May 18, 2017 by Gloria Cilliers
Mobile classrooms. Self-paced learning. Gamification. It’s an exciting time for Canadian P&C brokers collecting Continued Education (CE) credits.
“The industry never stands still,” says John Stathakos, director of academic programs and product development at the Insurance Institute of Canada. “Whether it’s changing consumer demands, increasing natural catastrophe risks, or the onset of emerging risks like the sharing economy, insurance is constantly evolving. And broker education needs to keep up.”
That’s why the Insurance Institute recently launched CE On Demand, its first foray into self-paced online professional development courses designed for broker continuing education.
“The program offers ten courses on various subjects, which have been identified by brokers themselves as important during a survey we did,” Stathakos explains.
Some of these topics include managing cyber risk, the sharing economy, E&O, D&O, personal liability, and business interruption, and courses will be added as new topics arise, he adds.
Brokers didn’t just get to identify the course content, tbut also the program format. “We like to stay in touch with the CE needs of our industry stakeholders and we recognized that they seek convenient, quick, efficient ways of learning. With self-paced e-learning, you can pick and choose the content and the time and place where you want to learn it.” The one-hour, accredited courses provide the most up-to-date technical content, and also provide brokers with the opportunity to problem-solve the knowledge they obtained, so “they can best direct their clients around what insurance they need… Brokers aren’t passively receiving information, they’re actively engaged.” And in case students have a question, a virtual instructor is on hand to further engage them. Engagement is key when it comes to online learning, says Pete Bode, CIP, CRM, commercial insurance advisor at BrokerLink in Alberta, who is currently enrolled in CE On Demand.
“CE has evolved into much more than just a means to an end to obtain credits,” Bode says. “The more you challenge yourself to learn, the better you are as a broker. Learning online, at your own time and pace, has become invaluable to brokers who want flexible learning environments that help them keep up with the latest industry trends. I’ve also built up an entire network of brokers, underwriters and adjusters from connecting with classmates on Skype after attending courses online.”
He believes most brokers are embracing new and innovative ways of learning.
Zurich Insurance is banking on that. The insurer recently introduced gamification into a new CE course called Winning Titan, through which brokers play an interactive game to put together a compliant, multinational program for a fictitious company called Titan, which has “operations” in Europe, the U.S., Canada and India.
Feedback from brokers who’ve attended the course has been phenomenal, says Patrick Healey, senior vice-president of distribution and regional management at Zurich Canada.
“Having seen the outcome of Winning Titan, we recognize that education is shifting, from being an annual task that a broker has to tick off to keep their license, to something they’re really embracing and excited about,” Healey says.
The need for the course was identified after Zurich experienced some compliance issues around locally admitted policies in Europe. “We found that it was difficult to transfer learnings around the components that go into developing a multi-national compliant program into a one-hour course. With Winning Titan, we’ve moved from a traditional classroom to an interactive, dynamic, team-playing learning environment.”
RSA Canada recently launched its WiseUp program in Ontario, which offers topical accredited courses online and on mobile. This is being rolled out to other provinces soon, says John McNeil, RSA Canada’s learning and development manager.
“We did a lot of research about how people take in information and prefer to learn,” McNeil says. “In the old days, you’d go to a specific location and listen to presentations. Now, with competitive targets and new challenges, brokers don’t have the luxury of time. And they’re inundated with CE emails. WiseUp courses are presented in 15-minute bursts, which allows brokers not only the flexibility to easily fit it into downtime wherever, whenever, but makes retention of information easier.”
The program is also a cloud-based learning management system in which brokers can track their education and print certificates, he adds.
At the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO), educating brokers about implementing new technologies is a key focus of their CE programs. They host two to three accredited Top Share Exchange (TSX) webinars every quarter, says Sarina Visram, director of member relations and communications.
TSX webinars include a broker and subject expert panelist, who facilitate the sharing of ideas. Topics include digital marketing, social media, Google Analytics, social engineering, ransomware attacks and e-signatures (the most popular).
“A webinar is something that brokers can do together at the office, or during lunch at their desk. And if they’ve missed it, they can always watch the video later or download our podcasts and listen on-the-go,” Visram says. “There’s nothing more valuable in broker CE right now, than quality learning in convenient new ways.”
Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the May 2017 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine
This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.