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The Inertia of Legacy

Using Newton's Laws of Transformative Change - A Science Geek's Guide to Managing Your Own Legacy.

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Upcoming Events and Webinars

Join us during our live and interactive webinars. Purchase an individual webinar or become a member.

29 February

Making Sense of It All: Reading Insurance Policies

Patrick Wraight

Is the loss covered? There's no way of knowing until you read the policy and that policy is as clear as mud. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly what's covered and when. Join us as we walk through a loss scenario and discover how we can read through ...

7 March

Blockchain 101: How Smart Contract Impact The Insurance Professional

Martin Frappollli

Updated for 2024, this session brings blockchain out of the shadows of insurance tech speak. Let's face it. Many in the insurance world aren't as technologically savvy as we should be. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that is already imp...

14 March

It's (Not) Just a Name Change and Other Issues. A Deep Dive into Extended Reporting Conditions

Frederick Fisher

What's in a name? Shakespeare would tell us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a business entity by another name might bring a big bag of confusion and confusion never smells sweet. Join us as Fred Fisher brings his take on...

21 March

Excess and Surplus Lines - Doing Business Well in a Hard Market

Rick Pitts

Full description coming soon.

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Ian Adams
Bill Whitley
Jim Wochele
Becky Lathrop
Michael Armstrong
Chris Behymer
George Jack
Laura Gregory
Tim Dodge

*Click on an instructor's headshot to view their bio.

Patrick Wraight

Patrick is the Director of Insurance Journal’s Academy of Insurance. As an insurance learning professional, he is passionate about taking the complicated and making it accessible for everyone, especially the insurance community.

He started his insurance career as a commercial underwriter for an MGA that wrote fire departments, ambulance companies, home medical equipment dealers, and other niche markets. It was there that he also started his journey in insurance education by designing and implementing a new underwriter training program.

From there, he moved to one of the largest Florida-based property insurers to become an underwriter trainer. While there, his role expanded beyond classroom and online training to become a learning consultant. He spent time with his customers to determine their learning needs and develop a plan to meet those needs.

Patrick is a prior President of SITE, the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators.

Patrick has earned several industry designations:

  • CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor)
  • ITP (Insurance Training Professional)
  • CRM (Certified Risk Manager)
  • CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative)
  • AU (Associate in Commercial Underwriting)
  • AINS (Associate in General Insurance).
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Kathy Ryan

Kathy Ryan, SPHR, is an award-winning author and owner of Pinnacle Coaching Group, LLC.  Over the last 30 years, Kathy has influenced thousands of people in the business and non-profit sectors through her coaching, consulting, speaking and on-site training. Her expertise covers a wide range of subjects including leadership, communication, human resources management, team dynamics, and performance management.

Kathy earned her B.A. degree in psychology and history from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and has been awarded a lifetime certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Society for Human Resources Management. She has experience working with diverse industries including insurance, hospitality and entertainment. She is certified in the use of the Myer-Briggs Type Assessment (MBTI), as well as a number of other assessments and tools to support development.

Kathy is author of the book, "You Have to Say the Words" An Integrity-Based Approach for Tackling Tough Conversations and Maximizing Performance, which won a Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association.  Her interactive training program based on the book has helped thousands of managers to improve their coaching skills and drive performance. Her articles on leadership and other personal development topics have been published in numerous magazines including the Insurance Journal. You can follow Kathy’s blog, Inspired Leadership, at www.CoachKathyRyan.com .

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Frederick Fisher

Frederick J. Fisher, J.D. is currently the President of Fisher Consulting Group, Inc. and was the Founder of E.L.M. Insurance Brokers, a Wholesale & MGA facility specializing in Professional Liability and Specialty Line risks. He is a Member of the Editorial Board for Agents of America;  a Faculty Member of the Claims College, and Member of the Executive Council, School of Professional Lines sponsored by the Claims & Litigation Management Association and Instructor for the Academy of Insurance.

