Online Degree Programs Related to Insurance: Program Overviews

Find out about online insurance and risk management courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Online bachelor's and master's degree programs in insurance and risk management are common. The online bachelor's degree programs are designed for transfer students. Master's degree students must have bachelor's degrees, and some programs call for professional certifications. While master's degree programs are available fully-online, bachelor's degree programs may have a residency requirement.

Students interested in insurance and risk management can earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts online. An online bachelor's degree in insurance and risk management combines many basic components of business education with more specific topics on insurance and business risk. Master's degree programs provide a more in-depth look at these topics and cover management-related issues as well.

Many employers require certification from professional organizations such as the Insurance Institute of America. Obtaining certification requires completing coursework and exams. There are many options for certification, and continuing education is usually mandatory in order to keep up with developments in the field.

Bachelor's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management

Online bachelor's degree programs related to insurance are aimed at transfer students who have obtained their general education credits at another institution. Without transfer credits, a bachelor's degree program takes four years to complete. With basic coursework out of the way, students are likely to finish in less than two years. Some schools offer to transfer credits from a Chartered Property Casual Underwriter (CPCU) designation toward the completion of a bachelor's degree. CPCU education provides knowledge of insurance and risk management for a professional certification.

Program Information and Requirements

Schools may require students to take only one class at a time or allow them to tackle several classes at once. Those who have satisfied general education requirements don't have to travel to campus at any point during an online degree completion program. Students completing a full-term bachelor's degree program may have to satisfy a residency requirement.

Students must have access to high-speed Internet with the ability to stream audio and visual education materials. Current Web browsing and media viewing software is necessary. In order to participate in Web-based conferencing and instruction, students need a microphone and Web camera.

Course Topics

Online bachelor's degree programs in insurance and risk management require fundamental business management courses, as well as specialized classes on insurance and risk. Students who don't already have a CPCU designation are required to take more detailed courses familiarizing them with the different types of insurance and risk.

Management and Organization

A course on management and organization examines interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Team building and group communication are emphasized for an effective culturally and socially competent workforce.

Financial Planning

This course is an introduction to the financial services industry, including insurance, risk management, taxes and later-life financial planning. Students gain an understanding of the components, creation and importance of a comprehensive financial plan and how to build one for clients.

Risk Management and Insurance

This central course discusses the different types of risk, differentiating individual versus commercial, property and liability risk. It focuses on evaluating sources of risk and controlling loss for businesses.

Master's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management

A master's degree in insurance and risk management furnishes graduates with more advanced professional standing and expertise in insurance issues, finance, accounting and business management. Online master's degrees in insurance and risk management typically lead to either a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Program Information and Requirements

Master's degree programs in insurance and risk management can be completed in two years. Some programs require that applicants already have designation as a Chartered Property Casual Underwriter (CPCU). Master's programs that require a CPCU designation are considerably shorter than those that allow students with just a bachelor's degree to enroll. There are no on-campus requirements for such programs.

Technological requirements are similar to those required for a bachelor's degree in this field. Students communicate with their instructors and classmates primarily through e-mail or online forums.

Course Topics

Programs that require a CPCU designation focus more on business management and less on insurance topics. Business management includes topics in economics, finance, global markets and decision-making. Insurance and risk-focused classes discuss topics such as property, liability, insurance company operations and financial planning.

Financial Conditions

The financial conditions course teaches accounting and analyzing the financial health of a business. With the use of statistics and calculus, students predict and forecast fluctuations of the economic environment and how to respond.

Risk Management Decisions

This course focuses on determining risk and making decisions that control financial risk. Topics include insurance regulations and using information technology to measure and survey risk.

Employee Benefits

This course provides an understanding of the types of insurance, pensions and other benefits employers offer their employees. Students learn about the legal obligations of employers, tax matters and issues of discrimination.

Career Information

Graduates of bachelor's and master's degree programs are qualified to work in the same fields. A master's degree will typically award job seekers preferential treatment and advanced standing in the hiring process. Degrees in insurance and risk management are appropriate for individuals seeking careers in risk management, insurance sales, underwriting, claims management, actuarial science and loss control consultation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, those in the insurance underwriting industry earned a yearly average of $72,650 in 2015.

Insurance and risk management bachelor's and master's degree programs are available completely online. Throughout these programs, students are educated in financial planning, management, risk management decisions and other topics pertaining to insurance.

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