Everything You Need to Know About Obtaining the ARM Designation, From Those Who Completed the Journey

The ARM designation serves as an optimal path toward creating a solid risk management foundation.
By: | August 9, 2021

Insurance designations serve to strengthen the knowledge of industry professionals by enhancing their decision making for each client’s risk.

Especially after the events of the last year, risks related to COVID-19, supply chains and cyber security became more prevalent. Risk will always be present, and every professional needs to engage in ongoing preparedness.

While the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) is considered the gold standard of insurance designations, there’s another designation that presents a prime opportunity to lay down a stable foundation in the insurance and risk management industries: the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation.

What Is the ARM Designation and Its Timeline?

The ARM designation is compiled of three courses focused on identifying and assessing risk, and an ethics course. The designation is centered on risk management and building the capability to properly respond to a constantly changing risk landscape.

Once only obtainable through in-person or physical means, the designation now has a complete online version that professionals can take. Internally dubbed by The Institutes as “ARM 2.0,” all course material is provided to students in an online format.

“We used to have both print and digital versions of our courses, which were identical, but with ARM 2.0, there’s a lot more to the digital version,” said Angela Pilotti, vice president of content development and assessments at The Institutes.

Angela Pilotti, vice president of content development and assessments, The Institutes

“We have subject matter experts interwoven throughout the program who include topics and shared stories about successfully implemented ERM programs.”

Additional components of ARM 2.0 include animations and white boards that “promote active learning and recall,” Pilotti noted.

The designation also underwent a change in its actual content. Pilotti said that while the original designation focused “more on knowledge of a variety of insurance and risk-related topics,” the current ARM looks at risk management in a more holistic way.

“It includes strategic, operational and reputations risk in addition to the more traditional insurable risks,” Pilotti said.

On average, the timeline for obtaining the ARM designation is between 9-15 months. However, some designees were able to complete and obtain the ARM much more quickly.

“It took me less than 90 days to complete the ARM designation, which I was shocked about,” said Tommy Wu, account specialist, Aon.

“I didn’t expect to complete it so quickly, but I started the designation in January of this year during the pandemic, so I figured I could use that time at home to study.”

Stephanie Candiano, associate broker for Aon, had a similar experience. While it took her longer than 90 days to complete her designation, she still completed it within six months. She credited her efficiency to working from home amid the pandemic.

“Because of the flexibility with working from home, I would spend any free time I had during the workday to study,” she said. “Any time that I could allocate to the designation could easily be set aside for studying the material.”

Of course, completion of the designation depends on a person’s ability to grasp and retain the material. With the digital ARM course, this ability to gauge a person’s exam-readiness has become easier to determine.

“The release of ARM 2.0 was the first time we used our simulated exam feature, which is timed and includes questions that are of similar style to those that appear on the exams,” Pilotti said.

“These types of features are important for people when they’re preparing for the exam, as the simulated exam is a good indicator of someone’s readiness for the actual exam.”

The Benefits of the ARM Designation 

The consensus is clear: Obtaining the ARM designation has resulted in undeniable enhancements to those who have received it.

Wu said he has been able to apply what he learned through the designation course to real-time scenarios. In one instance, Wu was able to utilize a captives and insurer associations chapter he had read the previous night to aide in crafting a solution for a client with a captive account. He found this incredibly rewarding, especially because of his quick introduction to the industry.

“Sometimes we read and learn things that we don’t always end up using in our careers, but I do believe the ARM has helped me in understanding the bigger picture of the industry,” he said.

“Coming from a non-insurance background, the ARM has helped me build a foundation to better understanding the insurance industry.”

Casey Lund, sales executive at Paynewest, stressed the importance of the ARM designation in a world badgered by risk.

“After this past year, it’s even more important to help clients evaluate their risk tolerance and risk appetite, and to help them plan for and respond to both insurable and uninsurable risk,” she said.

Candiano expressed similar sentiments, saying that having a better understanding of risk and obtaining the ARM will only enable professionals to best serve others.

“If you have a better overall understanding of risk and best mitigation practices, you’ll be more committed to managing it within your own company and for your clients,” she said.

In an industry, the crux of which is to help others, it’s easy to conclude that the ARM fits that bill.

To learn more, visit theinstitutes.org &

Risk & Insurance® is affiliated with The Institutes. 

Emma Brenner is a staff writer with Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected].

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