NAFA principles for use of professional designations

Document Purpose Statement

NAFA fully supports producers’ continuing education efforts as this commitment benefits your clients, the companies with whom you do business and the industry. NAFA also enthusiastically supports producers’ pursuit of professional designations to further their professional abilities and knowledge. However, in recent years, the number of designations that are used by individuals and groups engaged in the sale of life insurance and/or annuity products has increased substantially. It is very difficult for both companies and consumers to determine the level of education, training or expertise that a given designation appears to represent.

Ultimately, identifying yourself and your professional background without misrepresenting the fact that you are a licensed insurance agent, who earns commissions on the sale of products, is the number one requirement. The way in which you present yourself to the public is an important industry concern and the subject of increasing regulatory attention. It is generally considered an unfair and deceptive trade practice to misrepresent your expertise or your intention to sell insurance products. For example, using such labels as “income planner,”“asset protection advisor,” or “retirement consultant” can be misleading and obscure the fact the you are in the business of selling life insurance and annuity products.

The purpose of this document is to serve as a reference for the financial professional not only in selecting which designation to pursue, but also as a guideline for what to look out for and avoid. Through this paper, NAFA does not endorse any particular designation or certification. Before we begin, it is important to note that according to the US Census Bureau there are over 40 million Americansage 65 or older. Before 2030, this number is projected to nearly double to higher than 72 million. NAFA supports the protection of all clients, including this important segment; expertise in annuity recommendations & handling senior-related concerns/ understanding is supported by NAFA.

Principles for Use of Professional Designations by Producers NAFA is a strong proponent of all efforts to improve the education and training for those licensed to sell fixed annuities in any areas relating to insurance, insurance products, consumer financial needs and planning, taxation, and any other area impacting their function as seller and servicer of insurance products. This may include financial professional designations earned through testing, professional continuing education, or producer continuing education. Core principles of designation use are as follows:

  •  A designation used in advertising should be current and verifiable.
  • A designation should represent some significant achievement of knowledge which could be relevant to the advertised insurance and which will benefit the recipient of the advertising.
  • A designation should be awarded by a reputable, accredited organization within the insurance and financial industry.

As a result of this principle, some designations may be eschewed entirely by insurers or regulators because they are deemed of insufficient rigor, scope, or applicability to the sale of insurance or are deemed to have no significant benefit to the advertising recipient. Therefore, they could easily mislead a consumer.

View the NAFA document in its entirety.


NAFA was created to promote the awareness and understanding of fixed annuities. It is the only independent, non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to these unique products. Permission to distribute and/or reproduce this information may be given to NAFA Premier Partners upon request. ©2013 NAFA. Any unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 2013_0101_PRINCIPLE_Designations_Final_v2

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