January 30, 2018 by David Gambrill
There’s a new training ground in Canada for insurance professionals interested in fast-tracking themselves into entry-level management positions at insurance companies, adjusting firms and brokerages.
Humber College in Toronto is halfway through its inaugural, two-semester P&C Insurance Management Postgraduate Program, with the first cohort of 32 students expected to graduate in June 2018.
“We are building the next managers to mid-level managers,” John McNeil, part-time professor and program advisor at Humber College, said of the program’s strategic direction. “They could be managers, or specialists. They will have the leadership skills to lead a project or supervise people. They will be able to speak to executives in the room with confidence in presentations. We are setting up our students in such a way that they are in line for or can situate themselves for leadership roles and succeed in them.”
The postgraduate certificate program starts in September during the Fall semester. A total of 14 courses are taken over two semesters, seven courses each semester. After graduating from Humber’s program, a student will have seven out of 10 required courses towards a Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation from the Insurance Institute of Canada.
McNeil said the program took a year to build and the insurance-specific courses were designed after consulting with an advisory council of P&C leaders. The courses generally tackle the basics of insurance, underwriting, adjusting and the broker business. But they also offer training in management-level skills.
Specifically, the advisory council discussed what kinds of skills insurance leaders would need over the next five years. “What companies are really going to be investing in is thought leadership,” McNeil told Canadian Underwriter Friday. “The skills of the future are critical thinking and analytics, and the ability to manage multiple projects.”
For example, the council pointed to the need for future insurance managers to have core skills in project management, accounting, data and metrics analysis, as well as sales and marketing, to name a few. As a result, the program at Humber features signature courses such as Project Management, Insurance Accounting and Metrics, and Marketing, Sales and Customer Service.
Thus far, students in the program possess a global insurance perspective, with some having had a background in the international insurance industry. Program faculty were hand-picked from the insurance industry and went through a rigorous process to prepare them for teaching the program course material. The school is currently working towards partnering with insurance companies to offer program scholarships and internships.