What is the CPCU®?

CPC designation

There are a number of worthwhile insurance designations in the property casualty insurance industry to help employees advance their career, but only one that is considered the premier property casualty designation. The CPCU® designation, or Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, is the most prestigious designation in the property casualty insurance industry, held by only about 4% of all property casualty employees and often referred to as the “CPA of the insurance industry”. This insurance designation covers nearly all property casualty insurance topics, giving CPCU® designation holders the advanced insurance knowledge and expertise required to effectively advance their careers in terms of management capability and salary growth.

A survey conducted by PayScale.com noted that out of 173 CPCU® designation holders, all 173 rated the CPCU® a 5 out of 5 for satisfaction and the majority of insurance brokers holding this designation earn over $100,000 in annual salary.

Who Should Pursue the CPCU®?

This unique designation should be pursued by those interested in entering the property casualty field and by those currently employed in the property casualty industry who would like to advance their current knowledge and improve upon their current career position. Although I recommend these courses should be pursued by everyone in the insurance industry, the designation is most popular for underwriters, adjusters, agents, brokers, claims managers, risk managers and business analysts. The CPCU® designation is highly respected in the insurance world and can help anyone in the property casualty field gain the necessary skills and experience to reach that next level of employment while at the same time helping to build a more knowledgeable insurance industry.

Here’s more info about the salary you can earn with your CPCU® designation.

How to Earn the CPCU® Designation

The CPCU® designation is achieved after the completion of a series of eight exams and an ethics requirement course. The exams include: four foundation courses, three personal lines or commercial lines courses, and one elective course. The sequence in which theses exams are taken does not matter, the individual may choose the exam order depending on their interests or background.

These courses cover a wide array of topics and advanced subjects used in our day to day jobs such as risk management, underwriting, loss exposure analysis, property-casualty insurance, coverage options, insurance law, managing insurance operations, and much more

Foundation Courses

These courses are required for both the Personal and Commercial CPCU®

Personal Lines Courses

These three courses are required for the personal lines CPCU®

Commercial Lines Courses

These three courses are required for the commercial lines CPCU®

Elective Courses

Only one elective course is required. There is a wide array of courses that count as an elective credit including:

  • CPCU® 560
  • AAI™ 83
  • AIC™ 31
  • AIC™ 32
  • ARE™ 144
  • ARM™ 56
  • AU™ 67
  • ERM™ 57

In addition to the CPCU® designation, those working in personal insurance may also be interested in the Associate in Personal Insurance Designation (API™), which is only one extra exam and is considered to be much easier than the CPCU® exams.

Studying for the CPCU®

The Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter exams are TOUGH. It is no easy task to complete this insurance designation, which is why only the best of the best earn their CPCU®. The industry recommends about 2-3 months of studying per exam and about 2-4 years to complete the coursework to achieve the designation.

Although that’s the industry recommended time, I see most people complete their exams in about a month. If you’re truly dedicated you can crank out your CPCU® within a year. I always recommend that people study an hour a day on lunch break or before work. Just an hour a day for 2-3 weeks should be plenty of time for you to pass your exam.

Be sure to check with your employer before you get started, as most employers will pay for your study material and exams. Here are more tips on how to reduce the cost of the CPCU® designation.

Benefits of Continuing Insurance Education

Continuing insurance education is necessary to continue providing the best insurance service to our customers. In the growing insurance industry it is our job to better ourselves with additional education in order to fully understand every aspect of the insurance product so that we can confidently answer any and every question faced in our day to day lives.

Senior managers highly recommend pursing additional education opportunities and insurance designations. Pursing additional education shows management that you are proactive in advancing your career and capable of handling and balancing a multitude of difficulty tasks.

How a CPCU® Designation Can Help Your Agency


The biggest benefit to earning your CPCU® is confidence. Confidence in your insurance operations and confidence that you can guarantee your customers the most knowledgeable insurance advice. The CPCU® coursework covers a wide array of all property-casualty topics ensuring that you fully understand all aspects of property-casualty insurance.

In addition to personal confidence, the CPCU® insurance designation provides confidence and peace of mind to your customers and stakeholders in knowing that you have put in the time and effort to provide the best insurance service possible.

There is really no downside to pursuing the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation or any of the many insurance designations. Improving your insurance knowledge should be a daily goal of the insurance professional. Not only does it help you personally build a better business and career, but it helps to build a better insurance industry.

This blog post was originally posted to insuranceagents.com as a guest blog post by AssociatePI.

Free Practice Exam

Ready to get started studying? We’re here to help (for free). Download one of our free CPCU® practice exams to get a feel for the type of content you will be studying.

Download: Free Practice Exam (CPCU® | ARM™ | AINS™ | API™)

More Information

For more information about the CPCU® designation checkout some of our other free resources:


CPCU® exams are administered by the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (“The Institutes”). AssociatePI does not administer the actual exams, we are an independent resource of free content, advice, and study material for professional insurance education. This blog is intended for informational purposes only, to inform prospective students of the benefit of the CPCU® designation.

CPCU® and API are trademarks of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (“The Institutes”). AssociatePI LLC is not affiliated with, associated with, endorsed by or otherwise supported or recognized by The Institutes in any way. AssociatePI LLC is not authorized by The Institutes to offer courses, practice examinations, or any other resources related to the Institutes’ designations or other programs.

For further information, please email contact@associatepi.com.


Download your free CPCU®, ARM™, or API™ practice exam.