New insurance agents can get a grounding in the basic skills, such as underwriting, needed to succeed in the field by becoming a Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). After completing the required training, agents will have greater expertise in prospecting, selling and practice management as well as insight into practice specialties including life and health insurance, employee benefits and annuities. Having a LUTCF also can aid new agents in acquiring a job with an agency and in marketing themselves to prospective clients. Some LUTCF holders are financial advisors who can help you with your overall financial goals.
Basics of the LUTCF Certification
The Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) certification is typically for new life insurance agents as it provides a good overview of the insurance industry. It can be a good way for agents to better understand their products and show their knowledge of it so that they can properly serve clients. The LUTCF is overseen by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). The training and testing are provided by the education company Kaplan through its College for Financial Planning division.
LUTCF Certification Requirements
The core of the certification requirements for the LUTCF is a set of three courses. Each course consists of eight weeks of instruction followed by a week for review and testing. The first course is an introduction to life insurance and managing a life insurance practice. It covers business planning, ethics, life insurance product basics, risk management, prospecting, selling skills and financial planning.
The second course goes deeper into life insurance as well as annuities, mutual funds and insurance for health, disability, long-term care, group coverage and property and casualty. Risk management, retirement and estate planning are among the subjects covered in the third course.
The third course deals with risk management applications. It covers retirement and estate planning as well as special situations. The courses are available as self-paced prerecorded lectures. They are also taught live and via interactive online classes. After completing each of the three courses, students must pass a two-hour test. To pass, they must correctly answer 70% of the 50 questions on each test.
The training costs $950 per course for a total of $2,850. The only prerequisite for the LUTCF is to belong to NAIFA, which has a sliding membership fee scale. People in their first year in financial services pay $10 to belong to NAIFA. The fee increases annually until it reaches $56 a year after a member has five years of experience in the field.
After receiving the designation, LUTCF designees can renew it by paying a $50 renewal fee every two years. As part of the renewal process, they also have to demonstrate that they have completed three hours of ethics continuing education every two years. In addition, LUTCF holders must agree to follow standards of professional conduct and be subject to a disciplinary process.
Job Opportunities for Those Holding a LUTCF
LUTCF seekers are usually insurance agents at the start of their careers so their career path is pretty well laid out. They may be interested in obtaining the designation as a way to convince potential employers of their commitment and knowledge about the life insurance industry. Having the LUTCF initials on a business card is also seen as an aid in marketing to prospects. The LUTCF is an optional certification and does not confer any specific powers or privileges on holders.
Comparable Certifications to a LUTCF
There are only a few entry-level certificates available to life insurance agents. In addition to the LUTCF, new agents can choose from:
- Financial Services Certified Professional (FSCP): This is offered by the American College of Financial Services, which originally co-sponsored the LUTCF with NAIFA. In 2013 the organizations ended their association and the American College of Financial Service began offering the FSCP. It requires passing seven courses on financial services and ethics topics at a combined cost of $3,230.
- Registered Financial Associate (RFA): The RFA is a designation from the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants. It is offered to agents and other financial professionals who have already received a life insurance license, Series 65 securities license, bachelor’s degree in a related field or any of a number of professional designations, including a LUTCF. RFAs also have to pay a $250 fee. The only requirement other than that is to pass an examination on the organization’s code of ethics for financial professionals.
The Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) certification is one of the first designations sought by beginning life insurance agents to learn more about the industry. To get one, students have to learn about life and other forms of insurance, mutual funds, annuities, employee benefits and financial advising, in addition to managing a life insurance business, prospecting and selling. It can be useful to help someone better understand and serve the needs of their clients.
Tips on Insurance
- A consumer considering purchasing life insurance can increase the chances of making a good decision by having a relationship with a trusted and experienced 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 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.
- Entry-level designations for financial services professionals like the LUTCF indicate that an advisor is interested in learning about the field and following best practices. More advanced certifications such as Chartered Life Underwriter and Certified Financial Planner are likely to indicate that a professional is a more experienced and well-informed source for financial advice.
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