Overview of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) Designation

CLU Certification (Chartered Life Underwriter) is an advanced program in life insurance that helps candidates understand estate planning and wealth transfer. It is very often taken as an addon certification by accountants, wealth managers and financial planners. According to The American College which offers this certification, course work has five required and three electives. The five required courses are:

  1. Fundamentals of Insurance Planning:  Risk management and insurance, insurance industry operations, legal principles pertaining to this industry, and regulation of insurers; Social insurance, life insurance and annuities, medical and disability income insurance, long-term care insurance and personal property and liability insurance; Overview of commercial property and liability insurance and a case study.
  2. Individual Life Insurance: Life insurance policies and annuities available for the personal needs of individuals and their use in financial planning. Individual insurance products and insurance reserves regulation; Insurance company organization, operations and investments.
  3. Life Insurance Law: Legal rights and obligations of the policy owner and the insurance company; Dispute resolution between insured’s and insurers and general principles of the judicial process; Legal aspects of life insurance, basic principles of contract law; policy provisions and the incontestable clause; assignments, ownership rights and creditor rights; beneficiary designations and disposition of proceeds; the law of agency; and advertising and privacy issues.
  1. Fundamentals of Estate Planning: Estate and gift tax planning, including the nature, valuation, transfer, administration and taxation of property, estate and gift tax system, including strategies of estate planning; Gratuitous transfers of property outright or with trusts, wills and powers of appointment; use of the marital deduction; valuation of assets; and buy-sell agreements; client interview, fact finding, ethical standards and development of personal estate plans.
  2. Planning for Business Owners and Professionals: Tax and legal aspects of organizing a business; compensation planning for the business owner; business succession planning; buy-sell agreements; estate planning and estate freezing techniques; methods for transferring a family business; lifetime disposition of a business interest

The electives a candidate can choose from include:

  1. Financial Planning: Process and Environment
  2. Individual Health Insurance
  3. Income Taxation
  4. Group Benefits
  5. Planning for retirement needs
  6. Investments
  7. Estate Planning Applications

In order to attain the CLU designation a candidate must complete the required course work. She must also complete her experience requirement, which includes three years full time business experience within five years of being awarded the certification. If a candidate has an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited educational institution this would qualify as one year of business experience. If the individual has part-time qualifying business experience, 2000 hours would be the equivalent of one year full-time experience. Business activities that can be included for the certification are:

  • Insurance and health care
  • Field underwriting and management, including sales and service activities, supervision and management of persons involved in sales or services, or staff support of persons in these activities.
  • Company management and operations in positions involving substantial responsibility
  • Financial services and employee benefits
  • Client service and related management, including direct contact with clients, supervision and management of persons involved directly in the process of providing financial services or employee benefits, or staff support of persons in these activities.
  • Financial institution management and operations in positions involving substantial responsibility.
  • University or college teaching of subjects related to the Huebner School curriculum on a full-time basis at an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Government regulatory service in a responsible administrative, supervisory, or operational capacity.
  • Work of actuaries, attorneys, CPAs, investment advisers, real estate investment advisers, stockbrokers, trust officers, or persons in other similar occupations

The candidate seeking CLU certification must abide by its Code of Ethics of the Huebner School. The professional pledge states:

  • Conduct yourself at all times with honor and dignity.
  • Avoid practices that would bring dishonor upon your profession or The American College.
  • Publicize your achievements in ways that enhance the integrity of your profession.
  • Continue your studies throughout your working life so as to maintain a high level of professional competence.
  • Do your utmost to attain a distinguished record of professional service.
  • Support the established institutions and organizations concerned with the integrity of your profession.
  • Participate in building your profession by encouraging and providing appropriate assistance to qualified persons pursuing professional studies.
  • Comply with all laws and regulations, particularly as they relate to professional and business activities.

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