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Virtually all surveyed p&c employers endorse CIP designation, but post-secondary graduates have limited knowledge of industry: briefing


August 19, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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A Conference Board of Canada survey of property and casualty insurance industry stakeholders across the country shows strong employer support for the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation, with 97% reporting they offer some form of support for staff taking the CIP program.

Seventy percent of employers encourage professional employees to earn the CIP designation as part of their performance review process

Conference board findings are based on interviews and surveys of more than 1,000 p&c insurance industry stakeholders in 2014, notes a statement issued Tuesday by the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC), which commissioned the review.

IIC sets professional standards for the p&c industry through education programs leading to designations, including CIP, the statement notes. “The CIP program bridges the general education provided in university or college, and the specific training offered by individual firms,” by providing industry-specific knowledge, key concepts and best practices, the briefing states.

The review found that support offered by employers to employees completing the CIP program takes different forms, including paying for CIP courses (offered by 91% of surveyed employers), providing time off work for study and exams (74%), bonuses for course completion (56%) and salary increases (24%).

“What is more, 70% of employers encourage professional employees to earn the CIP designation as part of their performance review process,” the briefing states.

As for employees, the briefing points out, almost 80% of respondents to the employee survey indicated that the CIP designation leads to better career prospects in the p&c industry. (Among p&c insurance professionals who have not already graduated from the program, 67% are likely or extremely likely to take a CIP course in the next year.)

The conference board suggests that employer support “speaks to the benefits” they see in the program, with 76% of respondent employers reporting they saw some kind of “quantifiable return on their investment in the CIP program.”

The two top benefits of the program were higher-quality service to clients (noted by 77% of polled employers) and more capable employees (73%).

Other benefits include employees having more respect for clients, lower employee turnover, and higher employee productivity, the briefing adds.

For employees, those holding a CIP designation earn an average annual wage premium of about $8,000 more than their colleagues with a similar level of experience, but without the designation.

Survey findings further indicate 55% of polled employees expect that a CIP designation will lead to higher pay, and 53% say it leads to higher mobility within their organizations.

Regardless of occupation in the p&c industry, the CIP designation is seen to be of benefit. [click image below to enlarge]

For employees, those holding a CIP designation earn an average annual wage premium of about $8,000 more than their colleagues with a similar level of experience, but without the designation

For employees, those holding a CIP designation earn an average annual wage premium of about $8,000 more than their colleagues with a similar level of experience, but without the designation

But awareness of the p&c industry among post-secondary graduates continues to be a challenge. Despite 53% of Canada’s adult population holding a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate in 2012, the board interviews “suggest that most of these graduates likely have a very limited knowledge of the P&C industry. Even those with business or commerce degrees have minimal exposure to the concepts and business practices related to the industry.”

Survey responses show about 60% of industry professionals report feeling “they needed further education and training to prepare them for the demands of the P&C industry,” the briefing adds.

Employers currently tend to develop the technical skills of their new hires once they have been brought into the organization. For most employers, they “begin their training programs after they have had a chance to observe their new hires in the workplace – sometimes for a year or more,” the briefing notes.

The view is that the CIP program can help bridge “the more generalized skills and knowledge acquired in university or college and industry-specific skills required by P&C employers,” it states. Employers most often look to the program to develop employee skills in general knowledge about the p&c industry (sought by 75% of respondents), technical skills specific to the industry (58%) and specific knowledge for occupations common in the industry (44%).

Other review findings include the following:

• more than 55% of polled employers report that their training system is at least partially connected with the CIP program;

• 71% of surveyed employers agree that job candidates with a CIP designation are of more interest when recruiting;

• the CIP designation is most useful to polled underwriters (82%), those in claims (69%), adjusters (66%) and brokers/agents (60%);

• 56% of surveyed employees suggest a CIP designation is either very or extremely beneficial in supporting their morale and confidence; and

• 70% of respondents agree the largest barrier to completion of the CIP program is time.