Broker-hopefuls in Alberta are about to get a reprieve after years of well-documented issues with licensing exams in the province, including low pass rates and a lack of equivalencies with CAIB and CIP courses.
Now, the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC) has received approval for new course equivalencies, specifically for CIP course equivalencies for Alberta’s General Levels 1, 2 and 3 licensing.
“This gives people options, so that’s probably the most important thing, and in particular with the Level 2 and Level 3 licensing, we think that’s where people will take the most advantage of the CIP course equivalencies,” said Lisa Boniface, vice president of programs at the IIC. “In Alberta, there was no acknowledgement of equivalencies to designation courses. So, you strictly had to write the licensing exams that were administered by the AIC [Alberta Insurance Council]. We could provide education and we provided study materials that people could use to prepare for those exams and we will continue to do that. However, there were no equivalencies in place.”
According to the IIC, the following course equivalencies have been approved by the General Insurance Council (GIC):
General Level 1
General Level 2
General Level 3
With the insurance sector in Alberta historically helping to fuel job growth in the province, this recent change will also help brokerages get a leg up on developing new recruits by having those additional options as the broker-hopefuls work towards licensing.
Alongside the new equivalencies, studying for broker licensing and designation exams continues to be important.
“We really encourage people to take a course [or] take a class in order to prepare for writing the exams, and people will still do that through us to prepare for the Level 1 exam. But, in addition to that, we will likely make more courses available, so if people wanted to pursue the equivalency route for Level 1, then they could do that as well,” explained Boniface, adding, “One of the issues that’s been taking place, particularly in Alberta, is that the pass rates for those licensing exams have been quite low, and employers who are sponsoring people really want to see them pass the exams. People are more likely to pass when they have taken a course, whether it’s a CIP course or a licensing preparation course.”
IIC’s study materials are aligned with the curriculum documents produced by the AIC, and as those documents have been updated, the IIC has likewise had input on that process.
“We [also] routinely update our materials so candidates can be sure that they’re always studying from very current information,” said Boniface.
Chelsea Smyth, director of Western and Atlantic operations at the IIC, added: “Along with our updated streamlined study kit, there’s also a number of online resources that are available to provide an opportunity for students to engage with the material in a variety of ways. We have pre-recorded virtual prep courses and immersion prep courses that are aligned closely to those materials, so it’s a flexible product that allows learners the opportunity to test their knowledge in a very flexible online format.”