A Fraternal Insurance Counselor Fellow (FICF) is a specially trained insurance professional and member of a national network of counselors. But in order to get the FICF designation, you have to already have a Fraternal Insurance Counselor (FIC) designation. Keep reading to learn more about these certifications and how they can help financial advisors and clients.
Becoming a FICF
You must have worked with a current fraternal benefit society for 12 consecutive months. The fraternal benefit society you have worked with must be a member of the Fraternal Field Managers’ Association. You must complete the Graduate I, II, and III courses and final exams. Each online course costs $49, and you get one year of access. Printed books can be purchased for an additional $19. The Fraternal Field Managers Association is the issuing association, but you can take the courses through Kaplan.
Graduate I: Estate Planning
This is an advanced market course designed for fraternal field agents who want to learn how to successfully sell life insurance for estate protection purposes and work with other individuals in the estate planning team. The course also goes over the use of estate liquidity in connection with trusts. It is covered both as the funding method for business agreements and as an effective combination with the estate tax marital deduction.
Graduate II: Business Insurance Concepts
This course covers the life and health insurance needs of close corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and corporations. The course also includes information on recognizing the need for continuation and employee incentive plans.
Graduate III: Introduction to Financial Products
This course is intended to expand participants’ knowledge of financial planning. It gives an extensive overview of investment options and defines their roles in today’s economy.
Each candidate must complete all coursework. Also, they must pass the final exam for each of the three courses within three years of their initial enrollment.
Lastly, the final exam is a proctored, closed-book test. Candidates may take the exam as many times as they want until they attain a passing score. Those who answer 70% or more of the questions correctly pass the examination. However, those who do not pass may retest after 30 days.
When you receive your FICF designation, you can continue to use it as long as you are affiliated or associated with a fraternal benefit society. But those societies must be members of the Fraternal Field Managers’ Association (FFMA) and the American Fraternal Alliance.
FIC vs FICF
The FFMA offers both the FIC and FICF designations. As a result, many of the prerequisites for the FICF are similar to those of the FIC. You must have worked with a current fraternal benefit society for 12 months. Likewise, your fraternal benefit society must be a member of the Fraternal Field Managers’ Association. Though the FFMA issues the FIC designation, you can take the courses through Kaplan just as you would with the FICF.
You must complete the exams for the required courses. There are four FIC courses or one more than required for the FICF. Each online course costs $49, and you get one year of access. Candidates must complete the courses and pass the exams within three years of initial enrollment. However, you can skip the Intermediate and Advanced final exams if you already have a CLU, ChFC, or CFP designation.
The courses for the FIC designation are:
- Basic Course, Part A: Introduction to Life Insurance: This course explains the fundamentals of life insurance and sales. It begins with a discussion of the history, scope, and development of fraternalism.
- Basic Course, Part B: Ethics for the Insurance Professional: This course is an ethics guide for insurance agents. It presents a balanced view of an insurance agent’s principled relationship with their culture.
- Intermediate Course: Needs Analysis: This course is a presentation of the basics of needs-based consultative selling. Producers will learn to compare a client’s financial goals with their existing resources. Consequently, this approach attempts clarify the need for additional insurance.
- Advanced Course: Introduction to Advanced Markets: This outlines the concepts producers need to understand to move into advanced markets. The course explains how to get the attention of business owners. It discusses group insurance, succession planning, executive bonus plans, qualified retirement plans, and more.
Essentially, the FICF is a continuation of the FIC designation. It is another level of education about insurance.
Benefits of the FICF Designation
There are many benefits to receiving the FICF designation. Some benefits are directly related to your work as a professional while others are benefits that directly impact your future clients. Here is a breakdown of the most important benefits for each category.
- Improved Customer Service: Their insurance professional can provide better customer service with insurance-specific training.
- Qualified: Clients know that the insurance professional they are working with has taken the courses and passed the exams for both the FIC Designation and the FICF designation.
For the Insurance Professional
- Improved Learning Opportunities: Continuing education credit may be available for FICF courses.
- Double Credit: You attain credit toward the Fraternal Professional Certification if the course includes both FPC and FIC designations.
- Cost Effective: Many organizations reimburse candidates for the cost of the FICF courses.
The Bottom Line
If you’re considering becoming a Fraternal Insurance Counselor Fellow (FICF), you’ll have to become a Fraternal Insurance Counselor (FIC) first. Do your research to decide if you need the FICF designation, or if the FIC designation would be just as helpful for your career. However, if you are looking for an insurance agent, a FICF might be the kind of insurance agent or professional you are looking for. In short, they have more additional training and may be able to help you achieve your insurance goals.
- If you’re wondering what a FICF or FIC’s offerings will mean to your portfolio, it may be time to consult a financial advisor. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Wondering how much life insurance you’ll need to cover your heirs? Are you unsure about the cost of life insurance? SmartAsset’s life insurance guide can help you answer the tough questions before you make a decision.
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