by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC CeFT RSP CLTC
So what is the significance of all that alphabet soup after your structured settlement broker or settlement planner's name? Why should you care?
The designation of Chartered Life Underwriter ("CLU") is a professional designation (granted by the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA) that has long been recognized as the foremost professional credential in the industry for life insurance professionals (life insurance category includes annuities). According to the American College, since the CLU designation was created in 1927, approximately 94,000 professionals worldwide have earned their CLU. I am proud to say that I am one of them. Candidates must pass a 10 course curriculum which includes the following :
- Types of insurance
- Individual life insurance
- Needs analysis, surrender options, and
illustrations; settlement options
- Net and gross premiums/reserves
- Surrender values, surplus, and dividends
- Impaired lives underwriting
- Formation of the contract
- Waiver, estoppel, and election
- Policy provisions
- Policy transfers
- Transfers of property at death
- Estate administration
- Lifetime transfers
- Federal estate and gift taxation
- Valuation of assets and buy-sell
- Computation of federal estate tax,
and income-tax issues
- Planning issues for business owners and professionals
The designation of Chartered Financial Consultant ("ChFC") remains the most extensive education available for professionals seeking a designation in financial planning. According to the American College, more than 41,000 professionals have attained the ChFC professional designation, enabling them to effectively apply a comprehensive financial planning process to their clients’ needs. I am proud to say that I am one of those professionals. The ChFC program includes all of the courses in the American College's CFP® Certification Curriculum, and builds on that knowledge with advanced coverage of estate, retirement, and financial planning applications.
The professional designation of Certified Structured Settlement Consultant ("CSSC") is a professional designation program of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA), in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame. Settlement professionals earn the CSSC in recognition of their successful completion of more than 60 hours of course study along with their passing a comprehensive examination covering such topics as insurance casualty claims practice, state and federal laws pertaining to tort settlements, medical reversionary, special needs and other types of trusts, macroeconomics, the art of negotiation and business ethics. Several hundred settlement professionals world wide have earned the CSSC professional designation. I am proud to say that I am one of those professionals.
Other settlement industry professionals may have have legal degrees such as the Juris Doctor ("J.D."), or other professional designations such as the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter ("CPCU"), Chartered Advisor in Senior Living ("CASL") or may be registered with the National Association of Securities Dealers as a Series, 6, 7, 63 or 66. I will cover these and other in another post.
Why should you care? Furthering his or her education is an admirable goal for a settlement professional who you are thinking of retaining to serve you or your client. Structured settlement brokerage and settlement planning are highly specialized sub-industries that are part of the larger financial services industry. The business has always had and always will have dynamic characterisrics and it's important that the person you choose is up to date.
***CLU, CHFC, MSFS and CASL are registered trademarks of The American College. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner in the U.S.A., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.