Chartered Life Underwriter®

Security, stewardship.

The premier designation for insurance professionals. The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) became the insurance industry’s gold standard when launched in 1927. Today, it continues to be the designation for insurance professionals who desire to provide their clients with the security of life insurance and risk management. Since its inception, tens of thousands of financial services professionals have obtained this prestigious designation. With particular emphasis placed on ethics and commitment to clients, the CLU® has earned a distinguished reputation backed by security and stewardship.

106,000+ CLU® designees awarded since
A holistic and thorough approach to insurance planning.

In the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) program, students learn how to fully serve the diverse needs of their individual and business clients through in-depth insurance knowledge. Upon completion, students have the expertise to provide guidance to clients on types and amounts of life insurance, make recommendations on aspects of risk management, and expert knowledge of various insurance solutions. A CLU® designee understands the legal aspects of life insurance, and assisting clients in making decisions about estate planning, including various wills and trust arrangements.

the CLU® is recommended by
of professionals who hold the designation

Required courses:
HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning:
Focuses on the role of planning for insurance needs. Covers basic concepts in risk management and insurance, insurance industry operations, legal principles pertaining to this industry, and regulation of insurers. Examines social insurance, life insurance and annuities, medical and disability income insurance, long-term care insurance and personal property and liability insurance. Concludes with an overview of commercial property and liability insurance and a case study.

HS 323 Individual Life Insurance:
Focuses on life insurance policies and annuities available for the personal needs of individuals and their use in financial planning. Covers individual insurance products, insurance reserves regulation, and the organization, operations, and investments of insurance companies.

HS 324 Life Insurance Law:
Examines legal rights and obligations of the policy owner and the insurance company, the way disputes between the insured and insurers are resolved and general principles of the judicial process. Covers legal aspects of life insurance, including basic principles of contract law; policy provisions and the incontestable clause; assignments, ownership rights and creditor rights; beneficiary designations and disposition of proceeds; the law of agency; and advertising and privacy issues.

HS 330 Fundamentals of Estate Planning:
This course provides a basic understanding of the estate and gift tax system, including strategies of estate planning. Covers various aspects of estate and gift tax planning, including:

  • Nature, valuation transfer, administration, and taxation of property
  • Gratuitous transfers of property outright or with trusts, wills and powers of appointment
  • Use of the marital deduction
  • Valuation of assets
  • Buy-sell agreements
  • Client interview/fact finding
  • Ethical standards
  • Development of personal estate plans

HS 331 Planning for Business Owners and Professionals:
Focuses on tax and legal aspects of organizing a business; compensation planning for the business owner; business succession planning; buy-sell agreements; estate planning and estate freezing techniques; methods for transferring a family business; lifetime disposition of a business interest.

Elective courses (choose three)
HS 300 Financial Planning: Process and Environment:

This course provides an overview of the financial planning process, including the role and responsibilities of a financial planner along with analytical tools to aid in financial decision-making. Topics include:

  • Communication techniques
  • Ethics
  • Education planning and funding
  • Time-value-of-money concepts
  • Financial planning applications
  • Regulatory issues
  • Legal and economic environment for financial planning

HS 313 Individual Health Insurance:
Provides an overview of individual health insurance that is designed to meet the needs of individuals, families and certain business situations. Covers medical expense insurance, disability income insurance and long-term care insurance. Discusses types of policies, contractual provisions, regulation and underwriting. Consumer-directed health plans are also covered.

HS 321 Income Taxation:
The course examines the federal income tax system with particular reference to the taxation of individuals.
Concepts covered include:

  • Gross income, exclusions from gross income
  • Deductions
  • Tax credits
  • Capital gains and losses
  • Taxation of life insurance
  • Taxation of annuities
  • Entity taxation of partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and proprietorships

HS 325 Group Benefits:
Analyzes group insurance benefits including the governmental environment, contract provisions, marketing, underwriting, rate making, plan design, cost containment and alternative funding methods. Discusses the various private programs related to the economic problems of death, old age and disability, as well as government-based health care under the Affordable Care Act. Covers cafeteria plans, as well as consumer directed health plans, such as HSAs and HRAs.

HS 326 Planning for Retirement Needs:
This course focuses on selecting the right retirement plan for the business and on individual retirement planning. Covers:

  • Qualified plans, SEPs, SIMPLEs and 403(b) plans
  • Nonqualified deferred compensation plans
  • Practical knowledge needed for choosing the best retirement plan, especially for the small business, and designing a plan that will meet a client’s needs
  • Individual retirement planning including IRAs and Roth IRAs, Social Security benefits, saving for retirement and planning for retirement plan distributions

HS 328 Investments:
This course covers various aspects of the principles of investments and their application to financial planning. Topics include:

  • Risk analysis, risk and return computations
  • Risk reduction through diversification
  • Expected returns of various investments
  • Nature of securities markets and investment companies
  • Tax issues in investing
  • Issues in the practice of portfolio management
  • Examples of ethical and practical investment considerations

HS 334 Estate Planning Applications:
Covers estate and gift tax principles with an emphasis on life insurance planning applications. Discusses forecasting the gross estate, life insurance trusts, valuation principles, the use of charitable contributions as an estate planning technique, planning opportunities stemming from the marital relationship, the taxation of trusts, implications of employee benefits and estate freezes. Includes a case study reflecting procedural aspects of estate planning.

