A chartered insurance professional is a certification awarded to Canadian insurance professionals by the Canadian Insurance Institute (CII). Insurance professionals seeking this designation are expected to join their local branch of the CII and have at least a year's experience in the insurance industry before their election as chartered insurance professionals. There is a significant education requirement as well: candidates are generally required to take ten different classes on a variety of subjects in the property and casualty segment of the insurance industry.
Professional certification has become a preferred alternative to governmental regulation in many fields, especially those connected to the financial services industry. Some certifications are unique to individual countries; for example, the chartered insurance professional is a designation awarded to Canadian insurance professionals, while a certified financial planner is a professional operating in the U.S. who has completed a rigorous load of instruction and examinations. Some designations, such as the chartered financial analyst, are international in scope. In most cases, these professional designations are sought-after by professionals because they provide professional credibility, whether dealing with other professionals or with prospects and clients.
Canadian insurance professionals just entering the field may, at their option, elect to earn the general insurance essentials (GIE) certificate, which is a two-course program. Professionals who earn this certificate are exempted from one of the courses required for the chartered insurance professional designation.
The combination of academic instruction, rigorous examinations and career-level experience required for the chartered insurance professional designation in Canada is similar in structure to the requirements of other professional certifications worldwide, and is reflected in the earnings of those who have such certification. The designation, as a mid-level step up the professional ladder from an insurance sales license and the GIE, provides a measurable benefit to its holders: a chartered insurance professional's annual compensation often is is close to one and a half times the salary an insurance sales agent without the designation can expect.
Upon achieving the chartered insurance professional designation, many Canadian insurance professionals begin work to achieve the next level: the fellow chartered insurance professional designation. This designation builds on the body of knowledge already established by the chartered insurance professional designation and, upon completion, is evidence of a high degree of proficiency in all matters related to property and casualty insurance. Holders of these designations are more likely to be invited to consult on complex insurance arrangements, giving them the experience necessary to become promoted to senior leadership positions within their companies.