CIP Proud

Graduate stories from the CIP Proud campaign

The CIP Proud campaign was created to celebrate the achievements of our students and graduates. Through the campaign we can speak to students and graduates about the motivations that bring them to us, the highs and lows they experience during the program and the learnings they would offer to future students.

Take a moment to read the stories of CIP graduates striving toward a brighter future.

Navjot Paur, CIP

Account Manager - WBI Home Warranty


IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP and how does it feel to graduate?

Navjot: While there were several motivations to continue my education, primarily, the CIP program suited both my current position and future aspirations as an insurance professional. It allowed me to gain knowledge of specific aspects of insurance but also helped in further developing my skillset as a business professional.

Earning my CIP gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Achieving an Honours standing in the program at graduation was a proud moment for me and my family. It goes to prove that hard work, ambition, and an aspirational attitude remove all boundaries and obstacles on your way to success.

IIC: What message do you have for anyone in the industry considering getting their CIP?

Navjot: I highly recommend the CIP program for anyone still considering if this is the right roadmap to a successful career in the insurance industry. The depth of material covered, the skills that are developed, and the knowledge you leave with are no less than a standardized university education in my opinion. It unequivocally opens-up a wide variety of opportunities in the industry.

IIC: How did you juggle work, study, personal life while earning your CIP? What tips can you share?

Navjot: Time management and organization of your day are of the utmost importance. One must never lose sight of life’s other aspects. It is only through a balance of all that you can enjoy your life - both personal and professional. The most important tip that I would like to share is to make the CIP class a part of your daily routine. With classes once a week, it is important to touch upon the material regularly.

IIC: Can you detail your CIP journey? What inspired you to continue?

Navjot: I began my career as a broker with the Cooperators, a job I thought would be no more than what it was, a job. Once I became familiar with all the different positions, job roles, and types of insurance, I began to consider this a career. After being hired at ICBC, I realized that I needed to continue to grow as an insurance professional, and the CIP program was the perfect way to achieve that. Being content and happy with my career of choice was motivation to continue to pursue the CIP.

IIC: How do you believe the CIP will help you in your career?

Navjot: The CIP program equipped me with the skillset, knowledge, and a network of individuals that will allow me to continue or, at the very least, provide an opportunity to further my career.

IIC: Can you tell us why you chose to build a career in the insurance industry?

Navjot: The reason I chose to pursue insurance is that the industry is a combination of several other areas of study. As an injury claims adjuster, you are exposed to medical, legal, and engineering. As an agent or broker, you become familiar with underwriting, mathematics and relationship building. As a warranty provider, you get experience with construction and marketing. The insurance industry has something for everyone.

Dhara Desai, CIP

Distribution Services Representative, Co-operators


IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP and how does it feel to graduate?

Desai: I decided to start working towards my CIP as soon as I realised that I needed profound knowledge of the insurance industry, and by having a CIP designation there will be more and better opportunities in the future for advancement.

I enrolled back in 2019 and completed courses one by one. I felt my knowledge and my confidence levels increase as I progressed, which helped me perform better. My graduation gave me a sense of accomplishment as I completed my designation.

IIC: Earning your CIP during the pandemic must have been challenging. How did you adapt?

Desai: At first, I was worried because my in-person exam was cancelled but soon I realised I was blessed when the Insurance Institute of Canada started online exams. I was so passionate about obtaining my CIP that I grabbed the opportunity and took two courses at a time. Since we were isolated and there was not much to do outside, it gave me more time to study. As a result, I completed my CIP within 3 years.

I appreciate that the Institute made this transition very easy for me.

IIC: Can you detail your CIP journey? What inspired you to continue?

Desai: My CIP journey started back in 2019 just before the pandemic started and the whole world was changed. We adapted to new lifestyles and to fewer activities. More time at home helped me focus. Meanwhile the Institute introduced online exams which helped me use more time towards my studies.

I was motivated by my online class Instructors. They were very helpful and open for any support we needed with learning. All instructors from my courses made learning interesting and their new techniques helped make distance learning feasible and straightforward.

