What Is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)?

A Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is a professional designation conferred by the American College of Financial Services. CLUs are experts in insurance and risk management. 

They help individuals, businesses, and organizations create comprehensive financial plans that protect them against risks and help them achieve their financial goals. 

What Do CLUs Do?

CLUs work with clients to identify and assess their financial risks, and then recommend the best insurance and risk management solutions to protect them. 

They also help clients plan for retirement, estate planning, and other financial goals. CLUs are well-versed in a variety of financial products and services

Becoming a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)

The American College of Financial Services awards the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation to candidates who successfully complete CLU-approved college or university courses. 

The program includes five core courses plus three elective courses and eight 100-question, two-hour examinations.

Required Courses

  • Individual Life Insurance– This focuses on the individual life insurance policy and its design, features, and uses.
  • Fundamentals of Estate Planning– The course covers the basic concepts of estate planning, including the transfer of property at death, estate taxation, and trusts.
  • Fundamentals of Insurance Planning– In this course, students learn about the different types of insurance and their uses, as well as risk management principles.
  • Life Insurance Law– The course provides an overview of the law as it applies to life insurance contracts.
  • Planning for Business Owners and Professionals– This course covers strategies for managing and minimizing business risks and personal financial risks.

Elective courses (Required to Take Up Three)

  • Investments– The course provides an overview of the different types of investments, their risks and rewards, and how to select appropriate investments for a client’s portfolio.
  • Financial Planning: Process and Environment– The course examines the financial planning process, including client interviews and the development of financial plans.
  • Planning for Retirement Needs– The course discusses how to provide for retirement needs, including Social Security, income taxes, and the types of available retirement plans.
  • Introduction to Disability and Lifetime Planning– This course covers basic disability income protection and strategies for lifetime-income planning.
  • Income Taxation– The course provides an introduction to federal income taxation, with a focus on individual taxpayers.
  • Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families– This course helps students understand the legal issues that affect families with special needs members.

After each course, the applicant has to take and pass an applicable exam. These are closed-book exams.

Furthermore, maintaining the designation requires 30 hours of continuing education every two years, and the designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Eligibility Requirements to Become CLUs

Since the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is widely regarded as the gold standard of life insurance professionals and insurance planning, some requirements need to be met to become one.

  • At least three years of full-time business experience within the five-year window before your certification award date.
  • Individuals must complete five core courses plus three elective courses and pass eight 100-question, two-hour examinations.
  • Must adhere to The American College of Financial Services’ Code of Ethics.
  • 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition covers all CLU® course fees following the traditional self-study model are all-inclusive, covering all required study materials, access to online learning tools, your examination, and shipping fees. Pre-recorded webinars for required CLU® courses HS 323, HS 324, and HS 331 are included at no additional charge.

  • Individual course: $810
  • 3-Course Package: $2,150
  • Full 8-Course Package: $4,950

This price includes all materials and course handouts, which are claimed to be valued at more than double that amount.

The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation program is a self-paced program that can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Expertise of CLUs

  • Guiding types and amounts of life insurance
  • Advising on annuities
  • Helping clients handle issues of risk management
  • Accounting for the legal aspects of life insurance underwriting
  • Guiding clients through decisions on estate planning
  • Advising small businesses on a range of issues
  • Guiding in specialized areas of your choice in life insurance underwriting

Benefits of Becoming a CLU

The Chartered Life Underwriters (CLUs) designation is a globally recognized standard for competent life insurance and risk management planning.

  1. CLUs are well-trained in a variety of financial products and services which could give them an edge in the job market.
  2. The CLU designation also helps build credibility with clients and strengthens relationships. CLUs have access to exclusive resources, including The American College of Financial Services’ online library, research databases, and more. 
  3. Holders of the CLU designation have access to a wide network of professionals who can assist them in their careers, as well as provide them with opportunities to expand their knowledge and business through workshops, seminars, trade shows, and conferences.
  4. The CLU designation distinguishes individuals as an expert in the field of life insurance and risk management, paving the way for career advancement.

The Bottom Line

Many employers seek out Chartered Life Underwriters (CLUs) to hire because they know that these professionals have the knowledge and skills to help their clients achieve

The CLU designation is globally recognized and respected, making it an excellent investment for your career. 

The program offers a comprehensive education in life insurance and risk management, which equips you with the tools you need to provide solutions for your clients. 

CLUs are held to a high standard of ethics and professionalism and must complete continuing education to maintain their designation. The CLU designation can lead to career advancement and opportunities for networking with other professionals.

If you are looking for a comprehensive and respected life insurance designation, the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is the right choice for you.

The CLU is a globally recognized certification for professionals in the field of life insurance and risk management. CLUs are well-trained in a variety of financial products and services, which gives them an edge in the job market.
CLUs guide their clients on a variety of financial planning topics, including life insurance, risk management, and estate planning. CLUs also have expertise in accounting and the legal aspects of life insurance underwriting.
To become a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), you must complete the CLU designation program. The curriculum of study includes five core courses plus three elective courses and eight 100-question, two-hour examinations.
Ther (CLU) designation is globally recognized and respected, making it an excellent investment for your career. CLUs also have access to resources, including The American College of Financial Services’ online library, research databases, and more.
To maintain your Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.