When an Ontario broker finally gets their RIBO licence and is ready to start their career, they might be missing a few practical skills that their counterparts who have already been working for some time possess. Recently, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) launched a new eLearning course, “New Broker Essentials,” that hopes to fill the practical skills gap between newly licensed and working brokers by providing professionals with a smooth transition into their new careers.
While the RIBO course is excellent, said Brett Boadway (pictured), IBAO’s chief operating officer, it focuses on topics like the foundations of the RIB Act and the Ontario Automobile Policy Owner’s Policy (OAP 1).
“What’s missing is some of the practical application components that are needed on the job, like what is a broker management system, what is a company portal, how do you actually pull a quote for a customer?” explained Boadway. “These are things that are not taught in the RIBO course, which is what our course attempts to fulfill.”
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The IBAO’s new course is available in two versions – one for students and one for management. The former has been created with the guidance of expert brokers and provides newcomers with practical training on day-to-day tasks that they’ll face at their brokerage via five modules – Brokerage Systems 101, AutoPlus & MVRs, HITS Reports, Working with Your Underwriters, and Handling Customers.
Meanwhile, the management version of the course is dedicated to – you guessed it – managers who want to craft an in-house training program. They’ll learn to prepare training schedules and lesson plans, create engaging activities, and assess trainees, all while using the same five modules as a template.
“Every insurance brokerage runs their operations differently, so in order for this to be a true training course, we needed to provide the opportunity for management to apply their own brokerage nuances to the training,” said Boadway. “Not every brokerage has the same philosophy about how quotes should be provided to the customer so the student learns how to pull a quote, but then the management layer that lies over top of the course would say, ‘At our brokerage, we ask that when you provide a quote, for example, you always provide three options or you provide three options and we never go below this limit.”
This version allows managers to customize the program so that staff is trained for their brokerage. After all, no two brokerages operate in the exact same way.
Beyond the two training programs, the IBAO also has a commercial lines licensing course, a CAIB program, and a RIBO Level II course, which together make up an entire educational suite that brokers need to go all the way to the top. The new IBAO course also fits in nicely with the association’s broader strategy to build and support a talent pipeline for the broking industry while continuing to make brokers the best choice for consumers, of which education is an important component.
“[New brokers] get their RIBO licence and now they can get up to speed quicker on how to be a fully functioning broker when they get hired at a brokerage,” said Boadway. “Then the brokerage has a workforce that is up to speed and knowledgeable, and they can start better servicing the client.”