The CPCU® Designation

The CPCU® or Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation is the premier designation in the property casualty insurance industry. The CPCU® is one of the top 5 insurance designation that you can pursue. This designation is held by only about 4% of the insurance industry and covers wide array of insurance topics including property insurance, auto insurance, liability insurance, insurance law, risk management, and personal insurance operations.

CPCU® designation holders gain the necessary skills and experience needed to quickly move into management positions and often see an immediate career improvement along with salary increase. According to, those which hold their CPCU® earn as much as $174,000 per year in annual salary and according to a study by the CPCU® Society, 30% of those holding their CPCU® earn more than their peers.

Who Should Pursue the CPCU® Designation?

CPCUs are considered to be property-casualty insurance experts. This insurance designation is most popular for underwriters, agents, brokers, claims managers, risk managers, and business analysts but can be pursued by all insurance professionals in the property-casualty field. The CPCU® is a sought after insurance designation which is highly respected within the industry. Any representative of an insurer will be highly regarded for pursuing their CPCU® as this designation helps the insurance professional improve their overall insurance knowledge while advancing their career and building a more knowledgeable insurance industry.

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 CPCU® 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®. Using the AssociatePI courses, we recommend studying about 1 hour per day (during lunch break works best!) for 2-3 weeks. This means it should take you about 8-12 months to earn your CPCU®. The industry recommended study time per exam is three months per exam or 2 – 4 years to earn the CPCU® designation.

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.

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