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Designations for insurance and financial professionals: a look at some of the certification programs from recognized organizations.



Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development

ACE: ACORD Certified Expert

Description: An ACE certification means 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: Criteria for receiving an ACE include taking three exams focusing on specific topic areas: participation in the standards process; business-line-specific standards (property-casualty/surety; life, annuity and health; or reinsurance and large commercial); and insurance product knowledge. Continuing education also will be 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 the Marketing Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Plans course, 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 in governance and regulation, health-plan finance and risk management, and network and 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 and an exam.

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 an examination.

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 six courses and an exam.

The American College

CASL: Chartered Advisor 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.

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.

FSS: Financial Services Specialist

Description: This basic program provides an overview of a comprehensive financial plan, including insurance, risk management, employee benefits, investments, income tax, retirement and estate planning. The course also covers Social Security and Medicare.

Qualifications: Candidates must successfully complete three required courses, one of which deals with professional ethics; and three elective courses, along with all exams.

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: Candidates must successfully complete six courses, including a required professional ethics course, and all examinations.

MSFS: Master of Science in Financial Services

Description: This intensive program provides the tools to analyze, plan and implement integrated financial and life strategies for practitioners in affluent markets, such as financial planners, life insurance specialists, CPAs and investment consultants.

Qualifications: Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and an official transcript from each college or university attended. The MSFS degree requires the completion of eight required courses, two electives and two four-day residencies.

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.


(American Institute for CPCU/InsuranceInstitute of America)--The Institutes

AFSB: Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding

Description: This program, developed with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers and the Surety & Fidelity Association of America, expands understanding of contract and noncontract surety, as construction, contract bond law and the contract bid process

Qualifications: Six courses must be completed, including three core programs, two CPCU-related classes and a newly instituted course, Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals.

AIC: Associate in Claims--Personal Auto Track

Description: A new track to the AIC designation, prepared for in-house and field claims adjusters, agency principals, litigators, third-party administrators and others who navigate the loss adjustment process.

Qualifications: Candidates must complete four core subjects and one of two ethics courses.

AIM: Associate in Management

Description: This program includes human resource management, analysis of current business issues, and general management principles and practices. The courses in this program are best suited for midlevel managers, principals and underwriters.

Qualifications: Eligible candidates must successfully complete three core classes and a newly instituted course, Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals.

AMIM: Associate in Marine Insurance Management

Description: Courses build a foundation in both inland and ocean marine products and coverages.

Qualifications: Students must complete four core courses, two elective courses and a newly instituted course, Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals.

API: Associate in Personal Insurance

Description: Students gain an understanding of the personal property and liability insurance business, including underwriting, marketing practices, profitability and cost-control techniques.

Qualifications: Candidates must successfully complete four courses and a newly instituted course, Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals. Alternately, some students may achieve the designation by passing a series of exams.

ASLI: Associate in Surplus Lines Insurance

Description: The program provides a solid knowledge of a wide variety and uses of surplus lines insurance products.

Qualifications: Requires the completion of two core courses as well as two elective courses and a newly instituted course, Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals.

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 pass four foundation courses, one elective course and three courses either in the commercial lines or personal lines concentration; successfully complete eight exams and the Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct exams; and meet experience requirements.

American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries

MSPA: Member, Society of Pension Actuaries

Description: This program is for consultants and administrators, actuaries and other benefits professionals.

Qualifications: Eligible applicants must successfully complete three examinations as required for Enrolled Actuary status, and have at least three years of responsible actuarial 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 the required amount of professional experience and verified, accepted references.

QPFC: Qualified Plan Financial Consultant

Description: This designation is for financial professionals who specialize in retirement plans, helping them gain knowledge and experience in the investment side of qualified retirement plans. It is not an entry-level credential.

Qualifications: Eligible candidates must have at least three years of investment-related experience and hold certain licenses. Applicants must demonstrate competence in specific areas of qualified retirement plans through completion of the four-examination series.

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. Students may self-study or attend a three-and-a-half day seminar to prepare. The exam covers four areas: Fraudulent Financial Transactions; Legal Elements of Fraud; Investigation Methods; and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence.

Board of Certified Safety Professionals

CSP: Certified Safety Professional

Description: This certification is for those safety professionals who develop or administer procedures and standards to control or reduce hazards and exposures that potentially are harmful to people, property and the environment.

Qualifications: Candidates hold an associate's degree in safety or a four-year degree in any subject from an accredited college; have passed the Associate Safety Professional exams; have at least three years' professional experience; and successfully complete two exams.

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; the two CAS Online Courses; credit by Validation by Educational Experience for the required topics of economics, corporate finance, and applied statistical methods; and the newly instituted CAS Course on Professionalism--as well as successfully complete Exams 7-9.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

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 education institution with a curriculum registered with the CFP Board. Regardless of program type, the curriculum taught must be equivalent to at least 15 semester credit hours. Generally, the course work in a certificate level program can be completed in 18 to 24 months. The 10-hour exam is divided into three sessions.

