Summer 2022 edition
Heather Masterson on leadership goals, career path and why insurance is the place to be
Anyone who’s ever thought a career in insurance is boring should think again, according to Heather Masterson, IIC Chair and President and CEO of Travelers Canada. “Across our industry, the work we do is not only intellectually stimulating, but very rewarding. With every insurance policy we sell, we make a promise to our customers that we will be there when they need us. Knowing we play a small part in making someone’s life whole again is a very powerful reward, and it makes what we all do very meaningful.”
Heather says as innovation and technology continue to transform our industry, new opportunities will be created. “We are already seeing the emergence of new and interesting roles – like drone pilots and cyber investigators – that didn’t exist a decade ago. This is such an exciting time to be part of the industry.” She adds that as environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities continue to accelerate, the ability to respond and lead in these areas will become increasingly important for carriers and brokers.
While it’s important that insurance professionals continue to develop their industry-specific skills, according to Heather, it’s just as critical to work on soft skills. “A growth mindset, resilience and great communication skills are arguably the most important skills you’ll need to meet the pace of change and accelerate your career.”
Heather reminds insurance professionals that the Institute has many resources to assist with career planning and advancement. “Whether you are new to the industry or looking to grow your career, a great place to start learning about the many roles available is the Institute’s mycareer program. This resource can help you to map your unique skills, your interests, your strengths and work experience along the many career paths in the industry. The Insurance Institute can also support you throughout your career with various programs including professional designations, certificates, continuing education and mentoring.”
For those looking to advance their careers into a leadership role, Heather has the following advice: “I’ve learned that a great leader isn’t someone who leads, it is someone who others want to follow. It’s about mentoring, guiding, coaching and leading from behind. In doing so, you give people the opportunity to develop, innovate and contribute to the success of your organization.”
Heather’s top tips for leadership:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The best leaders know when they need help and know who to turn to in order to get it. No one can know everything, so finding a mentor or somebody you can turn to for advice or support when things get tough can make all the difference.
- Develop and live your core values, both personally and professionally. The best leaders are committed to their values and use them to guide their decision-making.
- Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Leaders find the greatest success when they create teams of people who are experts in their areas and give them room to grow and innovate. These are the leaders who people want to work for.
- It’s not about you. Don’t make your leadership about being in charge or being right. Practice servant leadership by serving the people you are leading. You’ll have people lining up to work for you and the business results will follow.
- Continue to learn. I spend quite a bit of time reading, learning from other professionals in and outside of our industry, and participating in insurance conventions and thought leadership conferences across Canada and the U.S. But most importantly, I am learning, unlearning and relearning the things I need to know to stay ahead. Learning agility is the key to succeeding in an unpredictable and constantly evolving environment.
As Heather’s year as Chair of the Insurance Institute of Canada winds down, she says she’s grateful to have had the honour. “Playing a role in guiding the work of the Institute has been very rewarding.” One project Heather and her fellow board members were involved with this past year was the CIP Program review. “The CIP has always focused on technical skills, which I believe is so important for insurance professionals at all levels. But I’m pleased to see an increased emphasis on technology, data and soft or enabling skill development in the curriculum as well.”
Her favorite part of being Chair, however, has been the privilege of celebrating a record number of graduates at virtual convocation ceremonies across the country. “Becoming Chair during a pandemic was unconventional, and not being able to attend convocation ceremonies was disappointing as I would have enjoyed meeting the grads in person and watching them come on stage to receive their designations. However, I believe we managed to celebrate our graduates in a meaningful way through some great virtual convocations.”
Finally, Heather would like to send a big thank you to the many Institute volunteers. “The Institute would not be what it is without the passion and commitment of volunteers and their dedication to help people succeed in the industry. I can’t stress enough the importance of getting involved as it is such a natural extension of the work we do every day in our business – helping others. Putting your knowledge and skills to good use at the Institute not only helps build the next generation of insurance professionals, but it also contributes to your own personal growth and development.”
A day in the life – Sindy Houle
Insurance is part of virtually everything we do in life and in business! There are many opportunities for career growth and to be a part of an inclusive community.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Sindy Houle, who is director of Canadian sales for FRISS, a company that provides automated fraud and risk detection for p&c insurance companies. She tells us how she landed in Insurtech, why she has spent the last two decades serving the insurance industry, and how learning remains key to her role in this evolving field.
After completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Ottawa, Sindy started working for a Canadian company providing content assessment services to p&c insurers. It was her first introduction to the world of property & casualty insurance.
She started her Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) courses a few years into the role, as a means to get a better understanding of the industry her organization operated in and the problems she was helping to solve for insurers.
Sindy’s insurance journey
After her CIP, Sindy decided to pursue the FCIP to further her career. “I was looking to gain perspective on various real-world challenges facing the industry and organizations in general,” she says. “I wanted the opportunity to pick up relevant and timely strategic insights and apply the learning as part of my responsibilities, to become a more effective leader.” Knowing she was looking to start a family while focusing on her career, Sindy also appreciated the flexibility of the FCIP program, which is delivered via e-learning.
“I remember delivering the final capstone project like it was yesterday,” Sindy adds. “I felt incredibly proud to have gotten this far, looking back at all the learnings from my first CIP class, and all the industry peers I had the great pleasure to collaborate with along the way.” The graduation ceremony further reinforced Sindy’s sense of belonging to a wonderful industry, and she felt honoured to celebrate her accomplishment with fellow FCIP graduates and many dedicated members of her local Institute chapter.
Since her FCIP graduation, Sindy has continued her education by attending various industry events and webinars, many of them organized by the Insurance Institute and other bodies such as IBC. “I believe continued learning is critical to understanding the risks and opportunities that lie ahead, and to being able to reflect strategically on how to tackle these,” Sindy says. “As John F. Kennedy stated, ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.’”
Sindy notes that while she did not specifically “choose insurance”, she soon realized the extensive career opportunities that existed in the industry. For nearly 20 years, Sindy has held roles within organizations operating on the periphery of p&c insurance – content assessment, glass claims management, and now fraud analytics – organizations that we would now refer to as Insurtechs.
In her current role, Sindy is accountable for providing key insights to support her organization’s Canadian business development strategy, building and developing trusted partner relationships with industry stakeholders, and staying abreast of and sharing changes that may impact fraud analytics with internal teams to continuously drive value for customers.
A typical workday involves connecting with Canadian p&c insurers, introducing her company’s AI-powered fraud analytics solutions, and supporting the discovery process to enhance insurers’ existing fraud management capabilities.
“The industry has undergone an incredible amount of transformation in the last two decades,” Sindy points out, “and it has been exciting, challenging and rewarding to work with insurers and various industry stakeholders to identify innovative ways to improve productivity, reduce leakage and improve the policyholder experience.” She believes this is just the beginning: “The transformation will continue and I expect a radically different landscape will emerge for the industry. Who said insurance was boring?!”
Advice and insights
Sindy says she often gets asked why she undertook the FCIP – why make such a commitment of time when she didn’t work for an insurer? With hindsight, would she make the same decision again?
“My response is absolutely!” Sindy says, adding that the FCIP allowed her to develop a better understanding and awareness of the industry – not only through the course material, but also through her peers’ perspectives, thanks to the highly collaborative nature of the program and the diversity of participants’ responsibilities and experiences.
“My advice to anyone considering completing their FCIP is to speak to their employer to get buy-in, and also to peers who have completed it to get different views on the commitment, benefits and considerations of the program,” she suggests.
Sindy credits the FCIP with boosting her confidence and giving her opportunities to cultivate transferable skills such as business acumen and critical thinking – all of which enhance her ability to find new and innovative ways to support insurers through their transformation. “Through the FCIP, I invested in myself,” she says, “and I still apply life-long learnings from the program.”
Insurance Institute launches podcast pilot series
In June of 2022 the IIC launched its pilot podcast series titled “Mind Your P&C’s”. This podcast series is focused on the p&c insurance space in Canada and brings the Institute’s unique vantage point to the content.
The initial launch includes several podcasts including a Personal Branding Career discussion with industry executives, and selected Student Voice interviews conducted with recent graduates. The current offering is available through SoundCloud or on our website, and there are no costs or sign-ups required to access it.
New episodes are already under development for the Mind Your P&C’s podcast. These new episodes are being designed to easily fit within the length of a commute and will vary in length from 15 – 25 minutes.
We see the podcast series as complimentary to our current modes of connection with our members. We enjoy meeting our members, with relevant digital content, where they like to be.
Mind Your P&Cs will have something for everyone, whether you are an aspiring new entrant to the sector, student/grad, or thriving industry veteran leader. Tune in to learn and get inspired by those who are paying-it-forward for the benefit of Canada’s p&c insurance industry.
