The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives, especially our work lives. Many organizations conduct meetings using videoconferencing software, rather than having people gather in person. This adjustment has meant that students pursuing insurance designations have probably lost the ability to attend in-person classes.
There is good news for these students: For now, at least, the education providers that offer the major designations have made it possible to take their courses online.
The Institutes administers several popular property-casualty insurance designations such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Accredited Customer Service Representative. Their website advertises the CPCU and Associate in Risk Management (ARM) programs as “entirely online.” For an additional cost, students may supplement the online content with a printed course book. Other designations, such as ACSR, may require independent study or attendance at live classes, though many of them are currently virtual because of health concerns. Some state agents’ associations offer these classes; check with them to see when and how they provide them. Visit https://web.theinstitutes.org to find out more.
The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research is the administrator for the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Certified Risk Manager (CRM) and Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designations. Students may obtain these designations by attending online classes, either live or recorded. The online courses can be self-paced or instructor-led, depending on the student’s preference.They continue to offer the in-person class option for those who feel comfortable with that format. Any online examinations taken for state continuing education credit must be proctored. Information is available at www.scic.com.
The American College of Financial Services is presently offering in-person classes for only one designation – Financial Services Certified Professional (FSCP). It’s other popular programs, such as Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification, are delivered either through self-study or webinars. The self-study option gives students access to a learning management system with additional reading, practice exams, audio and video reviews, and discussion boards. Live and recorded webinars are available for the FSCP, CLU, ChFC and CFP programs. The College’s Personal Pathway learning model allows students to learn at their own pace, either on structured or self-paced schedules. Exams are administered at local testing centers. Find out more at www.theamericancollege.edu.
The Institute of WorkComp Professionals offers its Certified WorkComp Advisor institute (CWCA) as an on-demand virtual training course, through live interactive online presentations, or at in-person sessions. The Certified WorkComp Specialist institute for support staff is delivered only online, while the Master WorkComp Advisor institute is on an in-person basis only. Find out more at www.workcompprofessionals.com.
None of the organizations’ websites indicate that the online options will be going away anytime soon. It appears that, if and when the pandemic eases, aspiring insurance professionals will be able to choose online study options if they wish. The need for in-depth insurance knowledge is greater now than ever, with traditional products such as commercial general liability becoming more complex and new coverages (cyber, active shooter, parametric) coming on the market. There is no better time for producers to increase their knowledge and increase their value to agencies and customers by earning these well-respected designations. With online learning, there’s no reason to let the pandemic keep that from happening.