Education: CISR - Iowa

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The Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) program is a nationally recognized professional designation program designed for insurance agency personnel

CISR Program Expands Choices:
Choose 5 of 9 to Improve Your 9 to 5

Now that the CISR Program has expanded its offerings to nine courses, participants can pick the five that best meet their learning objectives to earn the prestigious designation. That’s five of nine choices to improve nine-to-five professional results.

• Commercial Casualty I – CGL and Additional Insureds (7hrs Gen CE)
• Commercial Casualty II – BAP, WC, Excess Liability (7hrs Gen CE)
• Insuring Commercial Property (7hrs Gen CE)

• Insuring Personal Auto Exposures (7hrs Gen CE)
• Insuring Personal Residential Property (7hrs Gen CE)
• Personal Lines Miscellaneous (7hrs Gen CE)

• Agency Operations (6hrs Gen/1hr Ethic CE)
• Elements of Risk (7hrs Gen CE)

To earn the CISR designation, a participant will need to complete the course and pass the final exam for any 5 of the 9 courses.  The nine courses, currently available online, will be available throughout the United States in a classroom format in 2013.  The new courses provide current CISRs excellent update options and are being filed for state CE credit in all states.

The CISR program stresses understanding and analysis of risks, exposures and coverages, freedom from error and omission (E&O) claims, cross-selling and account rounding, and a practical knowledge of insurance products to promote professional growth and competence.

CISR is first and foremost a continuing education opportunity. Students will attain knowledge and skills to help them perform better in their jobs, and licensed people will earn credits toward their state CE requirements.

CISR also provides an opportunity to earn a professional designation by taking and passing the optional exams at the end of each course.

Whether you want to improve your knowledge of a particular topic, earn your state-required continuing education (CE) hours, or complete the entire program and earn a professional designation, CISR can meet your education needs, and the one-day classes allow for maximum benefits with minimum time away from the office. You gain knowledge, prestige, continuing ed credit, and the competitive edge!

1. I'm interested in the CSR. Can you help me?

This question requires some clarification. CSR (Customer Service Representative) is a job title, while CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representatives) is a nationwide professional designation program offered in Iowa by PIA. 

2. Who can attend CISR?

Any employee of an agency, insurance company, or insurance-related business can attend CISR courses. While the program is ideal for agency CSRs, agents, agency principals, and other agency employees will also benefit from CISR. Licensed employees will earn CE credit, but no license is required to attend. The top-quality course materials and intermediate-level instruction enable many unlicensed employees to follow the courses and benefit from them.

3. How do I earn the CISR designation?

To earn the CISR designation, a participant will need to complete the course and pass the final exam for any 5 of the 9 courses in any order within three years.

The nine CISR courses are:


• Commercial Casualty I – CGL and Additional Insureds (7hrs Gen CE)
• Commercial Casualty II – BAP, WC, Excess Liability (7hrs Gen CE)
• Insuring Commercial Property (7hrs Gen CE)

• Insuring Personal Auto Exposures (7hrs Gen CE)
• Insuring Personal Residential Property (7hrs Gen CE)
• Personal Lines Miscellaneous (7hrs Gen CE)

• Agency Operations (6hrs Gen/1 hr Ethic CE)
• Elements of Risk (7hrs Gen CE)

4. How do I maintain the CISR designation?

Once you've completed the program, you can maintain your designation by attending an update course by the end of your birth month each year.
Here are your CISR update options:

1. Attend any regular CISR course, or
2. Attend an Advanced Learning Seminar/William T Hold, or
3. Take any online CISR course (must pass exam to receive update credit and/or state CE credit), or
4. Attend one day of a CIC or CRM course (you can receive two years' worth of CISR update credits by attending a full CIC or CRM course),* or
5. Attend a Dynamics of Service class (must be a dues-paying CISR to receive update credit), or
6. Attend a Dynamics of Selling class (must be a dues-paying CISR to receive update credit)

* Normally, anyone using the one-day-of-CIC/CRM option cannot receive state CE credit, because the Department of Insurance does not allow partial CE credit (you have to attend the whole class, or you receive no state CE hours).
Don't confuse your CISR update with your state CE requirement. CISR updates are annual.

