Education: CIC - Iowa

The Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) program is a nationally acclaimed professional designation program for property-casualty insurance professionals. 

The CIC program is more advanced than the typical insurance continuing education program, but it steers clear of arcane, theoretical information, focusing instead on practical knowledge that is intended to enhance your career and improve your organization's bottom line. 

Whether you are attending continuing education courses because you have to, or you are attending to improve your knowledge and enhance your professional growth, you can't go wrong with the CIC program. You gain knowledge, prestige, continuing ed credit, and the competitive edge!

CIC Iowa's schedule:

  • Registration begins at 7:30 am on Wednesday.
  • Class is from 8:00 am - 5:30 pm Wednesday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm on Thursday. 8:00 am - 12:00 pm on Friday with a two hour optional exam from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm.
  • All participants must present photo identification to the on-site registrar at the institute.

1. How do you earn the CIC designation?

You earn the CIC designation by attending five intensive CIC institutes in any order and passing the exam at the end of each institute. In case you are only interested in the knowledge gained or the continuing ed (CE) credits earned at a CIC institute, you do not have to take the exam. It is only required for those seeking to earn the CIC designation. 

The five CIC institutes are:

  1. Commercial Property (20 Gen IA/24 PC NE)
  2. Life & Health (20 Gen IA/ 24 Gen NE)
  3. Personal Lines (20 Gen IA/24 PC NE)
  4. Agency Management (16 Gen 4 Ethic IA/20 Gen 4 Ethic NE)
  5. Commercial Casualty (20 Gen IA/24 PC NE)

Each institute is two and a half days (20 hours of class time total.)

The Society of CIC has added the option of substituting any one part of the Certified Risk Manager (CRM) program for any one part of CIC. For example, someone who is very strong in commercial lines and averse to personal lines may want to take the Commercial Property, Commercial Casualty, Life & Health, and Agency Management CIC institutes, and instead of Personal Lines, take the CRM Principles of Risk Management course to complete their CIC designation.

2. Will CIC help me meet my state CE requirements?

The CIC program has been approved in all states that have mandatory continuing education. It makes CIC a great opportunity for you and your staff to meet CE requirements for your resident and non-resident licenses. 

In Nebraska, Personal Lines, Commercial Casualty, and Commercial Property each provides 24hrs of P/C CE credit with Life & Health providing 24hrs General CE credit. Agency Management provides a total of 20 General & 4 Ethics making it our most versatile CE course.

In Iowa, Personal Lines, Life & Health, Commercial Casualty and Commercial Property each provides 20hrs of General CE credit. Agency Management provides a total of 16 General and 4 Ethics making it our most versatile CE course.

Depending upon your knowledge and experience, it may be helpful to review material prior to institute attendance, if you are taking the CIC exam at the conclusion of the institute. See the CIC Study Guide.

3. Who is eligible to attend a CIC Institute?

If you fit into one of the following categories, you qualify to attend a CIC institute: agent, broker, consultant, licensed customer service rep (CSR), anyone with two years of insurance experience or two years as an insurance faculty member at a college or university. 

Some people may be eligible to attend a CIC institute, but not quite ready to attend. CIC exams are comprehensive and challenging. If you plan to take the exam, it may be a good idea to review the information in advance, especially for your very first CIC institute. While we cannot provide the CIC book in advance, we do have the CIC Study Guide to help you prepare.

4. Who should participate in the CIC program?

  • Agency owners
  • Agency producers 
  • Experienced agency staff 
  • Advanced customer service representatives (Note: CIC satisfies Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR), Certified Professional Service Representative (CPSR), and Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR) update requirements) 
  • Company underwriters 
  • Company branch managers 
  • Experienced company personnel 

5. How will CIC benefit my agency/company? 

  • Higher premiums due to higher level of knowledge 
  • Higher account retention 
  • Knowing the latest policy changes affecting your clients 
  • Learning the latest sales and cross-selling techniques 
  • More knowledgeable, professional staff 
  • Decreased E&O risk 
  • Affiliation with colleagues & associates 
  • Optimum use of state-required class attendance 
  • Meet staff CE needs for both resident & non-resident licenses 

6. How long do I have to complete the CIC designation?

At least five years, beginning with the first class that you pass. The Society of CIC gives you to the end of the year in question, so it is actually a little over five years. 
For example, if you took Personal Lines in October of 2009 and failed, then took Commercial Property in March of 2010 and passed, the Society would consider the beginning of your five years to be March of 2010. Therefore, your completion deadline would be December 31, 2015, which gives you five years and nine months from the date of your first pass.

You can always find out for sure when your personal completion deadline is by calling the Society of CIC at 800-531-5197.

7. Can I get the CIC book in advance?

No. CIC instructors provide us with outlines they prepare themselves (subject to Society approval), and we print the appropriate number of books just in time for the class.