Since his career began, Mr. Fisher focused on one vision: providing financial security to the client. The result was a successful 40-year career in Specialty Lines Insurance. In 1975, Mr. Fisher began his career on the service side, as an Independent E&O claims adjuster. In 1982, he bought the Company, continued with claims, while expanding the firm’s services to include qualitative claim auditing, risk management & loss control services, and acting as a TPA. In only 4 years, the annual billings increased by 400%. His claim auditing techniques and recommendations resulted in substantial client savings (including the SCRTD now known as the Los Angles MTA). Many Insurers and self-insureds adopted not only the performance standards raised in the audits but adopted his recommended Attorney Management Guidelines as a base, which are still in use today by many major insurers. 


In 1995, he formed what is now known as ELM insurance Brokers, a firm that has acted as an MGA and Wholesale Broker of Professional Liability Insurance and Specialty Lines. From nothing, the firm grew rapidly to a $30 Million dollar facility when sold in 2008. He has lectured extensively on professional liability issues since 1978 and authored over 64 articles in trade journals and periodicals. He is the author of BROKER BEWARE, Selling Real Estate within the Law. He designed a program to conduct on-site pre-underwriting risk management assessments of a clients' professional liability exposures. In 1993, he was elected to the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) Board of Trustees. After serving in all Officer capacities, he was elected President in 1997. He remains a Special Materials Expert for several RPLU courses and is the Senior Technical Advisor for The Professional Liability Manual, first published by the International Risk Management Institute in 1990. He has taught over 100 CE classes and lectures. He testifies regularly as an expert witness in cases dealing with the duties and obligations of professionals as well as on coverage and claims-made issues.

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Nancy Germond

Nancy Germond is the Executive Director, Risk Management and Education, for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, the “Big I.” She is located in Phoenix, Arizona. With almost four decades of risk management experience, her unique insights and abilities help businesses better understand and manage their risk. Nancy has authored scores of risk management-related articles, and white papers and has consulted and presented to public-sector and private-sector insurance organizations. She is a licensed P&C agent and adjuster.

A second-generation insurance professional, Nancy was the first risk manager of the City of Prescott, Arizona, and has worked in the private and public sectors as a claim and risk manager. Nancy holds a B.A. in Communication from Mills College and a Master’s degree in sociology from Lincoln University. She also holds the Associate in Risk Management, the Associate in Claims designation from the Insurance Institute of America, the Insurance Training Professional Designation from the Society of Insurance Trainers and is a Senior Professional in Human Resource Management.

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Chris Burand

Chris Burand is the Owner/Founder of Burand & Associates, LLC.  Chris is the only insurance agency consultant with an Institute of Business Appraiser’s Certified Business Appraiser Accreditation and one of the very few who are certified by the two largest E&O carriers to provide audits for agencies.  With more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, Chris is acknowledged as a leading consultant and is a nationally recognized speaker and author.  His broad experience and wealth of knowledge have enabled him to work with hundreds of agencies, taking great care to learn the client’s goals and understand their needs while developing a solution for their specific situation.

Chris combines education, experience, and knowledge from multiple perspectives at proven levels that few other consultants or educators can provide.  This enables Chris to provide holistic solutions.  Chris’s services help agencies, individuals, and carriers identify strengths and opportunities, optimize productivity and profits, implement real-world strategies, leverage resources, and develop realistic plans of action in order to maximize profitable growth.

Chris established Burand & Associates in 1992 (originally known as Growth Planning).  As a consultant, Chris has consulted with hundreds of agencies and many major insurance carriers.  He built and now facilitates two insurance agency networking associations.  He is also a featured speaker across the continent.  To date, he has presented more than 400 seminars and educational programs, and his articles have also been published more than 500 times.  He is a monthly columnist for The Insurance Journal, a past columnist for American Agent & Broker for eleven years, and his articles have appeared in Rough Notes, The National Underwriter, A.M. Best, many regional insurance publications, and many other trade publications.  He also publishes Burand’s Insurance Agency Adviser for independent insurance agents.

