Low pass rates for licensing testing the industry

Low pass rates for licensing testing the industry | Insurance Business Canada

Low pass rates for licensing testing the industry

Jonathan Brown (pictured) didn’t intend on becoming an insurance professional. A colleague got him involved in the life and health insurance space after Brown left his work with the federal government behind. He has now worked in commercial and personal lines since 2009, and has been with Peters Insurance Agencies, based in Alberta, since 2014.

One of the problems facing the industry, according to Brown, is the low pass rates for licensing in the province. In this Q&A, he discusses the challenges these scores pose for the industry, why he’s passionate about leading young brokers, and his many achievements, including recognitions from Insurance Business.

Tell us about your career trajectory. How did you end up in the insurance business and your current position?
I became involved in insurance almost by accident. I had left a position with the federal government and was looking at my options when an acquaintance asked if I would be interested in a position working for him in the life and health space. I knew nothing about insurance, but the position sounded good and he sold me on it. After five years in the L&H side, I decided to make the change to P&C coverage and haven’t looked back. It has been 13 years now and three brokerages later, I still love what I do.

I came to Peters Insurance Agencies in 2014 from HUB International, and I love the small city feel of things here, and the relationships that I can develop with our clients.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work?
I would say that the best thing about working in this industry is the opportunities that we have on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of the people that we work for. Being able to provide the peace of mind that not only will we insure your property in the event of a loss, but that we will have your back through it all is so rewarding. Seeing how we are able to be the difference between financial hardship or recovery from the loss makes all the hard work worthwhile.
When you look back at your career, what are your proudest accomplishments?
I would say that my proudest moments are when clients tell me how I was the best person that they have dealt with, and was the difference between a difficult loss and complete recovery. I would also say that being named to Insurance Business “Top 40 Under 40” two years in a row was a proud moment, as well as being elected as vice president of the Professional Young Insurance Brokers (PYIB), our young brokers association here in Alberta.
How does Peters Insurance Agencies differentiate itself from competitors?
We try to do the little things better than anyone else, especially in how we go the extra mile for our clients. We are looking at expanding our digital marketing through social media and our website, but for us it will always come back to making sure the clients have the best insurance experience they have ever had.
You’re involved with the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta in several positions. What are you hearing about the challenges currently facing brokers in the province?
Currently, one of the issues we are facing is severely low pass rates for Level 1 Insurance Licensing in Alberta. This makes the challenge of hiring competent and effective brokers more difficult, and could have long term implications for the future of our industry if the examination process remains the way it is now.  IBAA and PYIB are working to affect change in the provincial regulations surrounding licensing, through lobbying of our provincial government to approve equivalent knowledge and training such as a CAIB or CIP designations as qualifying the holder of the designation to hold an insurance license in Alberta without having to pass the provincial license examination. This would bring us in line with the majority of the rest of Canada, and would allow us another avenue to get qualified candidates into our industry.
Why is it important for you to be involved with PYIB specifically, and what’s on the minds of young brokers today?
I feel strongly that you get out what you put in. I think that being a broker is one of the most rewarding careers that you can get into, but we need to be willing to be involved in the industry as a whole, and not just in our own offices. Being involved with PYIB has expanded my horizons and allowed me to connect with some of the best people in the world, as well as challenged me to become a better broker.

As far as what is on the mind of young brokers today, I think that we are adapting to the changes in our marketplace in regards to use of technology and the changing market conditions in Alberta, but one of our greatest needs is for more of us! We are hoping to spread the word that a career in insurance is one of the best choices that you can make.

If you weren’t working in the insurance space, what would you be doing right now?
If I couldn’t make a living as a professional tournament fisherman, I would probably be either building houses still or in the Alberta oil patch.
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