Best Certifications For The Insurance Industry

Have you ever looked at an insurance agent’s business card and noticed several abbreviations following their name? If you’re an insurance agent, you already know these abbreviations represent the various designations the person has earned through advanced training and education. While some certifications may take several years to earn and require tremendous effort, each one demonstrates your expertise in a given subject related to the insurance industry.
The particular designations you may want to pursue will be heavily influenced by the type of insurance you’re licensed to sell. There’s not much point in a property and casualty insurance agent pursuing the Disability Healthcare Professional or DHP certification, for instance, since they don’t sell disability insurance. While some designations like the DHP certification relate to specific types of insurance, others are relevant to multiple kinds of coverage.

What is an Insurance Certification?

An insurance certification is a professional designation earned by insurance professionals to show their mastery of insurance concepts. Certifications are offered by insurance organizations and insurance industry associations. Earning a certification can help insurance professionals advance their careers and improve their knowledge of the insurance industry.

There are many different insurance certifications available to insurance professionals. Some popular certifications include the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation, and the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation.

There are many other insurance certifications available to insurance professionals. Some popular certifications include the Certified Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation, and the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation.

Which insurance certification is right for you? That depends on your insurance career goals and what you want to learn.
Each of these designations has different requirements, including education, experience, and examination. Be sure to check the requirements of each designation before you begin the certification process.

Widely Recognized Certifications for Insurance

Even though some certifications for insurance are more widely recognized and common than others, the coursework required to earn every designation available to insurance agents is designed to advance your knowledge. In other words, continuing your education by pursuing a chosen designation will not be a waste of your time or resources.

Here are some of the insurance industry certifications you may want to earn to expand your knowledge about certain aspects of insurance coverage and the insurance industry:

CPCU: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter

This is one of the most coveted and respected certifications available in the property and casualty insurance arena. In essence, this designation is the equivalent of getting a Master’s Degree in property and casualty coverage. You must have a minimum of two years of acceptable experience in the insurance industry to enter the program for this certification.

This designation’s program includes four foundational classes, an elective course, and three classes that focus on personal or commercial lines of coverage. To earn this certification, you’ll also have to pass the Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals exam or finish the Foundations of Risk Management, Insurance, and Professionalism material. You’ll have to adhere to the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct.

CIC: Certified Insurance Counselor

The Certified Insurance Counselor certification has been one of the insurance industry’s most prized designations since 1969. The coursework for this designation includes material that discusses personal, commercial property and casualty, life, and health insurance as well as agency management. To earn this highly-valued certification, you must complete five CIC “institutes,” or four institutes and a Certified Risk Manager class, and pass every exam within five years. If you fail to keep up with mandated continuing education requirements, you will lose the CIC designation.

CRM: Certified Risk Manager

Earning this designation shows that you have expertise in identifying, analyzing, controlling, financing, and administering many different kinds of risks. To receive this certification, you must complete five classes, each of which takes several days to finish, and pass the related exams within a pre-determined time period.

CLP: Certified Leadership Professional

The material you’ll need to master to receive this designation is designed to improve your management, mentoring, and motivational skills in the context of career development. To earn this leadership designation, you’ll have to complete four modules that discuss 17 different topics. You also have to be an active member in the International Association of Insurance Professionals. You’re eligibility to keep this certification is reviewed every other year.

CIRMS: Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist

Earning this designation shows that you have an expert level of risk management capabilities as they relate to the community association insurance niche. You must have at least five years of experience in the community association insurance market before you can pursue this certification. Once you receive this designation, you’ll have to abide by the CIRMS Code of Ethics in order to keep it.

AINS: Associate in General Insurance

The AINS designation is offered through the insurance industry’s leading professional development organization, the Insurance Institute of America (IIA). The designation is designed for insurance professionals with less than three years of experience. The program provides you with a general understanding of insurance principles and practices.

Why get an insurance certification?

There are many reasons why insurance agents should consider pursuing one or more insurance designations. Earning a designation demonstrates to clients and employers that you are serious about your career and your industry knowledge. Furthermore, insurance designations signify that you have mastered specific insurance-related topics and are capable of providing sound advice to clients on a variety of insurance-related matters. In addition, insurance designations can help you advance your career by opening up new opportunities for advancement and earning potential.

What to expect after you get your insurance certification

After you pass your insurance certification exam and receive your insurance designation, you can expect to:

  • Have a greater understanding of insurance concepts and how they apply to specific situations
  • Be better equipped to provide insurance advice to clients
  • Have access to new career opportunities
  • Earn a higher salary


Insurance certifications are an excellent way for insurance agents to demonstrate their industry knowledge, make more money and find better career opportunities.

After passing your insurance certification exam and receiving your designation, you can expect to have an increased understanding of insurance concepts and how they apply in specific situations. You will also be able to provide clients with sound advice on various insurance-related matters such as insurance coverage or personal risk management.

With so many benefits associated with obtaining a designated certificate in the insurance field, it’s no wonder that there are over 17 different insurance designations out there!