The following is based on an article I wrote for an upcoming issue of the CPCU journal, Insights.
My full-time insurance career began in 1973 and I obtained the CPCU designation in 1980. Since that time, I’ve always tried to live by a credo of professionalism. I’d like to share 7 criteria of professional conduct for the insurance and risk management industry and encourage you to habituate these principles and practices.
- Always remember the overriding mission of our industry…to protect individuals, families, and organizations from serious and potentially catastrophic loss. Always place the public interest above your own interests. Always.
- Seek to become a life-long learner by continually maintaining and improving your professional knowledge at every opportunity. Continuing education is more than accumulating hours prescribed by regulators. Become a self-directed learner. Ask questions. Challenge dogma. Dig deeper.
- Make sure that every decision you reach is legal, moral and ethical. It goes without saying that we must strive to obey all laws and regulations, not only to the letter but also within the spirit of the law. Our conduct should always be gauged to avoid any unjust harm to others.
- Remain open minded about means and methods of improving the insurance mechanism while being diligent in the performance of your occupational duties. But, in your effort to improve industry efficiency and effectiveness, NEVER forget Habits #1-3 above…always weigh the virtue and value of seemingly innovative approaches and their congruence with our mission to serve the public justly.
- More specifically, in conjunction with Habit #3, aspire to go far beyond the minimal legal constraints of our industry by raising the professional and ethical standards of the industry and industries with which we associate. Lead by example. Inculcate Habit #1 into every decision you make. As Mark Twain said, “Always do right; this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
- Involve yourself in local and national insurance society and association activities and in the activities of other industries through your professional efforts. Your goal should be to establish and foster productive and honorable relationships among fellow insurance professionals, members of other professions and industries, and the public.
- Whenever possible, assist in every effort and take every opportunity you possibly can to improve the public understanding of insurance and risk management. Combat the deleterious consumer impression that insurance is a commodity and advocate for the value of the counsel of insurance and risk management professionals.
For over 40 years, I’ve done my very best to embrace, abide by, and habituate these guiding principles. By the way, did anything above sound familiar? If you have the CPCU designation, they should. These are taken directly from the first 7 CPCU Canons. This article was a quick read so, in the spirit of Habit #2, take some time and dig deeper by re-reviewing the CPCU Canons if you are a CPCU.
Finally, I’ll close by effectively summarizing the above with something else that should be familiar to CPCUs:
The CPCU Oath
As a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter,
I shall strive at all times to live by the highest standards of professional conduct;
I shall strive to ascertain and understand the needs of others and place their interests above my own;
I shall strive to maintain and uphold a standard of honor and integrity that will reflect credit on my professions and on the CPCU designation.
I hope the rest of your career will be as fulfilling as my last 44 years have been.
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Dispel these perceptions:
Sorry Bill Wilson but insurance is not a profession. It is a poorly pratciced trade.
1. mission of industry is to make money. It is not a charity or a government entity.
2. There is little teaching or learning available in the industry today. No one is taught how to think. They do not even know how to define the word insurance. Continuing ed and state fascism have combined to make this the most dumbed down group of failed practitioners in history.
3. This is a sonnet. Legal/ How many agents even know who they represent? Ethical? Moral? Insurance is a scheme That is what the Engish call it. To have ethics and morals requires an absolute standrad. That standard requires and aurthor. Fix that befire you can practice the two.
4. How the dumbed down are going to improve anything is a mystery to me. It is all about relationships right?
5. Marsh paid 850 million for listed two quotes. I refre you toi Faielkd Promiises. This is really funny Bill. I needed a good laugh this week.
6. By all means enable and empower these wortheless fronts for the insurance companies by playing golf and pretending it matters Try reading Babbit.
7. the great truth of insurance is it is neither great nor true. So your role as agents then is to promote the big lie that insurance is a risk transfer and social device and coinsurance is really a benefit for the policyholder and insurance companies exists to pay claims. Be my guest.
How may CPCUs ever been kicked out for their conduct? None.
Actually, I’m having dinner with a fellow CPCU right now and between us we’re aware of 6 people who lost their designations because of ethical violations. That would be six more than none and I suspect there are others that we’re not aware of.
I mwant specifics Hearsay is not fact Thanks Bill
This isn’t hearsay. I personally know of two people who lost the designation and I know someone who was involved directly with the removal of the designation of another person and had direct knowledge of 3 others.
Again I want to know how the onstitute does this and under what authority.
Thanks Bill for sharing. This is slapping lipstick on a pig. Prior to this my comment was true. Since they now have religion let’s get the log out of their eye first. Was it ethiocal to eliminate accounting and finance from the CPCU curriculum because too many people failed the exam? Was it ethical to water down the remaining curriculum from the standards that previously existed under the old five part system? Oh I get it. It is great to put out an image that we are ethical but not when it gets in the way of the educational money train created by continuing education laws. Anything ethical about that?
CPCU reminds me of the old Wallstreet adage Bears and bulls get fed but pigs get slaughtered I will let you connect the dot on what CPCU is. Ethics for profit the CPCU way. By the way CPCU what is the source of your ethical standrad/ If it is a moral standard of right and wrong from whence did that originate? If there is an absoulte standrd then please explain the source.