Captive agent restrictions are what causes most insurance agents to break away from the career agency system. It is outrageous for a Brokerage Insurance Company to try to enforce independent insurance brokers to comply with some ridiculous restraints on CE, continuing education. Check out constraints limiting independent achievement and see how they could backfire.
There is a two-faced insurance company saying it actively promotes continuing education, but is disregarding and discounting over 80 financial, health, and life designations as being virtually worthless. They are so twisted on this subject that the INDEPENDENT insurance brokers that sell their products, are restricted in using only use a list of 16 approved insurance designations in any association with this company. This means this independent broker must carry two different business cards, or have stationary designed differently. The one business card must only contain the earned agent’s designations recognized by this insurance company. His or her other business card can carry all the credentials they care to mention.
This particular insurance company should be properly renamed “Old Captive Handcuffs Insurance Company.” 25 years ago, only six of the approved designations were of common knowledge. Three of those reflect minor impact on independent agent professionalism. First of these three is the designation “LUTCF”, this is like getting a driver’s permit, before being thought of as a qualified driver. Thousands of new agents acquire this easy to obtain designation, and are out of the business before putting it on their business card. Insurance professionals with other earned designations prefer keeping LUTCF off their business correspondence. FLMI is still a designation few heavy insurance writers care to earn. It stands for Fellow Life Management Associate and is commonly received by insurance home office officials. The third is CPU, which you know is Certified Public Account. Years ago few CPAs sold insurance, and their numbers among the insurance ranks today is slim.
I agree that CLU, Certified Life Underwriter, ChFC, Chartered Financial Consultant, CFP, Certified Financial Planner, along with RHU, Registered Health Underwriter are highly prized designations to hold. This insurer lists CPCU, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter that is obtained by an above average agent writing commercial business, auto, and homeowners. What the heck does this title have to do with this Life Insurance Company?
Other permitted designations are either relatively new or obscure. These remaining are MSFS meaning Master of Science in Financial Planning, CEBS signifying Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, CASL noting Chartered Advisor for Senior Living, CPC standing for Certified Pension Consultant, CRPC associated with Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, CFA referring to Certified Financial Analyst, CRPS for Charter Retirement Plans Specialist, and finally REBC recognized as Registered Employee Benefits Consultant.
The problem is thinking some continuing education is superior, and other is worthless. ALL continuing education is important. Besides non-degree courses, there are over 90 insurance designations and growing. The more agents learn, the more they will earn. Two designations that are very noteworthy and distinguished are missing. The two are RFP, standing for Registered Financial Planner, and CLTC, Certified in Long Term Care. These designations are very coveted among experienced independent insurance agents involved in total financial planning. I rate them far superior to over half the “accepted” designations of this insurance company.
Intelligent Independent Insurance Agents should rebel against any insurance company trying to impose captive agent restrictions. Too many great insurance companies would never implement boundaries handicapping CE. Especially when this takes away what the entire insurance industry needs. That is having clients feeling more trustworthy of agents. This is achieved by agents and independents who are highly educated with continuing insurance education.