CISRs and your agency
You know that anyone who sells, solicits, or negotiates insurance needs to be licensed by the state. Hopefully, you know that in addition to their resident state, an insurance agent needs to be licensed in any state where they perform these activities, and in any state where their clients reside. All of this licensing helps consumers be certain the insurance agents they’re working with are suitably trained and qualified to sell them insurance policies or act in an advisory capacity.
Sometimes a licensed insurance agent also manages the ongoing needs of each account. In other cases, there’s a separate (but equally important) account manager whose purpose is to ensure clients are getting their needs met throughout the policy year. For these important insurance agency employees, there’s a different designation that’s not required by law but is a symbol of the individual’s expertise and the agency’s focus on the quality of service.
The CISR designation, which stands for Certified Insurance Service Representative, represents formal training and a level of competency needed to provide the best service to your insurance clients. The CISR designation is available to licensed agents as well, but being an agent isn’t required. If you’re curious about what a CISR is, and how having this designation can benefit your insurance agency, read on!
What is a CISR?
The Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designation is administered by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. A CISR is a certification program available to anyone working in insurance who’s looking to provide clients with the best customer service possible.
The program teaches insurance professionals about the exposures and risks involved in each type of insurance coverage and equips them with the skills and knowledge needed to help each client choose the best coverage.
How do you become a CISR?
There are nine courses in the CISR program. People may take any of these courses without the intention of completing the designation, but if they do want to achieve CISR, they must complete five courses and pass each final exam within a three-year period.
The CISR designation is recognized in every U.S. state along with most countries around the world. After receiving their certificate, an individual has the option to complete and pass the remaining four courses to obtain their Certified Insurance Service Representative Elite certification.
When someone has achieved their CISR designation, they also must maintain annual continuing education requirements to keep their certification up to date.
Who should obtain a CISR designation?
The CISR program was initially created with account managers and customer services representatives in mind. However, the courses are available to any employee of an insurance agency, insurance company, or other insurance-related business. Any insurance professional who wishes to provide a high level of customer service and demonstrate their commitment to excellence in client relationships may want to consider obtaining their CISR designation.
How can CISRs benefit your agency?
It’s clear that obtaining a CISR certification benefits the individual, but the value of earning this designation extends beyond the certified person. Let’s discuss two of the most important ways CISRs can bring value to your insurance agency.
A CISR designation builds trust with clients
One of the biggest benefits of CISRs is the value they bring by establishing trust with clients. The CISR certification designates any individual who receives it as an expert in customer service and account management. Clients can be assured that when they work with your agency and your CISR-designated staff, they’re working with someone who has proven knowledge of the industry and its products and methods.
In a highly-competitive insurance marketplace, providing clients with access to CISRs shows the value you place on your staff’s expertise. This builds client trust, and ideally, means better service and higher client retention for your agency.
A CISR designation increases credibility in the field
Another benefit CISRs bring to your agency is a higher degree of credibility. Insurance agencies that boast a team of CISRs establish themselves as experts with a focus on staff qualifications. Having numerous CISRs available to clients can give your agency an edge by demonstrating to clients and potential clients that you prioritize your staff’s expertise.
Having CISRs can also send the message to your current and potential employees that they’ll be empowered to keep learning and growing at your insurance agency. This can be a differentiator in attracting and retaining talented staff.
Customer service is key to your agency’s growth
Providing excellent customer service is a huge part of any successful insurance agency. While insurance professionals are not required to receive a CISR certification, doing so could help them and your agency stand out among clients and the competition. As an individual insurance professional, there are personal benefits to receiving a CISR, among other prestigious industry certifications. For savvy agencies, putting an emphasis on customer service and expertise can pay dividends and set you apart from the crowd.
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