5. What are the Dynamics of Service and William T Hold courses?

Dynamics of Service is an agency-tested training system designed to increase performance, professionalism, and job satisfaction throughout your agency. The class concentrates on insurance-specific customer service training, with a special focus on customer service issues, including account development and E&O loss prevention.

Dues-paying CISRs can use Dynamics for their annual update, but this class is open to anyone and would benefit anyone who works at an insurance agency/company.

We are Happy to Announce!
William T. Hold Seminars Are Now Available to All Insurance Professionals

These innovative 7-hour courses are now available whether or not you are seeking or hold a designation. This means more educational choices for producers, account executives account managers, and all company and agency personnel.

More subjects, more opportunities, more educational choices....that’s what everyone is requesting.  The William T. Hold Seminars explore current and relevant topics for producers, account executives, and account managers.  The classroom agendas are created from more than 40 topics, ranging from personal lines to commercial lines to life and health to risk management.  The information is reinforced with excellent workbook materials and informal Q&A with the faculty -- experienced insurance industry professionals. 

All insurance professionals are eligible to attend William T. Hold Seminars and benefit from the following:

Generous CE credit
Expert instruction
State-specific topics and in-depth discussions
Satisfies the annual CISR and CSRM update requirements
Networking opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere

Each WTH is planned individually, so there is no standard curriculum. The WTH class is intended to cover topics either not covered in the nine regular CISR classes, or to cover a more advanced version of something that is touched on in one of the regular classes.

Because each WTH is unique and the agenda may not be determined until a few months out, CE credit information may be unavailable until a month or so before the class.

6. Is there any way to prepare in advance for CISR courses?

Yes. See Preparing for CISR, which includes helpful tips and recommended study materials for anyone wanting to prepare in advance, or call our office with any questions about the program or the course curriculum.

7. If I fail a CISR exam, can I take a make-up test?

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

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

No. The Society of CISR only provides pass-fail information. However, you can get an exam review from the Society. Call them at 800-531-5197 to request the exam review. They will evaluate your exam and send you a report that analyzes your strong and weak points.

9. If I take a CISR class, but I fail the exam, can I still get CE credit from the state?

Yes. As long as you are present for the entire course, you will earn state 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.

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

You will get your exam results in the normal time frame, about four weeks after the class. If you pass the exam, and it is your fifth part, you will get a letter from the Society about four weeks after your "pass" letter informing you that you are now a CISR. It will also make reference to our CIC/CISR Conferment Ceremony and when your first update is due.

The Conferment Ceremony is planned by PIA Association for Nebraska & Iowa. We hold the ceremony once per year to recognize those who've earned their designation during that period. It is usually held in October or November and we send out invitations to those graduating a month or two prior to the event.

11. Can an NAIW member use CISR to earn the CPIW designation?

Yes. CISR has been approved by the National Association of Insurance Women (NAIW) as a Certified Professional Insurance Woman (CPIW) qualification program. Of course, you have to be an NAIW member and meet all of the other requirements. To find out more, visit the NAIW website.

12. Are CISR classes available on an in-house basis?

Yes. Depending on your staff size, it may be cost effective for you to schedule a CISR class at your office or at a nearby location. Call PIA at 402-392-1611 or e-mail us for more details.

13. How can I get information about CISR programs offered in other states?

You can visit the Society's website, or PIA Association for Nebraska & Iowa can email you the national schedule. It lists all of the programs nationwide for about the next year, and it includes a list of contacts for each state.

14. Are CISR classes available via the Internet?

Yes. You can complete any CISR class online, but you will still have to pass a proctored exam for each one to earn the designation. Visit the Society's website for more details or click on the graphic to the right.

15. How many Iowa CE credits will I earn?

Each of the nine CISR classroom courses is approved for seven (7) CE credit hours. CE credit for classroom programs like CISR is earned by attendance; you are not required to take the exams.

The course numbers and CE credits for the online CISR courses are different from those for the classroom versions. Course numbers and CE credit info for the online courses is available at the Society's website. As mentioned above, you must pass the exams to earn CE credit for the online courses.

CISR classes also qualify for credit in all other states that require CE, so CISR can be used to earn credit toward many nonresident licenses you may hold. You can visit the Society of CISR's website or call 800-531-5197 to find out more about other states' continuing education credits.