The following is a guide to becoming an insurance broker in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. For a full guide on becoming an insurance broker in Saskatchewan, Alberta or BC follow this link.
What licences do I need to be an insurance broker?
To become an insurance broker in Canada, you first must successfully complete a licensing exam. The specific licensing requirements you need will vary across provinces. Provincial insurance associations can prepare you for the exam through licensing courses and, generally, are great resources for exploring the levels that you can achieve as you climb the insurance ladder.
There are typically three levels of licensing courses and exams you can take, which develop your insurance knowledge and ready you for a variety of careers in the industry:
- Level 1 licensing, which is recommended to newcomers to the insurance business that want to learn the fundamentals of insurance.
- Level 2 licensing: intended to progress your career in insurance and required to take on a supervisory role in a brokerage.
- Level 3 licensing: permits the licensee to take on management duties in a brokerage.
Most provinces will offer instructor-led online courses, in-person classes, or self-study depending on the licensing level, but look to your provincial association to find a full list of options.
Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB)
Licences, and the courses and exams needed to attain them, are just one of the ways that you can become a broker. Another option is pursuing the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) designation, which involves a program compromised of four courses that conclude with a national examination. Once all four are successfully completed, candidates can receive the recognized college-level professional CAIB designation, which is equal to a Level 1 or General insurance broker licence.
To learn more about CAIB courses, the benefits of going down the CAIB route, and the additional professional designations you can attain as an insurance broker, click here
Those interested in becoming a broker in Manitoba can take a Fundamentals of Insurance (FOI) pre-licensing course that, when successfully completed, satisfies the education requirement for a Level 1 licence, according to the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM), the main provider of licensing courses and continuing education for general insurance brokers in the province.
The Level 1 licence lets its holder sell every category of insurance including accident and sickness insurance, but excluding life insurance inside an office of a general insurance brokerage, but not outside of it, and only under the supervision of a Level 2 licensee. The Level 1 course is available through home study or a five-day course.
IBAM also offers an FOI course with IWS certification, which is a complete licensing and training solution for brokers in Manitoba that combines the standard FOI course with IBAM’s Auto Broker course – effectively a hybrid of Autobroker, FOI, and Manitoba Public Insurance’s Introduction to Autopac/Drivers licenses and the Insurance Work Station training. According to IBAM, “this course is specifically designed to better fit what today’s brokerage needs.”
Additional education options are listed by the Insurance Council of Manitoba, such as Red River College’s General Insurance Certificate program or courses available through the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC).
After meeting the requirements of a Level 1 licence, a Level 2 licence can be attained through the completion of CAIB 2 or CAIB 3, as well as other educational opportunities outlined by the Insurance Council. A Level 3 licence necessitates holding a Level 2 licence for a minimum of two years immediately before applying for the next level, as well as the completion of CAIB 4 or other courses available through the IIC.
Continuing education credit hours are required each year to maintain a licence, and are dictated by the Insurance Council as a minimum of eight hours for general insurance brokers.
In Ontario, an individual interested in becoming a broker must first take a course to prepare them for the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO) licensing exam. Alternatively, they can order a prep kit through the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) as a self-study option.
Then, they must pass a RIBO Level 1 exam and receive a passing grade of 75% or higher, and finally, secure a position at a RIBO-registered general insurance brokerage. They can also only be employed as an insurance broker, and must apply for a Secondary Business Exemption through RIBO if they have another job. Once meeting those requirements, that individual can then register with RIBO for a Level 1 licence.
A RIBO Level 2 licence requires a broker to pass the unrestricted–technical only exam, which allows the individual to remove the “Acting Under Supervision” restriction from their licence. A RIBO Level 3 licence meanwhile allows a broker to own their own brokerage, becoming a principal broker and practicing without restriction. The broker must first take a one-week prep course to prepare them for the unrestricted–management exam, but also must have two years of work experience in a RIBO registered firm.
As in other provinces, continuing education credit hours are required to maintain a licence. A principal broker or deputy principal broker must accumulate 10 hours each year, split across several focus areas. All other licensed individuals require eight hours of continuing education each year, as do newly licensed individuals.
Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec (RCCAQ) is the provincial association that represents brokers in the province, and is a major stakeholder in broker training. The Broker 101 (personal P/C insurance) and Broker 102 (commercial P/C insurance) self-directed online courses offered by RCCAQ help interested individuals prepare for the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) exam on their way to becoming an insurance broker.
To be able to sell financial products and services in Québec, you must hold the right to practise issued by the AMF via a representative’s certificate in damage insurance. To be eligible for examinations, candidates have to successfully complete specialized training through the education options outlined by the AMF for damage insurance, such as holding a Diploma of Collegial Studies from Québec or having a more general bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a Canadian university, though there are many options from which to choose.
Once the educational component is complete, future insurance professionals have to pass examinations based on the sector or sector class in which they want to practice, including damage insurance, personal lines damage insurance, or commercial lines damage insurance.
After successfully passing the exams, the candidate must undertake a probationary period, during which they can enter the insurance workforce under the supervision of a licensed representative. They must complete 28 hours of work each week in this capacity during 12 weeks for a sector or six weeks for a sector class. Following the completion of this requirement, the individual must submit an application to the AMF to obtain a representative’s certificate before the validity of the examination expires.