8. Is there any way to prepare in advance for a CIC institute?

Yes. Take a look at the CIC Study Guide. It gives a detailed breakdown of the topics to be covered in each institute and provides a list of suggested study materials. 

For the Life & Health (LH) institute you can also find Get Acquainted With Life & Health Insurance. This is the single best resource to prepare for the LH institute and can get you ready for the class, even if you have no life-health background. 

You can also find information to help you prepare at the Society of CIC website.

9. If I fail a CIC exam, can I take a make-up test?

No. There are no make-up tests in the CIC program. To retake an exam, you have to retake the class, and the fee is the same (i.e., there is no discount).

10. If I fail an exam, is there any way to find out my score?

No. The Society of CIC only provides pass-fail information. 

However, you can get an exam review from the Society. Call them at 800-531-5197 to request an exam review. They will analyze your exam answers and send you a report critiquing your work with suggestions for improvement.

11. If I take a CIC institute, but I fail the exam, can I still get continuing ed (CE) credit from the state?

Yes. CE credit for classroom programs is based on attendance. As long as you are present for the entire course, you will earn Nebraska or Iowa CE credit, regardless of whether you even take the exam. 

Most other states seem to have similar policies, but if your resident license is in a different state, please review your state's CE law or call the PIA NE IA office at 402-392-1611 for help.

12. I've lost track of which parts of CIC I've passed. How can I find out?

The official record is at the Society of CIC. To find out for sure you can check your MyPage by clicking on the logo below.

If you still need help you can call the National Alliance at 800-531-5197 or you can call the PIA NE IA office at 402-392-1611.

13. I think I just passed my last part of CIC. How do I find out whether the Society shows me as a new CIC? Is there some kind of graduation ceremony?

About 6-8 weeks after the class you will receive an email from The National Alliance letting you know that the results of your exam are available on your MyPage. If you pass the class, and it is your fifth (final) part, you will get a letter from the Society about four weeks after your "pass" letter informing you that you are now a CIC. It will also make reference to our CIC/CISR Conferment Ceremony and when your first update is due.

The Conferment Ceremony is planned by the Professional Insurance Agents Association for Nebraska & Iowa. We hold the ceremony once per year to recognize those who've earned their designation during that period. We send out invitations to those graduating at least a month prior to the event.

Click Here to find out what other information your MyPage displays!!

14. How do you maintain the CIC designation?

Once you have earned the CIC designation you can maintain it by attending annually one of the five CIC institutes (no exam required) or a James K. Ruble Seminar (which also does not involve an exam). Updates are due by the end of a CIC's birth month every year. You can find out for sure when your next update is due by calling the Society of CIC at 800-531-5197.

You can also meet your CIC update requirement by attending a Dynamics of Selling or a Certified Risk Manager (CRM) course. You can find out more about these programs by reading below or contacting the Society of CIC.

Note: Don't confuse your CIC update with your state CE requirement. CIC updates are annual.

15. What is a James K. Ruble Seminar? 

Ruble Seminars (named after James K. Ruble, a key person in the creation of the CIC program) are special two-and-a-half day courses for updating CICs only. It's a way for CICs to get more variety while satisfying annual update requirements without having to take the same five institutes over and over again. The classes are only open to CICs and there is no exam. Different topics are available at Ruble Seminars that are not covered at the regular institutes, or they may include a more advanced version of a topic that is covered at an institute.

16. Can you tell me more about the CRM and Dynamics of Selling courses?

The Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation is another professional designation program created by the National Alliance. It is targeted primarily toward risk managers, but some insurance agents may find it beneficial, too.

Those who have earned the CIC designation can use CRM for their CIC update. If you are interested in earning the CRM designation, you might want to start with Principles of Risk Management. It is probably the most relevant part for an insurance agent, and if you are not a risk manager, it may provide a foundation for the other four parts.

Dynamics of Selling is a sales training course designed specifically for insurance agents. As a sales course, it does not earn state CE credits in Nebraska & Iowa, but it is intended to be a practical program that will benefit you with increased sales revenue, rather than CE credits. It can also be used for your annual CIC update. 

For more details about either program contact the Society of CIC directly at 800-531-5197 or see their website.

17. How can I get information about CIC programs offered in other states?

You can visit the Society's website, or we can fax you the national schedule (which is page 18-18a in the intro section of all CIC books). It lists all of the programs nationwide for about the next year, and it includes a list of contacts for each state (see page 18a of any CIC book you happen to have on hand).

18. How do I get more information? 

If you want to study in advance for a CIC exam, or if you just want to know more details about what is covered in each institute, see the CIC Study Guide.

Due to the high level of interest from participants, the National Alliance implemented a new procedure for distribution for the Agency Management Institute. You can visit their website at and access the download for the worksheets that will be covered in the institute.

For additional questions call PIA for Nebraska & Iowa at 402-392-1611 or email us.