 

Areas of Expertise

Insurance Agency Appraisals:  Chris Burand’s professional services include appraisals for Acquisitions and Sales, Buy/Sell Agreements, Mergers, Dissolutions, and Perpetuation Planning.

Contingency Contract Analysis:  Contingency contracts offer opportunities to increase compensation through negotiations and strategically placing business.  Chris Burand’s Contingency Contract Analysis® service provides the information agents need to take advantage of those opportunities.

Note:  Chris Burand and Burand & Associates, LLC are advocates of agencies which constructively manage and improve their contingency contracts by learning how to negotiate and use their contingency contracts more effectively.  We maintain that agents can achieve considerably better results without ever taking actions that are detrimental or disadvantageous to the insureds.  We have never and would not ever recommend that an agent and/or agency implement a policy of, or otherwise advocate, increasing its contingency income ahead of the insureds’ interests.

PEP® (Productivity Enhancement):  Chris’s innovative statistical algorithm method for identifying procedural consistency, compliance, activity cost, and opportunity cost savings.

Carrier MD® Stability Analysis:  A unique analytical method for creating opportunities to learn negotiating points and insurance carrier stability from an agency’s perspective.

Producer Compensation Plans:  Chris Burand develops plans that increase profits and motivate producers.

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Chris Christian

Chris Christian stumbled into insurance in 1985 as a temporary employee at GAF Insurance Services, a bank-affiliated insurance agency in San Diego.  After six years with GAF, Chris moved to the carrier side, opening the San Diego branch office of RLI Corp, an underwriter of specialty lines of insurance.  The San Diego office was dedicated to Directors and Officers Liability coverage, and was the launching pad for Chris’s specialization in professional liability.

Chris left RLI in 1997 to establish her own underwriting facility at London American General Agency and branched out thereafter into professional liability broking.

Chris joined U.S. Risk in November of 2005 and six months later relocated herself, her significant other, and 26 animals to Tennessee, where she continues her pursuit of the art and science of professional liability broking, and contributes to the industry as a frequent speaker, author and association participant.

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Ian Adams

Ian Adams is associate vice president of state affairs with the R Street Institute, responsible for coordinating R Street’s outreach and engagement at the state and local level. He also is involved in the institute’s insurance research, matters related to next-generation transportation and is a frequent commentator on the disruptive impact of burgeoning technologies on law and regulation.

Ian rejoined R Street, for whom he’d previously worked as Western region director, on a full-time basis in January 2017. He was most recently a public policy associate at the international law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where he maintained a national insurance regulatory practice specialized in developing creative solutions to business problems that incorporated legislative and regulatory strategies.

Earlier in his career, Ian was a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow with the office of California state Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, while Hagman served as vice chairman of the California Assembly Insurance Committee. He also served as a legal extern with the office of Oregon state Rep. Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg, who was then co-speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Ian also worked as a law clerk for California’s largest insurance trade association.

Ian is a graduate of Seattle University, with bachelor’s degrees in history and philosophy, and received his law degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the California and Illinois bars.

Ian lives in a suburb of Sacramento, California with his wife, Ruth Yang.

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Bill Whitley

Bill Whitley is a nationally recognized speaker, author and researcher who specializes in helping insurance professionals attract more clients, close more sales and deepen client relationships. Many of his unique sales and customer loyalty concepts are derived from Bill's personal experience as a top-echelon sales executive who achieved and maintained an 80% presentation-to-close ratio.

In 1989, Bill leveraged his dramatic sales success by forming The Whitley Group, a multi-media sales presentation design & production company whose focus was creating sales improvement programs for clients such as IBM, Apple Computer, EDS and AT&T.

Today, with Bill's reseach based approach, he reveals the sales messages the Top Producers use to: Attract more clients.... Communicate the essence of their value... and Create lifelong relationships.

