The Talent Pipeline | Centennial College

With Richard Karim from Centennial College

IBAO has partnered with six Ontario College Insurance Management Programs to help bring new talent to the broker channel. We spoke with Richard Karim from Centennial College to discuss their Insurance Management program and how it prepares students for an exciting career in the insurance industry.

Tell us about Centennial’s Insurance Management Program. 

Centennial College’s Insurance Management program is currently in its fifth year, offering a one-year Graduate Certificate that helps students find a pathway in the insurance sector. The program offers seven out of 10 Canadian Insurance Professional (CIP) courses and is coupled with other advanced courses including accounting, law, and economics. The program also offers a two-week field placement in the winter semester where students are paired within the sector, either at a carrier or brokerage to learn and engage with professionals. The program offers several events, bursaries, and prospects to build them up for success.

What has the interest level been for the program?

The program has had growing interest from students, however, due to the pandemic, enrolment was stagnant over the past two years. We’ve seen a significant increase in student enrolment in 2022 and expect this year to have the highest turnout. Our goal is to be consistently between 25-30 students and have a program available in both the Fall and Winter semesters to meet the demand for jobs.

We promote our program to Centennial graduate students who are approaching the end of their three-year program. We also see international students from Asia and South America with an interest in insurance enrolling in the program. 

What is Centennial doing to increase interest in the Broker Channel?

The broker channel can have a negative connotation as some students associate brokers to sales and salary to commission. Our goal is to educate and inform the importance of the broker channel, their invaluable knowledge in the industry, their role to protect their clients, and the various roles brokers play including account management, producing, and marketing to ensure students understand each stakeholder’s involvement when placing and spreading risk.

Centennial currently partners with IBAO and several brokers sit on our Program Advisory Committee to give direction on the program outcomes and initiatives. In addition, we have partnered with IBAO to offer free RIBO level I licensing to those who apply and qualify (minimum GPA of 2.0).  IBAO has joined us as a guest speaker, promoting the benefits of being a broker, including a mentorship program, free networking events including the IBAO convention, and career fairs.

What feedback have you received on the program?

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Students were not expecting to come in and land a great job with a great company eight months later. Insurance has some of the best opportunities for growth, balance, and a meaningful career. Students love engaging with professionals. IBAO events, career fairs and their field placement at their employers are their best experiences. They see how hard individuals work, how much the industry gives back to communities, and the level of care we take in serving our customers.

What other new initiatives does Centennial have planned?

While Covid isn’t entirely behind us, we are excited to return to campus for the majority of the classes. We are planning a hybrid model, with one course being taught online. This will allow us to return to a more traditional learning experience and have speakers from all areas of insurance to help build momentum for students to be excited. We have expertise in underwriting, claims, broking, reinsurance, risk management and project management to help students find an area that will spark their interest and help build a long-term strategy for their careers. 

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