My family helped me a lot during the pandemic and kept me focused and motivated as I completed almost seven courses during the pandemic. By the end of the pandemic, I can proudly say I had completed my CIP.

IIC: How do you believe the CIP will help you in your career?

Desai: I strongly believe that I had better opportunities as soon as I completed my CIP. My CIP is a notable designation on my resume. In addition, the CIP provides intense knowledge which we require in the insurance industry. Also, it helps in understanding every layer of the insurance structure i.e. the Regulators, Insurance Agents, Underwriters and Adjusters.

IIC: What message do you have for anyone in the industry considering getting their CIP?

Desai: I highly recommend those who are in the insurance industry to acquire the CIP designation because it will improve your career prospects.

IIC: Can you tell us why you chose the insurance industry to build your career in?

Desai: I was in a sales role when one of my friends introduced me to insurance. I got my OTL license and started my career as a Licensed Insurance representative. After some time, I wanted to try another role in the industry and with the guidance of my leader and a senior colleague, I decided to pursue my CIP designation. It was a great decision that opened a wide range of opportunities in the insurance industry.

Joel Phillip, CIP, CIC

Commercial Insurance Account Manager, Petrela, Winter & Associates

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP and how does it feel to graduate?

Phillip: I decided to take the CIP to immerse myself in the world of insurance and acquire a better understanding of the industry to advance and grow my career. I feel very proud to graduate with my CIP as it gives me a firm foundation to stand on as I progress further in my insurance career. I liken having my CIP to an accountant getting his or her CPA and the level of distinguishment between having that designation versus not having it all.

IIC: Earning your CIP during the pandemic must have been challenging. How did you adapt?

Phillip: I adapted to earning my CIP during the pandemic by doing my best to make the learning experience as close to the in-class experience as possible. I accomplished this by participating in the virtual lectures with questions for my instructor and being as present and attentive as if I were physically in a classroom.

IIC: Can you detail your CIP journey? What inspired you to continue?

Phillip: My CIP journey began in 2018 and I finally completed the program in the spring of 2022. Throughout my CIP journey, I also achieved the Insurance Institute of Canada’s new Commercial Insurance Certificate as an introduction to the world of commercial insurance. This was very important for me as it served as a springboard when I was transitioning from personal lines to commercial lines. The Certificate gave me two elective credits which I was able to apply toward my CIP so it was very practical and useful in that sense. Since the Commercial Insurance Certificate was a three-course program, this extended my CIP over four years. I was very inspired to continue by my wife who pushed me when I didn’t feel like studying and reminded me how close I was to completion. I must also give a shout out to Professor John McNeil who helped me visualize having my CIP and making it a reality.

IIC: How do you believe the CIP will help you in your career?

Phillip: I believe that the CIP marks the beginning of a successful career in the Canadian insurance industry. It will help me to be a trusted advisor to my commercial clients and understand how the industry works. The CIP was very instrumental in conveying the importance of insurance in society at large and how it affects the economy as a whole. I feel more of a sense of purpose working in insurance now that I that I did not have before taking the CIP. Having my CIP will also open the door to more opportunities in the insurance industry.

IIC: What message do you have for anyone in the industry considering getting their CIP?

Phillip: The message that I would have for anyone considering getting their CIP is go for it! If you’re serious about your career and want to make yourself more marketable to employers, having your CIP will definitely support your success.

IIC: Can you tell us why you chose the insurance industry to build your career in?

Phillip: I came into insurance from a sales background that was first developed in the fitness industry and then further progressed in the rental car industry with Enterprise. At the time I was looking for a sales career in a different industry. Like many, you can say that I “fell” into insurance as that is how it felt in the beginning. Once I got exposed to insurance and learned more about what it entails, it became more and more fascinating. My uncle had worked in the reinsurance sector and had me speak with a few of his associations. These conversations really started to pique my curiosity and led me to wanting to learn more; hence taking my CIP. Building my career in the insurance industry has been one of my best decisions, and earning my CIP is just the beginning in an industry that I truly feel is a hidden gem.

Ross Baillie, BCom, CIP

Senior Advisor, Lloyd Saad Insurance Brokers Ltd.


IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP and how does it feel to graduate?