In addition to his work as a sales messaging consultant and keynote speaker, Bill is the author of two books that capsulize and reinforce the unique sales training principles he presents in his seminars, workshops and webinars:

Eight Secrets of the Top-Performing Agents outlines the questions, comments examples and conversations used by top-producing insurance agents to position themselves as advisors, communicate their value more effectively and make everyday risk simple, visual and easy to understand. Uncovered by Bill at the request of several large insruance companies, these effective sales principles form the basis of Bill's popular seminar of the same name. More than 4,000 insurance agents have attended his Eight Secrets seminars and used what they learned to attract more clients, close more sales and create deeper client relationships.

Art of the Rainmaker offers insightful guidance on how to create effective client attraction stories, position yourself as a trusted advisor and much more. As detailed in this book, Bill's refreshing sales tactics show readers how to: Discover & communicate the essence of your organization's value to naturally attract more new clients... Eliminate the stress of "doing sales" the old-fashioned way... Close more sales through effective story-telling... and much more.

Bill and his wife, LeeAnne, have been married 25 years and live with their three children in Charlotte, North Carolina. Reach bill by email (bill@bwhitley.com) or phone (704-996-2800).

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Jim Wochele

Jim Wochele is the Unit Manger in MarshBerry’s Sales Performance Consulting division. His team partners with insurance agencies by implementing tactical strategies that will allow them to achieve organic growth through new business production.

Their focus is helping agencies build a scalable organic growth engine through organizational capabilities best practices, sales process implementation, and improving producers’ individual sales skills through consistent coaching.

Jim is mainly responsible for relationship management of the Sales Performance clients, new client acquisition and onboarding, onsite client visits, carrier-sponsored sales trainings, and agency organic growth business planning.

Jim is a keynote speaker at educational seminars, insurance carrier conferences and executive leadership forums. He also leads the Organic Growth Leadership Seminars and SalesPro Producer Training sessions hosted by MarshBerry. Jim is also a frequent contributor to MarshBerry and industry publications.

Jim joined MarshBerry in 2011 as a Sales Management Analyst, which was followed by a promotion to Consultant in 2013, Senior Consultant in 2014, and Unit Manager in 2016. Jim has over eight years of sales, sales management and project management expertise. Prior to joining MarshBerry, Jim held a dual sales manager and project manager position for a construction firm located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in physics with a minor in mathematics from Baldwin Wallace University, while playing football and baseball for all four years.

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Becky Lathrop

Becky Lathrop, is a Certified Insurance Counselor, Certified Professional Insurance Agent, has a degree in Risk Management and Insurance from Florida State University, and has been working in the insurance industry for over 30 years.  She has a diverse background in the insurance business, and has spent the majority of her professional career in industry positions such as Business Consultant, Sales Manager, Underwriting Consultant, Financial/Market Analyst, and Portfolio Manager. 

During the last 15+ years, Becky has been helping agencies throughout the United States grow profitably by counseling them in areas such as sales/service training, workflow management, staff organization and stratification, sales/marketing business plans, client retention, strategic planning, and producer compensation.  She has also developed a “Back to Basics” Boot Camp Sales/Service Training to assist staff in cross-selling techniques and higher retention levels.  She has also developed a Marketing/Profitability workshop to help agencies manage their loss ratios and to assist them with capitalizing on agency growth and contingency bonus opportunities.  Becky has written and had published several articles on a variety of insurance topics. 

Becky is Vice President of Optimum Performance Solutions, LLC, a company that offers management consulting services on a nationwide basis to insurance agencies and carriers.  Her agency and corporate experiences provide unique perspectives when assisting her clients.  OPS is also an endorsed consulting firm for several state insurance associations.

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Michael Armstrong

Michael is an Inside Broker with CRC’s Executive Professional Practice Group, primarily responsible for placing and managing Cyber & Data Privacy Liability across many industry sectors.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo in 2019. There, he began his insurance career with Evolve MGA, a cyber-specialty market, as an associate underwriter focused on building an extensive knowledge of cyber policy wording, the cyber market, and how to properly assess a cyber-risk. Upon graduation, he joined Evolve MGA full-time as a production underwriter where he established an in-depth understanding of how to analyze a risk associated with the looming threats of cyber-attacks across all industry sectors. Among his responsibilities at Evolve MGA was the management of a Cyber and Tech E&O book of business along the West Coast.

