The Insurance Institute of Canada is celebrating 1,201 Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) graduates this year, the highest number of graduates in any year since it was established in 1899.
“In a typical year, we graduate about 900 to 1,000 new CIPs, so that’s [at least] a 20% jump in the number of graduates, which we’re delighted to see,” says IIC president and CEO Peter Hohman. “Our other programs – our advanced CIP program, our fellowship [FCIP] program and commercial insurance [certificate] – they also enjoyed a strong increase in student participation.”
“It’s a recognition that the industry is continuously evolving,” Hohman says of the increase in graduates. “And in the last few years particularly, we’ve seen that [trend of change] accelerate noticeably, and certainly exacerbated by COVID.”
Recent global and national issues – climate change, cyber risk, the hard commercial market and the freedom convoy to name a few – have posed interesting insurance questions, Hohman says. “People understand that they have to continue their education and upgrade their skills to stay knowledgeable and competitive in this rapidly changing environment.”
Hohman also shared his view of how insurance professionals can expect to learn in the future.
While pre-COVID exams were conducted in person, Hohman says they were delivered in a computer-based format, which was convenient for students. “We were able to move them to full virtual very quickly once lockdown started, both for institute exams and licensing exams.”
IIC plans to begin offering in-person options for students in the September term, as restrictions begin to ease, and will reintroduce in-person exams in July.
“Going forward, even once we reintroduce in-person classes…which we’ll do for the fall, I believe we’re going to continue to see a growing interest in the virtual format of learning,” Hohman says.
“Prior to the pandemic, we were already seeing a growing number of people completing their studies through online learning at the institute.” Hohman says, noting that about one-third of students preferred to complete their studies virtually prior to COVID-19. “Online learning is more compatible for working adults who are continuing their education.”
Students may have taken advantage of the social distance restrictions to accelerate their studies, Hohman observes. “As a working adult, to find the time and energy to upgrade your knowledge, it’s never easy,” he says. “Especially during an extraordinary time like the pandemic that brought about all kinds of different stressors. But the people in the industry understand that this is a highly valuable investment that they are making in themselves and for their future.”
When it comes to the demographics of this year’s graduates, 75% of surveyed graduates are in the 25- to 40-year-old age demographic. Twenty-three per cent are between 45 and 64 years old; 2% are in the 18 to 24 age category, and a “handful” are in the 65+ category.
“In terms of education, 85% are university-educated, 10% have a college diploma and 5% are high school credentialed,” Hohman adds.
“We do know that the opportunity for professional development is one of the key drivers of employee satisfaction, and employers in the Canadian P&C industry are very supportive of people continuing their education,” Hohman says.
“I believe we will see a growing interest in insurance as a career,” he says. “I think it’s something that people, especially young people fresh out of school, can really get behind.”