With the first new episodes starting to drop in August 2022, be sure to follow us on our social media channels for announcements and updates about Mind Your P&C’s.
Plot your career path with mycareer
One of the perks of working in the insurance industry is the variety of opportunities for professionals to build their skills and take their career path in a wealth of different directions. However, it can be overwhelming at times to have so many options!
To feel a sense of contentment and pride, professionals need to take ownership of their career paths and conduct personal reviews of how they are progressing, and what else they might like to accomplish. The benefits of cultivating self-awareness of your skills and interests for a career personal roadmap include being more engaged and satisfied with your career. A career path isn’t always linear, for some individuals a move might be lateral to broaden your knowledge and skills; or specialize in a rewarding area. Everyone has a career path unique to them.
The Insurance Institute has a dedicated resource to help you design your career plans, mycareer has four sections to assist you in exploring your options and achieving your goals:
1. Career Maps:
Mycareer contains 12 different career maps for core roles within the insurance industry. To use the maps, select an area you are interested in. The map will help you determine where you are now, what are some possible goals, and how to implement them. Each section contains four levels starting with Foundation, Building, Enhancing and finally Mastery. Examples for each level are given for development areas ranging from core values, skills and competencies.
2. Education Pathways:
Once you know what areas you want to develop, use the education pathways section to plan out your journey. What program is the right one for you to build the skills and competencies you desire? This section will help you to explore the designations and certificates offered by the Insurance Institute. Some program examples include the General Insurance Essentials (GIE) Certificate, provincial licensing requirements for your role, the Risk Management Certificate and the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) Designation. Don’t forget to check your local institutes and chapters for other education seminars and workshops.
3. For Career Management:
The amazing aspect of your career is that it is yours to design! Individuals who take agency over their own career path are more satisfied in and out of the office. Don’t wait for your next performance review, plan out some time for a personal review on your own. This starts with self-reflection and awareness of your skills, values, motivators, and satisfaction. Use the career benchmarking pdf on the mycareer site to determine where you are so you can track your progress.
4. For Managers, HR & Organizations:
While the intent of mycareer is to provide career mapping for those with less than 10 years of experience, it’s an awesome tool for HR, managers and leaders to keep their teams engaged and help guide their development. The current war for talent is fierce! Career mapping can help with the retention of your team. Employees who feel they have a supportive employer who is interested in their development are more likely to stay with their organizations. Regular check-ins, career path examples for your organization and training and development opportunities are ways to hold onto to your in-demand talent pool. Use the 12 career maps to plan out conversations, assess current development levels and build a plan for increasing competencies. You’ll also find tip sheets for providing feedback, proper coaching and performance review conversations. Another valuable resource for leadership is the mentor section on the IIC website.
Take ownership of your career and make it rewarding. The Insurance Institute is here to support you with training and development opportunities and education programs. The mycareer tool is a proactive resource to map your skills, interests and strengths that will take you to the next level in your career journey.
CIP program maintains premier status through continuous evolution
The CIP program is already well known for its modern design, quality of education, standards, and relevant technical offerings. But did you know that the CIP program undergoes ongoing content rewrites and structural revamps, to maintain its leading-edge status in the premium insurance education space?
In fact, the recent round of updates to the CIP program illustrate the many ways in which the Institute continues to deliver on the highest quality learning opportunities. The updated CIP courses are designed to ensure students have the most current technical information as well as an enhanced learning experience through online course resources and interactive study tools. “Our courses are more relevant than ever with robust content focusing on concepts that matter,” says John Stathakos, Director, Academic Programs and Product Development, IIC. “Over 1500 learning objects have been updated in the program to date.”
The up-to-the-minute learning available through the CIP designation program also stems in part, from the continuous prioritization of curriculum updates, focused on emerging issues and evolving themes including Fraud, Cyber Security, Climate Change, Business Interruption (Pandemic), Technology and more.
Over the past three years, the CIP program has been transformed through learning design modernization efforts including redesigned content and the incorporation of visually impactful updates, reflecting a wide array of colourful diagrams and images. Other enhancements include scenarios, case studies, examples and practice exercises.
The learning design modernization effort placed consistency and clarity at the centre of the design thinking. The yield was fresh, relevant, modern, enriched content that can be followed more easily.
Another win for high quality learning standards is the continuous roll-out of e-books. When combined with highly flexible learning options, students can participate through live in-classroom settings and/or watch recordings afterwards and engage digitally, in a manner that meets their needs.
