Humber’s Partnership with IBAO: Erasing the Stigma

John McNeil—Program Coordinator, Insurance Management Program, Humber College

We start each year in Humber’s Insurance Management Program by asking students a series of questions to see where their head’s at in respect to potential industry career paths. One of those questions is “What role are you interested in pursuing?” The typical response: 50% want to become underwriters, 49% want to get into claims and 1% are considering a role in the broker channel.

When asking students why they feel this way, their responses include “I don’t want to be in sales, I don’t want to be on commission, I don’t want to be cold calling someone at dinner time”. These are powerful first impressions of a broker’s role from those new to the industry.

In the summer of 2019, Humber and IBAO established a partnership to change this impression among new insurance grads and promote the many exciting career paths within the independent broker channel. This partnership consisted of a steady IBAO and broker presence on campus at career fairs and speaking opportunities throughout the year. IBAO sponsored RIBO licenses and launched a robust broker mentorship program. Having the ability to access a mentor for advice was very impactful for students—many graduates have maintained contact with their mentors.

Recently, IBAO’s added new initiatives like hosting virtual talks from thought leaders across Ontario’s broker channel. These events have created a very positive response amongst students and generated a lot of excitement about the broker channel as a career path.

“These efforts resulted in a shifting of mindset amongst students to such an extent it resulted in 70% of graduates employed within the independent broker channel.”

They’ve resulted in a shifting of mindset amongst students to such an extent that it resulted in 70% of graduates employed within the independent broker channel. In speaking to students, a large part of these decisions was the fact they were exposed to a different perspective of a broker’s role they hadn’t considered.

Students in the Insurance Management Program at Humber are a very diverse group. They come into the program with many robust skillsets, education and some amazing personal narratives. Age ranges year-by-year from mid-twenties to mid to late forties.

We do most recruitment by guest speaking in on-campus degree programs like kinesiology, paralegal and business management. We also do a lot of Get Into Insurance events where we try to get students to select our program and the industry as plan A. We attract many career changers and new Canadians. For instance, we had one student last year who came into our program at 50. He was a surgeon and had his MBA. When coming to Canada he didn’t know what he wanted to do. After a conversation with him he selected the program, wrote his RIBO license through IBAO, and ended up as a commercial broker. I spoke to him recently, and he loves what he’s doing.

The success of IBAO’s partnership has led to increased support from broker employers and partners including the establishment of many new broker scholarships, and a very exciting partnership with Applied Systems. IBAO’s partnership has been instrumental in watching this amazing change among new insurance grads at Humber.

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