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PLUS Special Section

PLUS curriculum complete

23 modules expand educational options

By Phil Zinkewicz

“It is hard to believe that, as we look forward to next month’s annual PLUS meeting, we have finally put the finishing touches on the last module of the new PLUS Curriculum,” says Deborah Ropelewski, CPCU, AU, ARM, ARe, CPIW, PLUS director of education. “Our Curriculum is now complete, with all 23 modules finished.”

According to Ropelewski, the new Curriculum is very versatile. “The prior materials were used almost exclusively by people pursuing the RPLU designation,” she explains. “The new Curriculum was designed more holistically, so that if someone just wants to learn about one topic, such as Fiduciary Liability, he or she can review the one module to learn about that particular topic.

“These individual modules also create the building blocks for someone who does want to attain the RPLU designation,” Ropelewski continues. “We also have the ability to use the Curriculum in other ways to augment our educational programs, such as PLUS University, where the entire curriculum for the week-long program is comprised of material that is excerpted from the new modules.”

The project to re-design the PLUS Curriculum began as a master plan unveiled a little more than four years ago and is the culmination of many hundreds of hours of hard work, according to Ropelewski. “In late 2005 we chose a firm that specializes in adult educational materials, Applied Learning Systems, or ALeSys, to partner with PLUS to create these new materials. We began development of the first module in early 2006, and the project has taken just over two and a half years to complete.”

Many of PLUS’s volunteer leaders played an integral role in this project, she says. More than 80 professionals, representing almost 50 companies from all disciplines of professional liability, have served as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the development of the new modules, she says. The SMEs served as an editorial board and fielded questions that were posed by AleSys’s technical writers on staff for each of the modules. Without their invaluable input, this project would never have come to fruition, says Ropelewski.

“In addition, we utilized feedback from over 100 additional volunteers who piloted the materials and provide their feedback before we finalized each module. This step was critical to allow us to make subtle changes so that we could provide the very best product possible. We would also like to thank all of the companies that allowed us to use their policies, applications, articles, and other supplementary information for reference purposes in these new materials.”

The following information reflects the new structure for the RPLU Program that has previously been announced in the PLUS Journal.

RPLU Designation

To obtain the RPLU designation, a student must complete all of the following requirements:

1. Read all eight core modules and pass these seven standardized exams:

• R02: Fundamentals of Liability Insurance/Commercial General Liability Insurance: Overview

• R03: Professional Liability Insurance: Overview

• R04: Financial Analysis

• R05: Professional Liability Reinsurance

• R06: Professional Liability Insurance Claims

• R07: Medical Professional Liability Insurance: Intro

• R08: Directors & Officers Liability Insurance: Intro

2. Read and pass five standard-ized exams for any five elective modules of the student’s choosing.

This will allow students to customize their program and specialize in D&O and executive liability lines, medical professional liability and other E&O lines of professional liability insurance, or any combination they choose.

3. Meet the minimum experience requirement.

Students must meet the minimum experience requirement of two years working in the professional liability industry in order to attain the RPLU designation. Under the new Curriculum, the RPLU Program will continue to honor waivers for specified modules.


Under the existing RPLU program, a student was allowed to waive Part I if he or she had completed other designation programs, such as CPCU, ARM, or had a JD with pertinent industry experience, etc. Individuals who have these credentials (refer to the PLUS Web site for the complete list) may waive the following exams of the new curriculum:

• R02: Fundamentals of Liability Insurance/Commercial General Liability Insurance: Overview

• R05: Professional Liability Reinsurance

“We will allow cross-credits to the new designation requirements for exams completed under the existing RPLU Program,” says Ropelewski.” Exams based on the current study materials will continue to be available through February 28, 2009. RPLU candidates who are not able to complete the designation under the current program during this transition period will be given credit for the modules corresponding to any RPLU exams that had successfully been completed prior to the transition to the new curriculum. The chart delineating the cross-credits is available on the PLUS Web site. Go to the “Education” tab, and select “RPLU Program” on the drop-down menu, and follow the link to the RPLU transition article.

After February 28, 2009, only exams based on the new PLUS Curriculum modules will be available.

“RPLU students have been eagerly awaiting the new exams,” continues Ropelewski, “and our academic advisors have been busy developing 22 sets of new RPLU examinations. While the Curriculum contains 23 modules, there will only be 22 exams. Modules C-01-LI and C-02-CGL are both covered on one exam (R02). The exams will continue to consist of multiple-choice questions. However, the exams will be shorter, since each module encompasses less material than did the previous textbooks.”

The entire list of modules can be found on the PLUS Web site (















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