Ross: I made the decision to pursue the CIP in 2021, and it took me 2.5 years to complete. Graduating from the program feels like a significant achievement, and I'm excited to start the next chapter in my education with the FCIP.

IIC: Earning your CIP on top of work and family responsibilities must have been challenging. What tips do you have for work/life/study balance?

Ross: Navigating the pandemic presented unique challenges, but at Lloyd Sadd we have a culture of collaboration that helped us adapt. Throughout the pandemic, our teams continued to collaborate closely, and this extended to our work on the CIP program. We were able to support each other and work towards our shared educational goals, despite the challenges we faced.

IIC: Can you detail your CIP journey? What inspired you to continue?

Ross: My CIP journey began at home, with my eldest son crawling around in the background. Proctored Exams were interesting, but despite the distractions, I was inspired to continue because I knew that the Risk Management industry would be a part of my career for decades to come. I wanted to continue evolving and enhancing my education so that I could stay ahead of the curve and be successful in my career.

IIC: How do you believe the CIP will help you in your career?

Ross: The collaborative nature of the CIP program has been incredibly valuable to me. Working with others within and outside of Lloyd Sadd, and sharing our thought processes, has been a powerful learning experience. I believe that this collaborative approach is something that will be essential to my success throughout my career.

IIC: What message do you have for anyone in the industry considering getting their CIP?

Ross: I believe that the CIP program is foundational for anyone looking to enhance their skills and advance their career within the insurance industry. The program is progressive, and the materials are comprehensive and engaging. My advice to anyone considering the CIP is to jump in with both feet and embrace the opportunities for growth and development.

IIC: As a recent graduate of both the CIP and CIC programs, can you tell us your thoughts on the newly refreshed C70: Gateway to Commercial Insurance course, offered as part of the CIP program?

Ross: The newly refreshed C70 course is one of my favourites in the CIP program. It has a strong focus on risk management, which is central to Lloyd Sadd's unique approach to the insurance industry. The processes outlined in the course, forms the foundation of our way of thinking. I believe that they will be valuable to anyone working in the commercial insurance sector.

Umie Shalma, CIP

Property Claims Adjuster

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP and how does it feel to graduate?

Umie: I decided to start my CIP journey back in 2016. I had only been in the insurance industry for about a year, and I was definitely falling in love with insurance!

IIC: Can you detail your CIP journey? What inspired you to continue?

Umie: It was a difficult journey to be very honest, I had a son who was in the toddler stages and my daughter was starting elementary school. I was working full time as well. During this time, I also went through some personal turmoil in my marriage, but my determination to achieve my CIP designation kept me going strong. I was able to stay focused on my goals and show my kids that if you are determined and focused then any goal is achievable.

IIC: Earning your CIP on top of work and family responsibilities must have been challenging. What tips do you have for work/life/study balance?

Umie: Take time to go through your books and organize your weeks according to the chapters. Each week put aside time to read through and work on the online resources. It does get difficult but if you stay focused then you will be able to achieve the results needed to pass each course successfully. I used to study in the evenings when my family was asleep, this called for a lot of late nights, but it was all worth it in the end.

IIC: How do you believe the CIP will help you in your career?

Umie: The CIP courses are designed to broaden our scope of thinking from our specialized areas of expertise. It helped me understand other aspects of insurance and broaden my knowledge. I went from Automobile Insurance to Property Insurance adjusting. The CIP designation has brought me immense recognition in the industry.

IIC: What message do you have for anyone in the industry considering getting their CIP?

Umie: Do it! You wont regret it, it’s a very fulfilling experience.

IIC: Is there anyone you would like to thank for supporting your education journey?

Umie: I’m extremely grateful for my parents’ support during my CIP journey. They stood by my side during the roughest parts, and kept encouraging me to continue. I would also like to thank my kids as they were a major motivation for me to achieve my CIP designation. A major thank you to my previous employer ICBC for supporting employees in this journey by paying for the courses. Without them I would not have been able to get my CIP designation. The Insurance Institute was also very flexible once COVID hit adapting quickly to the ever-changing environment. I am a CIP graduate and very proud of my journey.