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The Talent Pipeline | Conestoga College
With Sean Lichty—Professor, Business Insurance, Conestoga College
IBAO has partnered with six Ontario College Insurance Management Programs to help bring new talent to the broker channel.
Tell us about Conestoga’s Insurance Program.
Our two-year diploma program provides broad exposure to business practices within the insurance industry—areas of study within P&C coverage include agency claims and investigation, underwriting, marketing and management. An optional co-op term provides an authentic, professionally relevant work experience. The opportunity to connect theory with practice allows students to develop a broad base of occupational skills, learn key concepts and terminology within the field and expose students to networking opportunities.
Who enrolls?
We attract students with a wide array of experiences and backgrounds. The average age is 24. Most come into the program with a degree or diploma from another institution. Approximately half of our students are international, which brings a unique perspective to the entire program.
How does the program highlight the broker channel?
We offer a course that’s essentially an introduction to being a broker or agent, along with a marketing course and a sales course that focus on selling and marketing insurance products. Our graduates have been extremely successful passing the RIBO exam, which is often a requirement for positions in the broker channel. IBAO’s newly announced RIBO Bursary Program will be warmly received and greatly appreciated.
What new initiatives are you planning?
We’re very excited about our new 4-year degree in Financial Services that has a specialization in insurance. The program’s launching September 2022. It will not only allow students to obtain 9 CIP courses but will provide a firm foundation in data analysis, financial services and business. As a polytechnic college, our focus is to offer hands-on training. With respect to our broker training, we’re looking to provide relevant technology training so students are exposed to the most-used programs in the broker world.
What’s the students’ interest level in the broker channel been historically? Has it changed since IBAO’s partnership?
Usually, where a student works during their co-op term determines where they work after graduation. The first exposure students have to the broker channel is a field trip to Staebler Insurance. They’ve been extremely supportive of our program and invite our students to participate in hands-on training of how a brokerage operates. With the introduction of IBAO’s Mentorship Program, students are now gaining insight into the broker role in their second semester, which is greatly assisting them in their decision on where to work for their co-op term. Most of last year’s graduating students now work in the broker channel.
How has the pandemic affected the program?
The pandemic required us to pivot quickly to online delivery of courses and exams. There was a direct impact on enrolment numbers last fall with several students deferring given the unknowns surrounding online classes, projects and exams. Our department worked extremely hard to give us the tools to successfully run our courses with synchronous classes and asynchronous activities. This fall, numbers are back up to historic highs as both students and professors are finding a level of comfort with online courses.
Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
1 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700
Toronto, ON M4P 3A1
416.488.7422 | 800.268.8845
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