It is certainly no secret that we are huge fans of continuing education and that both of us are CPCUs. We get lots of questions about which designation(s) to get, especially between CPCU and CIC. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Valued differently depending on area of the industry:
CPCU is more highly valued in the carrier world while CIC is better recognized in the agency world. So if you’re a carrier employee who deals mostly with fellow carrier employees, CPCU is your best bet. On the other hand if you’re an agent, sales manager, or someone else who deals with agents a lot and needs credibility with them and to better understand their world, then CIC is the way to go.
2. Level of academic rigor:
We have heard that CPCU is more academically rigorous, CIC is more practical especially when it comes to teaching you how agencies actually operate.
3. Self-study vs classroom:
CPCU can be done by self-study and as slowly or as quickly as you want, while CIC requires you to go to five 2.5 day classes, in person and then answer an essay test on the last day. This makes it complicated because you have to get support from your company to be absent for 2.5 days for each of the classes. The class will teach you everything you need to know for the test.
Update: Recently CIC has added the option of taking their classes online.
4. Test types:
CPCU is all multiple choice and has online practice tests very similar to the real test while CIC is essay based.
CPCU is very centralized with the same textbooks, practice guides, and tests used throughout the country while CIC is taught with presentations and texts created by the local lecturers who then grade the essay tests, so quality can vary widely in different regions.
6. Continuing Education Requirements:
6. CPCU currently has no continuing education requirements (although this is likely to change soon) while CIC requires you to take an additional class each year to keep your CIC.
7. CPCU gives you access to the CPCU Society which is the biggest professional group in the industry including local chapters, national events twice a year, and interest groups dealing with specific areas of the industry.
Keynote speaker Magic Johnson at the 2014 CPCU Society Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
8. Level of social involvement:
CPCU is a mostly solitary pursuit because it’s self-study, but it becomes very social once you finish and start going to society meetings which give you amazing networking opportunities. In addition, some companies or local society chapters may offer classes or study groups, so if you work better with social pressure, we suggest seeking out an opportunity like this.
9. In person classes:
CIC is more social since the classes are mandatorily in person, creating a great networking opportunity with some of the more ambitious agents in your area.
10. Both CPCU and CIC are great investments in your insurance career, and you will never regret doing either or both of them!