Michael soom became a full-time Producer for Evolve and lead the West Coast Division in Los Angeles, CA. He generated an extensive client base of retail broker agencies throughout 10 states while simultaneously maintaining a comprehensive knowledge of competitive cyber markets and their fluid trends. His emphasis was on establishing himself as a direct cyber resource for retail brokers to identify key risks and facilitate the implementation of best practices to better protect their insureds against a future cyber-attack.

Michael joined the CRC Cyber Risk team in 2021 as an Inside Broker, providing the best possible outcome for CRC’s well-established retail insurance partners through innovative risk analysis, reliable service, top market access, and more.

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Chris Behymer

Chris Behymer received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in Risk Management and Insurance and Marketing in December of 1976.


He began his insurance career with Sentry Insurance in January of 1977 in the Personal Lines Underwriting Department and moved from Stevens Point, WI to Scottsdale, AZ in the fall of 1977. He became Underwriting Manager of a Personal Lines department in April of 1980 and was promoted to Marketing Sales Specialist in May of 1981 and Sales Training Manager in March of 1985.


He joined Scottsdale Insurance Company in October of 1987 as the Manager of Education and Training and was promoted to Director of Training and Development in February of 1991. In December of 1993, he was appointed to the position of Associate Vice President of Human Resource Development and Public Relations.


In October of 1998, Chris joined the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) as the Director of Education for their University. The AAMGA University specializes in developing educational programs for the excess and surplus lines industry.


In February of 2002, Chris was selected as the Vice President of Casualty Underwriting for Markel Southwest Underwriters in Scottsdale, AZ. The company specializes in insuring hard-to-place property and casualty insurance for general agents throughout the United States. In January of 2008, Chris was appointed Director of Marketing for the West Region of Markel and in December of 2010 he assumed the position of Director of Business Development.


Chris began teaching classes for the Insurance Institute of America in September of 1980 through Rio Salado Community College. He received his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1981 and the Associate in Surplus Lines Insurance (ASLI) designation in 2001.


He served as the Director of the Education for the Central Arizona Chapter of CPCU from 1994 to 2011. He was elected Western Regional Vice President of The Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE) in June of 1992, Vice President of Annual Conference in June of 1995, and Vice President of Member Services in June of 1996. He rejoined the SITE Board from June of 2009 to June of 2011 as as Western Region Vice President. He has also served on the Curriculum Committee for the AAMGA University since 1995.

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George Jack

George Jack is the host of Academy of Insurance webinars and Aftershows. George is a 2 decade-plus veteran of external customer onboarding, successfully guiding customers through product interfaces and prospects through the sales funnel for companies such as OneSource, Avention, InfoUSA, Dun and Bradstreet, BookingBug, and the Academy of Insurance; as well as internal employee training and onboarding, having written the training manual and as Data Research Team Lead, serving as the training coordinator for new hires at Corporate Technology Information Services.
George holds a BA in History from Plymouth State University, is a Justice of the Peace, a Notary Public, a championship competitive eater, poetry and children's book author, volunteer poetry workshop instructor for NH's Children's Poetry in the Libraries Day, member of the Screen Actor's Guild, and a belt holder in Uechi-Ryu karate, and is pursuing his AINS designation in 2021.
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Laura Gregory

LAURA M. GREGORY, Esq., CPCU is a partner at Sloane and Walsh LLP, Boston, MA where she represents insurers in insurance coverage and bad faith matters, before state and federal trial and appellate courts. She provides coverage analysis and advice regarding claims and policies in New England and nationally. Her practice includes both first party and third-party policy issues, bad faith matters, and legislative and regulatory issues. She has specialized in insurance coverage and bad faith matters for more than 25 years and received the CPCU designation in 1999. She is also an elected official in Andover, MA, serving as a Selectwoman from 2017 to the present and chair from 2019 to 2020.  She can be reached at LGregory@sloanewalsh.com or www.linkedin.com/in/laura-gregory

