Justin da Rosa
Interested in a career in insurance? It’s a stable, recession-proof industry (people always need insurance) that offers a number of different roles suited to various personalities. Enjoy analytics and numbers? Perhaps a career as an insurance underwriter or actuary is right for you. Do you enjoy people and sales? Maybe consider a career as a broker.
If you’re looking for a flexible and potentially lucrative profession in the financial services industry, becoming a car and home insurance broker might be a great career move for you.
Let’s have a look at what it takes to become an insurance broker in Ontario.
How do I become an insurance broker in Ontario?
Becoming an insurance broker in Ontario is simple– excelling as a broker, however, takes time and skill.
To become an insurance broker, you’ll need to pass the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO) exam. You can write the exam online or in-person. Once the exam is completed, you’ll be notified within two weeks whether you passed or failed.
Candidates who fail are eligible to rewrite the examination within 8-months of their first test. Candidates who fail twice are subject to an 8-month waiting period following their second failed attempt.
Once you pass the RIBO test, you can apply for jobs and your insurance license (once you get a job, your employer will sponsor your license).
After that, you can begin your career as an insurance broker in Ontario.
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How much do insurance brokers make in Ontario?
Different companies have different pay structures, according to Morgan Roberts, director of sales at RH insurance.
“I’ve found most brokerages offer a base salary plus commission,” Roberts says. “With commission, I’ve seen people make $60,000 and I’ve seen people make $200,000. It’s a huge range but the sky's the limit.”
According to Payscale.com, the average base salary for an insurance broker in Toronto, Ontario is $48,736 per year. Among 138 salary profiles on the website, base salaries ranged from $39,000 to $87,000; bonuses ranged from $976 to $15,000; commission ranged from $103 to $21,000; and total pay ranged from $40,000 to $90,000.
With a commission-based career such as insurance brokering, you get out what you put in. As you build a book of business and develop relationships with your clients, your salary will grow.
How long does it take to become an insurance broker?
Since there’s just one required course, you can become an insurance broker as soon as you pass the RIBO exam. Which means it might take just over a month, according to Roberts.
“You can do a week-long course that’s a 9-5 and do the exam at the end and once you pass the exam, RIBO just needs to put your license in,” she says. “It takes about three weeks from the time you write to when you can start practicing.”
What qualifications do you need to be an insurance broker?
As mentioned, the only requirement is the RIBO license to offer home or auto insurance. However, there are additional courses you can take to deepen your knowledge and add to your expertise.
The Insurance Institute of Canada offers the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation, which offers further education in the field.
The CIP covers dozens of topics, including; loss adjusting, claims management, cyber risk, business interruption insurance, cargo and goods insurance, marine hull and associated liabilities (e.g. boat insurance, but much more), fraud awareness and prevention, and gateway to commercial insurance, among several others.
The bottom line
So, still considering a career as an insurance broker? Go for it! Especially if you’re someone who is outgoing, compassionate, and enjoys a challenge, says Roberts
“With the clients … it’s like a little mini puzzle every time. No two clients are the same,” she says. “There are different things that need to be insured and everyone has different needs. I like helping people figure out what they need to be insured.
“You get to grow with your clients as well – you follow along a person’s journey as they grow as a person and as a family.”
And if brokering isn’t for you, but you’d still like a career in insurance, there’s likely a role that suits your personality and strengths.
“Call and talk to brokers. If you call and talk to a broker you will get the ins and outs. They will tell you what they love and what they don’t like about their jobs,” Roberts says. “There are a lot of parts of insurance in a brokerage and there are positions for you. If you aren’t suited for one you might be suited for another.”