The Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) has hit back at claims that brokerage owners and managers are displeased with the preparedness of young recruits, or that the bar to entry for the insurance sector is too low.
A recent article on Insurance Business Canada
quoted one entrepreneur as saying that government regulation is at fault for “setting the bar pretty high” for young insurance brokers in some jurisdictions in Canada, with some employers finding it difficult to attract people who can pass the test.
The statement was polarising. One commenter agreed: “It used to be possible to get an entry-level role in a profession with high earning potential without needing the equivalent of a university degree. Now we're closing those doors - forcing young people to go into debt to get qualifications that don't actually help them do the job.”
But another commenter on the article was incredulous: “In Ontario, there are no educational requirements to be an insurance broker. Pass the RIBO exam and you are in! A total embarrassment...We sell and have to explain legal documents, need little or no education and these guys are belly aching about the bar being set high?”
But the spokesman for IBAC disagreed on both counts. “The bar is not set too high for qualified people to enter profession,” he said. “Canada is a standard setter in this regard and both the US and Europe have followed Canada's lead. The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) sets the standards for qualifications for about 90% of the global market, and Canada's standards are higher than IAIS.”
The spokesman said that high standards are good for consumers and help raise standards in developing markets. “I don't believe this dissuades entry to the market,” he added.
When asked if there is a skills shortage in the Canadian insurance sector, the IBAC spokesman said no, because there is so much new blood flowing in from other industries, especially the environmental sector, as specialists in earthquakes and flooding are finding their skills in demand.
He did however concede that there is much demand for technology skills, something the insurance sector did not consider ten years ago.
“There is new demand for tech skills,” he said. “Technology is a company's biggest exposure today, even more so than natural disasters.”