CFA Institute

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, or have four years of qualified professional work experience. They have successfully completed three sequential, six-hour examinations over at least two years. In addition, they have worked as an investment professional for at least three years. That work experience may be prior, concurrent or subsequent to exam completion. Candidates must maintain membership in good standing with the CFA Institute. The institute estimates candidates will need 10 to 15 hours per week for 18 weeks to prepare adequately for the Level I or the Level II examination. The minimum time needed to sequentially pass all three exams is 18 months. On average, it takes about four years to earn the CFA charter.

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 I

CAIA: Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst

Description: This designation is for individuals specializing in alternative investments. Covering hedge funds, real estate, private equity, commodities and managed futures, the CAIA charter demonstrates professionalism and command of Al's unique fundamentals.

Qualifications: A 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 I uses investment analytics to examine the fundamentals of each alternative asset class and includes studies in standards and ethics. Level II applies these analytics within an asset allocation and decision-making framework.

Insurance Data Management Association

idma org

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, and four courses from the CPCU or LOMA or SOFE or CAS curriculum; then successful completion of eight examinations.

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 and complete four additional courses: three required and one optional course, through either the LOMA or The American College curricula. Candidates must pass a series of exams after each segment. For most examinations, two to 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; 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 course track requires candidates to first earn CEBS certification in three areas of specialization: Group Benefits Associate (three courses); Retirement Plans Associate (three courses); and Compensation Management Specialist (three courses). To earn the full CEBS designation, eligible candidates must then successfully complete eight courses (six mandatory, two elective) and pass a two-hour exam at a computer-based testing location.

Investment Management Consultants Association

CIMA: Certified Investment Management Analyst

Description: This program offers advanced expertise in asset allocation, manager search and selection, investment policy and performance measurement.

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 for course studies, and then must pass a certification exam before receiving a CIMA designation.

CPWA: Chartered Private Wealth Adviser

Description: The designation will certify financial advisers who work with high-net-worth clients.

Qualifications: The designation requires five years' experience in a client-centered position in the financial services industry, and a bachelor's degree or at least one of six other professional designations. Course work involves about six months of study in 10 subject areas, and concludes with a week of classroom instruction at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. 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. Course work 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. 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. 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 for insurance and financial services professionals provides key knowledge of how this complex industry operates and an individual's role in the industry's continued strength in the global economy.

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 CLU, ChFC, CFP or CTFA designation; have at least five years' experience; and have successfully completed two graduate-level courses administered by The American College.

National Association of Insurance Women

CPIW/M: Certified Professional Insurance Woman/Man

Description: This designation certifies 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 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 Certified Professional Insurance Woman/Man designation for at least three years and held continuous membership in the sponsoring organization for at least the preceding five years.

Qualifications: Among the ways to earn the DAE: 25 hours of insurance or continuing education; professional development courses

either as student or teacher; or one class leading to an industry designation either as a student or a teacher.

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 or insurance license. Must have an NASD Series 6, 7, 65, 66 or 24 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 tests; five PLUS Curriculum elective modules and passage of five exams; and minimum of two years in the 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: The preliminary S0A examinations provide an understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts and how they are applied, with recognition of the dynamic nature of these fundamental concepts. In addition, a set of computer-based modules exposes a broad range of techniques the actuary can recognize and identify as to their application and inherent limitations.

Qualifications: Eligible candidates will have successfully completed five examinations, three courses validated by educational experience, a series of online modules and exercises, and a professionalism course.

CERA: Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst

Description: Curriculum encompasses a comprehensive demonstration of enterprise risk management. CERAs are qualified for risk-management leadership positions in many organizations including insurance, benefits, financial services, energy, manufacturing, transportation and health care.

Qualifications: Candidates successfully complete five examinations, as well as an educational module and professionalism course. Completing the CERA curriculum takes an estimated three to four years, and successful candidates will also become Associates of the Society of Actuaries.

FSA: Fellow, Society of Actuaries

Description: Fellowship candidates choose a specialty track and complete the requirements of that track, which include financial risk of life insurance, health programs, retirement systems, enterprise risk management, finance or investment specialties.

Qualifications: The FSA designation is achieved by completing the ASA requirements plus e-learning courses and modules, validation of educational experiences outside the SOA Education system, a professionalism seminar and one of five Specialty Track curricula. Candidates must also complete the Fellowship Admissions Course and the Decision-making and Communications modules.

Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators

ITP: Insurance Training Professional

Description: This designation recognizes excellence in professional trainers. Requires both training and insurance experience and knowledge.

Qualifications: Eligible candidates must be members of the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators. 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.

NOTE TO READERS: The designations listed here are a sample of 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.
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Title Annotation:Agent/Broker: Professional Designations
Publication:Best's Review
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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