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Tim Dodge

Timothy D. Dodge, AU, ARM, CPCU is the Assistant Vice President of Research for Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, Inc., headquartered in Dewitt, New York. Tim is responsible for answering members’ questions about insurance technical, legal, regulatory, and legislative matters, and for all communications with the media. He also writes for IIABNY’s weekly newsletter; maintains sections of the IIABNY Web site; writes a blog about insurance technical matters; hosted an award-winning video podcast; and teaches continuing education classes. Since 2008, he has served on national committees that work with ISO to improve coverage forms. He previously worked as a commercial lines underwriter and underwriting trainer for CNA Insurance in Syracuse. He is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Brockport and received the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation in 1998. He has held his current position with IIABNY since 2002. 

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We Love the Academy Of Insurance

But don't take our word for it!

I have been taking advantage of the Insurance Journal educational classes (webinars) since they started providing them to us all.

I have been a member since the start which is a great advantage because the classes are all free for a year when you are a member.

The classes I have taken have very good content and the teachers know their topic and make the classes interesting.

There are a wide variety of classes and I believe you will be happy with whatever topic you choose.

Katie Freeman

Branch Manager, R.E. Chaix & Assoc

Insurance academy’s videos have helped me build a solid insurance foundation. They are very easy to follow and stay interested in.

Shelagh G.

Using Academy of Insurance online courses has helped our current staff with particular areas of coverage and has helped us develop our newbies to insurance as well as using the skills tests to help us mentor the new staff. I would recommend the use of Academy of Insurance for all levels of staff for add’l knowledge &/or training purposes.

Rena M.

I have been a customer of the Academy of Insurance for a little over 2 years. My office has viewed over 20 different courses and we have benefited from the instructors and the class material. I plan to continue to utilize this very useful resource for learning.

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Where do you stack up?

Insurance Skills Tests

These exams were designed to help you pinpoint areas of interest for possible training opportunities.

This skills test focuses on workers' compensation topics, including;

  • Work Comp Triggers
  • Work Comp Terms/Concepts
  • Work Comp Benefits
  • Work Comp Credits / Audits / Payroll
  • Work Comp Employee vs. Independent Contractor Classification
  • Monopolistic States
  • Work Comp Employer Classification
  • Work Comp Managing Out-of-State Exposure
  • Work Comp Endorsements
  • Work Comp Experience Mods
  • Work Comp Claims
  • USLS&HW and Other Federal WC Concepts and Coverage

This skills test focuses on personal lines topics, including;

  • Homeowners (HO) Coverage Forms
  • HO "Insured" status
  • HO Definitions
  • HO Covered Property
  • HO Coverage Limits
  • HO Valuations
  • HO Causes of Loss & Exclusions
  • HO Endorsements
  • HO Part II – Liability Coverages
  • HO Eligibility
  • Personal Auto Policy (PAP) Coverage Parts
  • PAP "You" and "Insured" Status
  • PAP Covered Autos
  • PAP Coverages & Exclusions
  • PAP Definitions
  • PAP Endorsements
  • PAP Eligibility and Rating

This skills test focuses on commercial property topics, including;

  • Commercial Property Policy Provisions
  • CPP Coverage Limits
  • CPP Causes of Loss
  • CPP Definitions
  • Business Income / Extra Expense (Including Endorsements)
  • Ordinance or Law Endorsement
  • Utility Service (CP 04 17) Endorsement
  • Spoilage Coverage (CP 04 40) Endorsement
  • Leasehold Interest Coverage
  • CPP General Endorsements

This skills test focuses on commercial general liability topics, including;

  • CGL Definitions
  • CGL Coverage Trigger
  • CGL Exclusions & Exceptions
  • CGL "Insured" Status
  • CGL Coverage Limits
  • CGL Endorsements
  • Business Auto Coverage (BAC) Symbols
  • BAC Insured Vehicles
  • BAC Insured Status
  • BAC Coverages & Exclusions
  • BAC Valuation
  • BAC Endorsements
  • BAC Rating

Want to get more insurance smart? Join the Academy Today.