HS 375 Introduction to Disability:
This course introduces students to the field of disability and provides an orientation to working with individuals with disabilities and their families. It covers philosophical approaches, legislation, special education policies and procedure, disability etiquette, and how to work collaboratively with families. Students will learn the categories of disabilities such as emotional and behavioral challenges, sensory impairments, autism, and learning disabilities. Special attention is given to the planning requirements for transition of a child with disabilities into adulthood, when many educational programs and financial supports are no longer available. It also provides videotaped interviews with families in their home settings, providing powerful testimonies to the families’ determination to assist their children to become fully integrated into society and to reach their full potential.

HS 376 Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families:
This course covers unique legal techniques and tools that apply to special needs planning. Of particular importance are special needs trusts, wills, powers-of-attorney, and guardianships. The applicable issues surrounding Social Security and Medicaid are covered. In addition, special income tax topics enable financial advisors to understand and identify tax deductions and/or credits that may be available to families with special needs. It addresses some unique aspects of the medical expense deduction, the child and dependent care credit, the adoption credit, and the dependency exemption rules for families of individuals with special needs. The student will examine some potential alternative minimum tax traps that may affect many of these families. This course builds upon Introduction to Disability (HS 375) by providing the detailed legal and financial considerations crucial to the special needs environment.


Self-study course: $750.
Package pricing: $1,995 Starter Package (first three courses); $4,560 full designation package.

Your tuition includes all required study materials, access to convenient online learning tools, and your examination.

Webinar and Intensive Review Program (IRP) options are available for an additional cost. See below for more details.

To receive the CLU® designation, you must successfully complete eight courses and exams, meet experience requirements and ethics standards, and agree to comply with The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures.

Study at your own pace, or choose live online courses (for select courses).

You are free to create your own plan for how you want to pace your studies. We recommend a steady approach, so that you can truly absorb the material. From enrollment, you’ll have a window of four months in which to schedule your final exam. Your window opens on the day you enroll and includes the current month, plus the next four months.

In addition to course textbooks, extensive online study materials including practice exams, audio reviews, video clips, and more are made available to all students. You can purchase webinars and live reviews to enhance your learning experience. Once you complete a course, the next course in the program is automatically shipped to you if you’re signed up for a CLU® package.

Earn Your CLU® Your Way

Flexible Self-Paced Program
You can study at your own pace, wherever and whenever is most convenient for you. Complete your program as fast as you like; the self-paced program gives you the opportunity to truly tailor your education to your lifestyle. Our online study aids provide you with the guidance and practice you need to feel confident on test day.
With every registration, students are granted access to:

  • Course textbooks
  • Downloadable e-books for your iPad®, iPhone®, or Android device
  • Online discussion with course professor
  • Audio reviews
  • Supplemental readings
  • Streaming video lectures

Enhanced Online Learning: Webinar Classes Available

For select courses, a webinar study option is available for those who want a more familiar classroom feel as part of their student experience. Attend weekly classes online and ask questions in real-time.

Webinar Schedule

HS 300 Financial Planning: Process and Environment
October 25 - November 17, 2016
Tuesday and Thursday, 6 - 8:30 PM ET

HS 328 Investments
October 25 - November 17, 2016
Tuesday and Thursday, 6 - 8:30 PM ET

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning
December 6 - 29, 2016
Tuesday and Thursday, 6 - 8:30 PM ET

HS 330 Fundamentals of Estate Planning
December 6 - 29, 2016
Tuesday and Thursday, 6 - 8:30 PM ET

HS 321 Income Taxation
January 17 - February 9, 2017
Tuesday and Thursday, 6 - 8:30 PM ET


Intensive Review Program (IRP) for CLU® Courses

Accelerate your CLU® studies with a live classroom review. In your optional IRP component, highly qualified faculty members from The American College of Financial Services provide you with 18 hours of intensive review of all the major course concepts. You will also have the ability to ask questions and interact with fellow students. On the last day of the session you will take a pencil-and-paper final exam, so there’s no need to make a separate appointment at a testing center. IRP sessions are a great way to study along with an expert right up to the moment you begin your exam. Students should still study their text and course materials prior to the IRP to be fully prepared.

Taking Your IRP
Below is a list of upcoming Intensive Review Programs. We recommend that you follow the recommended course sequence, and enroll in IRPs when they are available for your next course. If you are interested in enrolling in an IRP that is not for your next recommended course, please speak with a counselor by calling 888-263-7265.


