FOR STUDENTS AND LICENSEES
A career as an insurance broker offers stability, professional credibility, flexibility, opportunities for advancement and variety.
OBTAIN YOUR LICENCE
Level 1: General Insurance Salesperson's Licence
To be an insurance broker in B.C., you must be licensed. General insurance licences are obtained through the Insurance Council of B.C., 604-688-0321. In order to qualify for a licence, you must have passed one of the approved pre-licensing exams offered exclusively by IBABC.
The courses that prepare you for these exams are the Fundamentals of Insurance or the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) 1. The IBABC administers both of these courses as well as the exams.
You do not need to be employed in the industry to take pre-licensing courses; however, licences will only be granted to those individuals who are employed by an insurance brokerage. In most cases, employers file license applications on behalf of new employees.
When reviewing new applications, the Council will verify that the applicants' educational and experience requirements have been met and will review all applicants for suitability.
Once licensed, if you leave or lose your job, your licence will be deactivated, but you will retain your licensable status for a period of one to three years (depending on the level of license you had and how you qualified for it).
There are two ways to fulfill the educational requirements for Level 1 (entry level) licensing. Please see below for your options.
A Level 1 license qualifies you to work in any of several positions in an insurance brokerage: handling auto, home and other personal lines transactions, or as a mobile road agent (visiting car dealerships to insure newly purchased vehicles). Level 1 salespeople operate under the supervision of a Level 2 or 3 broker.
The knowledge prerequisites for a Level 1 license require candidates to:
- Pass Fundamentals of Insurance exam, or
- Pass the CAIB 1 exam
Two routes to licensing: Which to choose?
NEW BROKER ESSENTIAL SKILLS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
Long-term career success just became easier for new entrants to the insurance brokerage industry, thanks to a certificate program introduced in 2010 by the Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. (IBABC). The New Broker Essential Skills Certificate Program is a three-stage syllabus that provides a foundation in both the technical knowledge and soft skills needed for success as a property and casualty (P&C) insurance broker. New brokers can start the program as soon as they are employed in an insurance brokerage. The IBABC is the leading educator for licensing and continuing education for the P&C brokerage industry in B.C.
The program was developed after extensive consultation with brokerage managers and owners. The insurance broker role requires a wide range of skills, from the technical knowledge about insurance contracts, to customer service and people skills. This program is one of the first such in Canada to provide training across that spectrum. A key component of the program is that the student works with a mentor - an experienced broker who can provide guidance and direction.
The New Broker Essential Skills Certificate Program is being used by many brokerages as a turn-key, in-house training program for new hires, because it provides a structure for new licensees in planning their professional development, which will contribute to their overall career success. The certificate will increasingly be recognized by employers as an indication of a solid foundation in the necessary skills for an insurance broker. The program was made possible by a grant provided by CNS, a major insurer for the B.C. market..
The certificate program takes about 18 months to complete. It incorporates some of the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) courses. On completion students are well on their way to earning the CAIB designation - the one most recognized and accepted for insurance brokers in Canada.
Click here for more information on the New Broker Essential Skills Certificate Program.
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ADVANCE YOUR LICENCE
Level 2: General Insurance Agent's Licence
For positions such as commercial lines representatives or personal lines supervisors, a Level 2 license is needed. A Level 2 license allows you to complete policies outside of the office and without the supervision of a more senior broker. A Level 2 license also gives you the opportunity to supervise Level 1 brokers in the office.
Level 1 licensees wishing to advance to a Level 2 license must pass the CAIB 2 and CAIB 3 exams.
Level 3: General Insurance Agent's Licence
A Level 3 license allows you to manage a brokerage.
To obtain a Level 3 licence, along with having met the educational requirements for a Level 2 licence, you must:
- Pass the CAIB 4 exam, and
- Have held a general insurance licence for five of the last seven years, with at least three of those years as a Level 2 license
Completion of all four CAIB exams (CAIB 1, 2, 3 and 4) earns you your CAIB designation - the mark of professional recognition for clients and employers.
Other designation programs are also available through IBABC for completion, including the Canadian Professional Insurance Broker program (CPIB) and the Canadian Certified Insurance Broker program (CCIB). The CPIB allows you to apply credits from some post-secondary courses towards completion of the program.
Please see Frequently Asked Questions regarding licensing/designation courses.
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MAINTAIN YOUR LICENCE
All licenses issued by the Insurance Council of B.C. are continuous; they no longer expire, but licensees are required to file by June 1 each year to demonstrate that they have met licensing requirements. Licensees are still required to transfer licenses between employers and to amend licenses.
In order to maintain your General Insurance license, you must meet the Council's current Continuing Education (CE) requirements, which are:
For each license year, or portion thereof:
- If you have an approved designation* you must have four qualified hours of continuing education; OR
- If you have been licensed as a general insurance agent or salesperson for at least five of the last seven years in a Canadian jurisdiction, and you do not have an approved designation, you must have six qualified hours of continuing education; OR
- If you have not been licensed as a general insurance agent or salesperson agent for at least five of the last seven years in a Canadian jurisdiction, and you do not have an approved designation, you must have eight qualified hours of continuing education.
*Approved Designations: CAIB, CIB, CIP (formerly AIIC), CCIB, FCIP and CRM. Designations from other countries will be considered where it is demonstrated to Council that they are equivalent to one of the approved Canadian designations.
For more detailed information on licensee CE requirements, please refer to the Insurance Council of B.C.
Moving to B.C.?
Pre-licensing and licensing courses, including the Fundamentals of Insurance and the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) program, are largely standard across Canada, with some regional content added to reflect differences in provincial regulations and insurance products. Brokers with an active license from another Canadian province are usually able to transfer their license as long as they have found employment at a brokerage in B.C. For more information, contact the Insurance Council of B.C.
Carrying credits forward
Continuing Education (CE) credits can no longer be carried forward from one licensing period to the next. Please see the Insurance Council of B.C. website for further details.
Have questions or comments about IBABC Continuing Education? Contact Dawne Polak at 604-606-8012
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IBABC member brokerages have access to employee recruitment, retention and training resources that give them a competitive edge.
Post a Job
A Compensation Survey, with important compensation data for 18 typical brokerage positions, updated to 2010 by Western Compensation & Benefits Consultants, is available from IBABC. Click for order form.
These suppliers provide products and services that meet the specific needs of the P&C insurance brokerage industry:
Pre-hire profile assessment specific to insurance brokerage job positions are available from Omnia Group and Dynamic Leadership Inc. Sean Neumayer, Omnia Group, 1-800-525-7117
Pre-employment background checks are available from BackCheck. These include police clearances and resume verification and reference-checking. Ron Shay, BackCheck, 604-613-4198, 1-877-613-4111
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