10/7/2019
Game Changer

Game Changer

Universal Claims Certification launch changes the adjuster licensing landscape

By Susan Wisbey-Smith

It’s official: The Universal Claims Certification (UCC) is now available to all claims adjusters in the U.S. This game-changing certification program streamlines the adjuster licensing process that, up to this point, has been confusing and cumbersome. Anyone with a UCC can quickly secure a license in certain states by simply presenting their UCC and paying the state’s licensing fees.

The UCC also makes meeting continuing education requirements much easier to manage. UCC holders must earn 24 hours of UCC CE credit (24 credits, including five of law/ethics) every two years. All CLM educational events offer UCC CE credits effective Sept. 1, 2019. Other CE providers can also apply to be approved UCC CE providers via the online UCC portal. Once approved, they can submit their programs for UCC CE.

“As someone who is involved in adjusting claims and handling catastrophe losses, not to mention licensed in several states, I think the UCC is a tremendous game changer,” says Dwight E. Geddes, head of Metro Claims & Risk Mgmt. “The UCC formalizes a process that has been patchwork for a very long time. Varying standards for licensing, continuing education, and renewals make the state-by-state way of doing it quite exhaustive and disjointed. The UCC makes that entire process significantly easier and eliminates a lot of the duplication of effort that has existed.”

“For adjusters who are required to be licensed in several states, the UCC now provides a clear path to secure some of those licenses without the time and burden of sitting for multiple tests,” says Jennifer Wojciechowski, operations manager for Community Association Underwriters of America Inc. “It also eases the complexity of managing and satisfying the renewal criteria for those licenses. I hope the list of participating states grows.”

Before the UCC

Industry professionals have long known that adjuster licensing is a cumbersome, time-consuming process.

“As a former claims adjuster and then claims compliance manager, I know firsthand how much time, money, and effort goes into making sure all of my team members have current licenses in the states where they are adjusting claims,” says Tamara Bland, director of compliance for the CLM. “The UCC changes all of that. It’s one set of CE credits to track and one online portal to manage almost every detail.”

The McCarran-Ferguson Act, passed in 1945, left the regulation of the business of insurance to the states, which then enacted their own rules to protect their citizens. That left varying requirements for pre-licensure courses, exams, continuing education, and the licensure chaos that the UCC seeks to address. While other industry efforts that attempted to resolve the adjuster licensing issue focused on federal legislation, they failed for various reasons. Since the states control adjuster licensing, the CLM set out to tackle the challenge on a state-by-state basis.

“I remember discussing the idea (use concept) of a simpler uniform certificate in my prior role during the CLM Chief Claims Officer Summit in 2014,” says Caryn Siebert, vice president, carrier practice, at Gallagher Bassett. “It’s amazing to see what has been accomplished by the CLM in less than five years. The industry support has been amazing, and I’m sure more states will adopt the UCC as time moves forward. Reducing the bureaucracy and simplifying the process will benefit insurance departments and claims professionals greatly.”

“I’ve used the CLM Tracker system for two years to track my licenses,” says Regina Cedeño, MBA, CLMP, resolution manager at Blackboard Insurance, who is licensed in 29 states. “Now the UCC is an added convenience for obtaining my CE credits.”

What’s Next?

CLM CEO Anne Blume says CLM is actively working to bring other states into the UCC, meeting with insurance commissioners and their staff frequently to promote their adoption of the UCC.

“Attending the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Securities and Insurance Licensing Association conferences has been enlightening—everyone involved in licensing wants to streamline the process for reciprocity,” says Blume. “Once we were able to bring Texas on board, many other states started to look more seriously at the UCC.”

She says last year’s affiliation with The Institutes has also made a big difference.

“The Institutes is highly regarded in the industry as an elite provider of professional education for the insurance industry,” says Blume. “The Institutes’ assessments team has been deeply involved in the design and testing of the UCC pre-certification course and exam. They will also be involved with the UCC CE review and approval process.”

As the CLM works with each additional state, the support of membership will be important.

“We may reach out to professionals who are licensed in specific states to help us move our efforts along by asking them to contact state legislators, commissioners, and others in support of the UCC,” says Blume. “It’s helpful for that constituency, especially legislators who may not be familiar with the current licensing burden, to hear firsthand from those affected by the complexities of adjuster licensing.”


Welcome to the Club

The UCC is accepted in these states:

• Alabama

• California

• Florida

• Georgia

• Mississippi

• Texas

• With more to come…


UCC FAQs

Q. Do I need to have a current adjuster license to get the UCC?

A. No. Currently licensed adjusters need to simply complete the online registration and pay the registration fee to receive their UCC. Unlicensed adjusters can also secure the UCC, but they must first complete the UCC’s online 40-hour pre-certification program and pass the exam.

Q. Is the Universal Claims Certification a license?

A. No, UCC is a certification. You must still apply for your license in each state. Once you have your UCC, applications for additional adjuster licenses can be submitted via the CLM license tracking portal, CLM Tracker. To secure a license in Florida, you must currently apply for that via the state’s portal and submit fingerprints.

Q. When does the UCC expire?

A. Twenty-four months from the date of certification.

Q. Where do I get my UCC?

A. All of the UCC details, registration, and CE provider registration can be found on the UCC online portal at www.theclm.org/ucc.


UCC Costs

Licensed Adjusters

$69 ($49 for adjusters employed by a CLM Corporate Member Company).

Unlicensed Adjusters

$199 for pre-certification course, exam, and two-year registration. $149 for adjusters employed by a CLM Corporate Member Company.

UCC Renewal

$69 ($49 for adjusters employed by a CLM Corporate Member Company).



Susan Wisbey-Smith is chief communications officer for the CLM. susan.wisbey-smith@theclm.org

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