What is a Chartered Insurance Professional?

Dale Marshall
Dale Marshall
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Man climbing a rope

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.

Discussion Comments


@miriam98 - I don’t know about an institute as such, but insurance underwriting requires education and certification in the United States just as much as it does in Canada.

You have to take courses where they teach you about risk management, contracts and laws and stuff like that. No one gets into this business just by putting up their shingle.

However, I get the impression that the Canadian certification credential is more rigorous than what you would find anywhere else.


@allenJo - You don’t need fancy certifications to deliver commercial auto insurance. You may need it to work on casualty and property insurance, which is the point of the article. This is not the domain of online do it yourself type of research. You need someone who understands the complexities of commercial and real estate law in my opinion.

I am curious why something like a chartered insurance institute does not exist in the United States as well. I would expect there to be a comparable governing body in the United States that would confer the same level of certification.


@NathanG - That may be, from the professional’s perspective. However from the consumer’s perspective I don’t know that it really makes all that much of a difference.

Nowadays most consumers are taking it upon themselves to do the research for insurance. For example it’s common for people to go online to look up an automobile insurance quote.

Ultimately I don’t think the consumer is all that concerned whether the representative is certified or not. They just want to get the best insurance that they can get at the best possible price. They may not even care if the insurance professional is degreed much less chartered or certified in anyway.


In addition to the higher salary I think that a chartered insurance professional can work as an independent agent as opposed to being forced to work for one company.

I think most insurance agents work for a single company, but there are the proverbial free agents out there. They can operate independently and compare and contrast different insurance policies to offer the best policy to the customer.

Their pay is commission based and of course it can vary depending on the policy. But I think ultimately their certification will give them more credibility when recommending a certain policy than if they didn’t have the certification.

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