This article is the first in a series on various professional designations available for insurance professionals. ILSA’s founder and CEO, Arleen Taveras, jokingly refers to such designations as “bling,” hence the title. I also thought I’d start with a designation that Arleen herself holds: the ARM, or Associate in Risk Management.
Who Benefits from Earning an ARM?
The ARM designation reflects an insurance professional’s qualification to serve as a risk manager. In the traditional insurance setting, a risk manager uses the knowledge gained from analysis of past events to assess the likelihood and potential impact on a company of a similar event occurring in the future. Risk managers also develop and implement programs to manage or mitigate such future events. Thus, risk managers help insurance companies or agencies avoid or minimize the financial impact of claims. This helps keep carriers profitable and increases policyholder satisfaction.
Today, risk managers also sometimes work directly for insureds. They assess and respond to potential risks to help keep insurance costs (and other expenses) down for the businesses they represent. This trend has opened up a much broader range of career opportunities for qualified risk managers.
The ARM designation is well-respected within the insurance industry. It’s obviously a great choice for anyone wanting to work directly with risk management. Individuals responsible for strategic and financial planning for insurance agencies, companies and benefits programs – especially CFOs – can also benefit, however, as can underwriters and claims managers. The ARM is also a great way for data scientists and cyber risk managers to extend their skill set.
When I asked my managers what I needed to do to move up in the corporate ladder, they told me to get my ARM. Getting my ARM catapulted my career! I went from being admin staff to a management position.
Arleen Taveras, Entrepreneur and CEO
What’s Involved with Getting an ARM?
The Institutes, which originated the ARM designation, recently updated their course materials to better represent current trends in risk management. Good news for those already working on their ARMs, though; completed courses will count toward the updated designation. However, starting on April 15, 2020, the Institutes will offer only the new course options.
Firstly, to receive the new ARM, students must complete three courses:
- ARM 400 Risk in an Evolving World
- ARM 401 Holistically Assessing Risk
- ARM 402 Successfully Treating Risk
Students must also complete one of two ethics courses:
- Ethics 311 Ethical Decision Making in Risk and Insurance
- Ethics 312 Ethical Guidelines for CPCUs
Additionally, there are two special ARM designations that address the needs of particular types of organizations. The ARM-E (or ERM) focuses on enterprise risks, while the ARM-P focuses on risk management for public entities.
Completing the ARM coursework and passing the exams usually takes between 12 to 18 months, depending on the amount of time a student can devote to the work. Getting an ARM typically costs between $2,000 and $2,500 depending on the format of course materials chosen and – of course – how many attempts it takes to pass the exams.
Out of my 10 designations, ARM is one of my favorites. It showed me the other side of the coin, how companies and their risk managers look at risk, decide what to insurance, and most importantly who to insure it with.
Tony Cañas, National Territory Manager
How Can I Get Started on My ARM?
In addition to the Institutes, a number of other professional organizations offer ARM programs as part of their educational offerings. To find a provider, Google “who offers arm designation insurance.”