IRP Schedule

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning 
October 28 — October 30, 2016 (Birmingham, AL)
Registration Cutoff Date: 9/30/2016

Courtyard by Marriott — Birmingham, AL

HS 323 Individual Life Insurance
November 4 - November 6, 2016 (Newtown Square, PA)
Registration Cutoff Date: 10/14/2016

Newtown Square, PA

  • Creative Financial Group, 16 Campus Blvd, Newtown Square, PA 19073
  • for hotel stay, search by IRP location above

HS 333 Personal Financial Planning: Case Analysis 
November 4 — November 6, 2016 (Birmingham, AL)
Registration Cutoff Date: 10/14/2016

Courtyard by Marriott  — Birmingham, AL

HS 324 Life Insurance Law 
November 11 — November 13, 2016 (San Diego, CA)
Registration Cutoff Date: 10/21/2016

Fairfield Inn & Suites- San Diego, CA

HS 330 Fundamentals of Estate Planning 
November 17 — November 19, 2016 (Leawood, KS)
Registration Cutoff Date: 10/27/2016

Leawood, KS

  • 5251 W 116 Place, Suite 300, Leawood, KS 66211

  • for hotel stay, search by IRP location above

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning 
November 18 — November 20, 2016 (Schaumburg, IL)
Registration Cutoff Date: 10/28/2016

Hyatt Place Schaumburg — Schaumburg, IL

HS 321 Income Taxation
December 2 — December 4, 2016 (King of Prussia, PA)
Registration Cutoff Date: 11/11/2016

The Doubletree by Hilton — King of Prussia, PA

HS 321 Income Taxation
December 7 - December 9, 2016 (Oakbrook, IL)
Registration Cutoff Date: 11/10/2016

Oakbrook, IL

  • 1515 W 22nd Street, Suite 300, Oakbrook, IL 60523
  • for hotel stay, please search by address above.

HS 326 Planning for Retirement Needs 
December 9 — December 11, 2016 (Schaumburg, IL)
Registration Cutoff Date: 11/18/2016

Hyatt Place — Schaumburg, IL

HS 331 Planning for Business Owners and Professionals 
December 16 — December 18, 2016 (Cincinnati Airport)
Registration Cutoff Date: 11/25/2016

Homewood Suites by Hilton — Florence, KY

HS 324 Life Insurance Law
January 6 - January 8, 2017 (Newtown Square, PA)
Registration Cutoff Date: 12/16/2016

Newtown Square, PA

  • Creative Financial Group, 16 Campus Blvd, Newtown Square, PA 19073
  • for hotel stay, search by IRP location above

HS 300 Financial Planning: Process/Environment 
January 13 — January 15, 2017 (Cincinnati, OH)
Registration Cutoff Date: 12/23/2016

Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront — Cincinnati, OH

  • 668 West Fifth Street, Covington, KY 41011
  • Reservations — 859-491-1200

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning
January 20 — January 22, 2017 (King of Prussia, PA)
Registration Cutoff Date: 12/30/2016

The Doubletree by Hilton — King of Prussia, PA

HS 321 Income Taxation 
February 10 — February 12, 2017 (Homewood, AL)
Registration Cutoff Date: 1/20/2017

Courtyard Marriott Birmingham/Homewood — Homewood, AL

HS 331 Planning for Business Owners and Professionals
February 24 - February 26 2017 (Newtown Square, PA)
Registration Cutoff Date: 2/3/2017

Newtown Square, PA

  • Creative Financial Group, 16 Campus Blvd, Newtown Square, PA 19073
  • for hotel stay, search by IRP location above

Program Faculty

Professor Kevin Lynch
Kevin M. Lynch

Faculty Instructor

Dr. Craig W. Lemoine

Jarrett L. Davis Distinguished Professor of Financial Planning Technology 
Associate Professor of Financial Planning
Director of the Northwestern Mutual Granum Center for Financial Security

Professor Ted Kurlowicz
Theodore T. Kurlowicz

Charles E. Drimal Professor of Estate Planning
Professor of Taxation

Professor Walt Woerheide
Dr. Walt Woerheide

Frank M. Engle Distinguished Chair in Economic Security Research
Professor of Investments

Dr. Ajamu C. Loving

Director of Academic Partnerships
Assistant Professor of Financial Planning

Professor Jamie Hopkins
Jamie Patrick Hopkins

Larry R. Pike Chair in Insurance and Investments
Associate Professor of Taxation
Co-Director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income

Professor Adam Beck, Director of the MassMutual Center for Special Needs
Adam S. Beck

Assistant Professor of Health Insurance
Director of the MassMutual Center for Special Needs

Get Started With CLU®

Ongoing Commitment

Carrying the Shield

Throughout the decades, The American College of Financial Services has served as the premier educational institution dedicated to the development of financial services professionals. The College has worked tirelessly to educate our nation’s advisors, to help them raise the level of their service, and to ensure that society can rely on a profession built on trust. Graduates and designees of The American College of Financial Services have studied, have passed rigorous exams, and have proven that they not only have the technical knowledge to serve their clients, but have sworn to practice ethically and in the best interest of the good people they serve. Holders of the CLU® designation are required to complete ongoing continuing education and participate in the Professional Recertification Program.

We look to you, our graduates, designees, students, and future leaders, to earn the trust of your clients, to represent the legacy of this institution, to proudly, “Carry the Shield.”