an insurance agent researching which insurance designations matter most

Every insurance agent wants to market themselves in the best way possible, as that helps attract the most clients. One of the first ways to market yourself is by considering what insurance designations to work toward.

Clients will feel that the more designations you have, the more qualified you are to help them. But which designations should you work on first? Prioritize your efforts by focusing on the insurance designations that matter the most.

Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI)

The AAI program is a collaboration between the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and the Insurance Institute of America. To gain the AAI credential, agents must pass three tests. Those with this insurance designation use it as a comprehensive commercial insurance designation. It lets the agent work with casualty and property lines, customer service, and underwriting.

Association in General Insurance (AINS)

You can receive this insurance designation from the Insurance Institute of America. Those with this designation have knowledge of liability and general property insurance, with a focus on commercial or personal lines – the area you focus on is up to you.

You complete three exams to receive this designation, but there is more flexibility with these exams than other designations. Everyone who earns the AINS designation must complete an exam on personal or commercial lines and another on liability and property insurance policies. In addition to the choice of commercial or personal lines for one test, you also get to choose from around 39 topics for the third test.

Association in Risk Management (ARM)

This is an insurance designation ideal for those working in risk management, and the Insurance Institute of America offers it. In the process of earning this certification, insurance agents learn about the science of risk management. They also develop the skills and knowledge to avoid, manage, and reduce risk.

To receive the ARM designation, you must pass three exams. These cover risk financing, risk assessment, and risk management principles.

Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)

You can receive this designation from the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. It is a widely respected designation connected with real-world and practical education. As of a recent count, there are less than 32,000 people with this designation in the United States, giving it plenty of prestige.

To receive this designation, you need to pass five exams. They cover topics such as life and health, agency management, commercial property, commercial casualty, and personal lines.

Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)

Agents with this insurance designation manage life, personal, and commercial insurance accounts. To receive the designation, agents must show a comprehensive understanding of the various risks for individuals and companies.

Certified Risk Manager (CRM)

Any insurance agent who works in risk management should strive to get this insurance designation through the The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. A CRM has skills and knowledge related to managing risk, hazards, and loss exposures. A stand-out skill of CRMs is their additional knowledge regarding insurance language. Clients know that a CRM will be able to thoroughly understand their policy in a way that agents without this designation may not.

To receive this insurance designation, you will need to pass five exams. They cover control of risk, analysis of risk, principles of risk management, practice of risk management, and financing of risk. Before even taking those exams, a CRM must complete more than 120 hours of coursework.

Certified WorkComp Advisor (CWCA)

As the name implies, this insurance designation is an important one for companies dealing with workers’ compensation insurance. Given the prevalence of workers’ compensation insurance and claims, this is a useful designation. The designation comes from the Institute of WorkComp Professionals.

Those with this designation are experienced with preparing for premium audits, managing employee injuries, and experience modifiers. They are also equipped to help clients with timely claims management, HR advice for lowering workers’ comp costs and creating effective safety committees.

Certified WorkComp Specialist (CWCS)

There is also a CWCS designation that qualifies agents to manage commercial accounts. These professionals have knowledge and experience dealing with claims management, experience modifiers, and audits. They also provide workers’ compensation education to clients and the employees of their clients.

Charter Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)

This is easily the most respected and sought-after designation in insurance. Only about 4% of those in the industry hold it, and if you do, you are almost guaranteed to get a management role and higher salary.

The Insurance Institute of America offers this designation to those who pass eight exams. Those exams cover property-liability insurance, financial planning, business law, insurance operations, and risk management.

Other Designations

While the above are the most respected insurance designations, they are far from the only ones. Other key designations include Associate in Personal Insurance (API), Professional Commercial Insurance Advisor (PCIA), Qualified Employee Benefits Specialist (QEBS), Qualified Commercial Lines Specialist (QCLS), and Qualified Personal Lines Specialist (QPLS).

The more designations you can add to your title, the better it will reflect on your abilities as an insurance agent and help you attract more clients. It is also smart to look for agents with designations when hiring.