified Public Accountants, Certified Trust and Financial Advisers, Chartered Financial Consultants and Certified Financial Planners.
Qualifications: Candidates must be a licensed attorney or CPA, or hold a current CLU, ChFC, CFP or CTFA designation; have at least five years' relevant experience; and have successfully completed two graduate-level courses administered by The American College.
National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association
AHFI: Accredited Health Care Fraud Investigator
Description: This designation is awarded to individuals who meet certain qualifications related to professional experience, specialized training, formal education and demonstrated knowledge in the detection, investigation and/or prosecution of health care fraud.
Qualifications: Candidates must have a minimum of three years' relevant professional experience in health care fraud detection, investigation or prosecution; at least 75 hours of training in the four years prior to applying for the AHFI; be an NHCAA member or be employed by a federal, state or local law enforcement or government agency; and pass the AHFI examination.
National Institute of Pension Administrators
APA: Accredited Pension Administrator
Description: This designation focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to determine eligibility; allocate contributions; fulfill reporting and disclosure requirements; and other functions of pension administrators, retirement relationship managers and ERISA compliance specialists.
Qualifications: Candidates must complete four APA self-study courses and successfully pass examinations. Designees must maintain the designation by completing 15 hours of continuing education annually and maintaining current NIPA membership.
APR: Accredited Pension Representative
Description: This designation is for retirement plan personnel, financial consultants/planners and investment advisers, focusing on types of retirement plans, fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transactions, minimum coverage testing and requirement plan distributions.
Qualifications: Complete two APR self-study courses and examinations, or have an ERPA designation. Must have a FINRA Series 6, 7, 65, 66 or 24 license or insurance license. Designees must maintain the designation by completing 10 hours of continuing education annually and maintaining current NIPA membership.
Professional Liability Underwriting Society
RPLU: Registered Professional Liability Underwriter
Description: This program provides a broad, basic understanding of the professional liability disciplines. It covers technical issues from a practical point of view, including underwriting, risk management, legal issues, claims review and marketing/sales of professional liability insurance.
Qualifications: The self-study program includes eight core requirements and passage of seven affiliated tests; five PLUS Curriculum elective modules and passage of five corresponding exams; and minimum of two years in the professional liability industry.
(Risk and Insurance Management Society)
RF: Fellow, Risk and Insurance Management Society
Description: Students gain skills and knowledge needed to identify and manage operational, financial, external and other risks in organizations.
Qualifications: Candidates must complete three college- or university-level courses: Risk Assessment, Risk Financing and Risk Control. Accounting and Finance courses are also required, along with two additional college- or university-level courses in either business, economics, MIS, law, insurance, marketing or management. At least five years of industry experience is mandatory. Requirements include 12 days of RIMS Fellow workshops, and designee must hold a CPCU designation.
Society of Actuaries
ASA: Associate, Society of Actuaries
Description: This designation demonstrates an associate's knowledge of the fundamental concepts and techniques for modeling and managing risk. The associate has also learned the basic methods of applying those concepts and techniques to common problems involving uncertain future events, especially those with financial implications.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates will have successfully completed five examinations, three courses validated by outside coursework, an eight-module Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice e-learning course and a professionalism course.
CERA: Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst
Description: This designation demonstrates knowledge in the identification, measurement and management of risk within risk-hearing enterprises.
Qualifications: Starting July 1, candidates successfully complete five examinations, including a newly developed exam in enterprise risk management; the Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice and the Operational Risk Module e-learning courses; courses in economics and corporate finance validated by outside coursework; and a professionalism course. Successful CERA candidates will also become Associates of the Society of Actuaries.
FSA: Fellow, Society of Actuaries
Description: This designation recognizes that an individual has demonstrated knowledge of the business environments within which financial decisions concerning pensions, life insurance, health insurance and investments are made, including the application of mathematical concepts and other techniques to the various areas of actuarial practice.
Qualifications: Fellowship candidates successfully pass five exams (from the ASA track) and also choose one of five specialty tracks--Finance/ERM, Investment, Individual Life and Annuities, Retirement Benefits, or Group and Health--and complete the requirements of that track including all exams and modules. The FSA designation includes validation of educational experiences outside the SOA education system in economics, corporate finance and applied statistics. Candidates must also successfully complete the Decision-Making and Communications module, a professionalism seminar and the Fellowship Admissions course.
Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators
ITP: Insurance Training Professional
Description: This designation, offered by the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators, recognizes individual excellence and professionalism in training and education in the insurance industry. The designation requires both training/education and insurance experience/knowledge.
Qualifications: Eligible candidates must be members of SITE. Candidates must show insurance knowledge through a certificate or designation or an insurance/financial services course of at least 20 hours, or a minimum of 10 years of insurance company experience in core competencies; evidence of training or accredited degree in adult education or a closely related field with significant education course work, or at least 20 semester hours in an undergraduate or graduate degree program; and a minimum of five years' experience as a trainer/educator along with a list of courses taught during the most recent three years or other criteria established by SITE.
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|Date:||Jun 1, 2012|
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