A chartered life underwriter is the highest designation in the life insurance industry that a life insurance agent can obtain.  The designation is granted by The American College. The American College grants the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation after the candidate passes a series of classes and exams.  A CLU is a sign of advanced education in the life insurance industry, and it is considered an advanced degree. This designation is usually placed next to a life insurance agent’s name anywhere the name is printed in marketing materials or on business websites.  Covered in this article is:

  1. Knowledge Given by a CLU Designation
  2. Why Work with a CLU?
  3. How to Locate a CLU Designated Agent

Knowledge Gained With CLU

The knowledge CLU candidates gain by passing their required classes focus on the operation of the life insurance industry, in-depth knowledge of laws and regulations pertaining to life insurance, and more practical concepts such as determining the life insurance needs of various types of clients with sophisticated financial situations such as business owners or clients with estate planning needs. Agents should also have expertise in using life insurance in the most tax-efficient manner for any situation.

The course topics also cover fewer academic areas such as how to interact with different types of clients like the elderly, very sophisticated, and even less educated clients.  After passing the Chartered Life designation exams, an agent will, in theory, have a thorough knowledge of using life insurance to the best of their client’s advantages.

People who obtain the CLU designation are required to complete a series of classes.  These classes focus on honing the agent’s expertise in business planning and personal life insurance planning.  The American College can revoke a CLU designation from anyone who violates their code of conduct or ethics.

Why Client’s Should Work With A CLU Designated Agent

A CLU designated agent is considered among the most educated of agents in the life insurance world.  It is not easy to obtain a CLU designation and requires hard work and commitment.  Generally speaking, when an agent has a CLU designation, he or she is more likely to be highly knowledgeable and sophisticated.  The agent generally is not trying to pump commissions through the system but is focused on the long term financial planning success of their clients.

Accurate Assessment of Life Insurance Needs


The agent with a CLU will also be more knowledgeable about the products they are selling, and there is less risk of clients being over-insured (paying for coverage they don’t need) or under-insured (not leaving beneficiaries enough money to cover their needs).  Running an accurate assessment of life insurance coverage needs can be one of the most valuable services a life insurance agent performs for their clients.

Life Ant provides a simple life insurance needs calculator for our clients.  This works best for the majority of clients, who are families or single parents with straightforward life insurance needs.  Some of our clients have more complex planning needs, such as trust planning, business life insurance, or estate planning.

If you are one of the few people who have these types of needs, a Chartered Life Underwriter may very well be needed to accurately identify the death benefit you require.

How To Find A CLU

Many major life insurance companies have a number of CLU designated advisers on their staff.  One way to reach out to these agents is to call what is known as the “general office” in your area.  The general office is the larger, regional specific office that all agents in your area work for.  If you either call the general office and ask for an appointment with a CLU designated agent or go on the company’s website and look at a list of agents in your area, you will find agents near you with this credential.

Keep in mind, many agents will put the CLU designation at the end of their name on their business cards and email signature.  This is similar to how an attorney would put “esquire”.  Typically you will know if an agent that you are speaking with has a CLU designation by them advertising it in a number of ways.

At Life Ant, we compare insurance quotes for you.  We can also have agents from different companies in your area reach out to you if you would like.  You can speak with a CLU through our quote comparison tool when he/she reaches out to you.

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