What is a Chartered Life Underwriter?

A Chartered Life Underwriter is a financial services practitioner who has met high standards of excellence to specialize in the sale of life insurance policies. As the industry’s oldest credential, the CLU title has been bestowed upon over 106,000 individuals since 1927. Chartered Life Underwriters are certified for their advanced knowledge on the organization, operations, and risk management of life insurance companies. Earning the prized CLU designation from the American College of Financial Services has a total package cost of $4,560. Devoting the four months required to courses and testing pays off though since salaries are up to 31 percent higher than Certified Financial Planners’ income. Senior CLU professionals have a median pay of $133,000. If you’re considering applying, here’s everything you should know about Chartered Life Underwriters beforehand.

What Chartered Life Underwriters Do

Underwriters achieving the CLU credential focus their careers on determining the risk involved with extending life insurance policies to clients. They carefully analyze data like age, medical history, and financial credit to screen whether clients’ applications are worthy of coverage. Chartered Life Underwriters possess the high-tech skills to use computing software that calculates individuals’ life expectancy and sets the right premium price for carrier profit. Underwriters help minimize the gamble of extending policies from $100,000 to $1 million or more. If clients are rejected, they’ll offer guidance finding an insurance solution with underwriting standards that they’ll meet. CLUs may also help older adults make legal decisions for their estate, including trust arrangements.

Where Chartered Life Underwriters Work

The Bureau of Labor Statistics depicts that the United States currently employs 91,650 underwriters with the highest employment levels in New York, California, Georgia, and Texas. Nearly half of CLUs work directly for insurance carriers. Some of the largest life insurance companies include MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, Prudential, State Farm, Allstate, and Lincoln National. Investopedia reports that the 900+ life insurers nationwide generate around $147 billion yearly. Chartered Life Underwriters could also find jobs with banks, loan brokerages, securities firms, government enterprises, and anywhere else selling life insurance. CLUs generally work full-time in a comfortable office setting with significant time spent assessing risks behind the computer.

How to Become a Chartered Life Underwriter

Building a financial services career as a CLU begins with attending an accredited business school to receive a bachelor’s degree. The American College accepts any major, but having prerequisite courses in insurance, finance, economics, statistics, and risk management is essential. Chartered Life Underwriters need to have at least one year or 2,000 hours of full-time business experience. Hopeful applicants then must complete eight, self-paced certification webinars that range from life insurance law to estate planning and income taxation for 24 credits. There’s a required closed-book, proctored final exam for each module that must be graded 70 or higher. Chartered Life Underwriters must also recertify every two years with 30 continuing education credits.

Although all of America’s baby boomer cohort will be over age 65 by 2009, CLUs are dealing with a sluggish job market. Automated software is unfortunately reducing the number of practitioners needed to manually input and calculate data to conclude on client risk. The BLS predicts a decline of 11,700 underwriting jobs through 2024. Nonetheless, underwriters are still needed to appraise whether automated insurance suggestions are wholly accurate. Adding a credential like Chartered Life Underwriter to your finance resume can enhance your marketability and salary potential.