The content itself was re-written by professional editors, with a lean writing style and then their work was refined and perfected by in-depth subject matter experts. This ensures premium quality content.
Research and consultation
The CIP designation program has also undergone extensive research including collaboration with a large and varied industry taskforce of stakeholders.
The CIP Program review included:
- Interviews: held with 30+ Senior Leaders in the insurance industry
- Focus Groups: 15 Focus groups were held across Canada with CIP candidates and graduates and engaged over 100 participants.
- IIC Membership Survey – yielded the substantive responses of over 4500 contributors. Our contributors represented a wide variety of Canadian companies, roles held, career stage variation and encompassed both English & French market representation.
“Our CIP program never stands still,” says Peter Hohman, IIC President and CEO. “We are in constant consultation with industry experts along with our instructors, our students, and our graduates to ensure our insurance education is in sync with the realities of the industry. This continuous evolution helps to maintain the CIP program’s cutting-edge status in insurance education.”
Graduates crown their achievements with a digital badge
In 2021 the Insurance Institute partnered with Credly to launch digital badges for a range of active members. The portable images were available to graduates who have earned their FCIP, CIP, ACIP or CMGA designations or Risk, Commercial, MGA and GIE certificates. Over 65% of students in the most recent graduating class accepted the invitation to download the digital badge and display their new credentials on their online profiles.
CIP graduate Chris Colby was among them. He found the implementation process very simple, “I just verified some information, and was able to share it with my colleagues and friends immediately.” He has added the badge to his LinkedIn page and his professional signature. “Having a visible badge from such a highly esteemed organization shows my clients and colleagues that I’m committed to continuing education and professional excellence.”
FCIP graduate Jas Sahota echoes Chris’ words on the badge implementation. “It was very easy to access my badge and share it on social media.” She says she participated in the program for a variety of reasons. “I am an avid believer in lifelong learning and the digital badge allows me to share my passion for continuous learning by proudly displaying it on my LinkedIn profile. It gives me recognition and credibility in the insurance field among my peers. Lastly, it demonstrates proof of my skillset and accomplishment”
Digital badges are becoming increasingly popular as educational institutions recognize their many benefits. Chris is pleased the Insurance Institute was ahead of the pack. “While I do appreciate the physical certificate, in today’s digital world the badge allows me to share verified credentials with clients and colleagues across the country, without having to be in the same room.”
If you’re eligible for a badge or would like to learn more about the Institute’s digital badge program, visit our information page.
Fun Facts about insurance
Insurance is everywhere in life. Check out these fun facts about insurance:
After a crank call, underwriters insisted the priceless Leonardo da Vinci cartoon of the Virgin and Child at the National Gallery be protected by a sheet of Perspex. This seemed excessive, but it was a masterstroke – shortly after, a tourist made the artwork the target of a bottle of ink. The ink hit the Perspex.
The 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond was a gift to Elizabeth Taylor after Richard Burton insulted her hands, and was the most expensive diamond at the time with a cost of $1.1m. Once the diamond was insured it was specified that it could only be worn in public 30 days a year and must be protected by Security guards.
Like many athletes, Troy Polamalu formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers had part of his body insured. But in this case, it’s actually his famous hair! As part of their endorsement deal Proctor & Gamble had insured Troy’s locks for $1m.
CIP Society Corner
Meet the p&c pros leading the way
The CIP Society is governed by a group of dedicated volunteers made up of experts from the p&c insurance industry. Our council members have a three-year term limit, and during their tenure they are dedicated to ensuring that CIP graduates get advanced professional support through education and networking events, critical industry research and information, in addition to personal support through our valuable member benefits program.
This year, the CIP Society Council was delighted to welcome three new members: Neal Jardine, Kim Nguyen, and Jean-François Parisien.
Neal Jardine is the Global Cyber Risk Intelligence and Claims Director for BOXX Insurance and is an international leader in cyber terrorism and ransomware negotiation, privacy breach and data loss. Kim Nguyen began her insurance career in 2019 and in that brief time progressed from the trainee program at Northbridge to her current role as Analyst on the Strategy and Corporate Development team. Jean-François is a busy underwriter at Liberty Mutual Canada, in addition he is the current President at a L’Association de la relève en assurances du Quebec (LARAQ). These three individuals bring p&c expertise and unique individual perspective to our council.
Are you interested in making a difference in the p&c insurance community? Consider volunteering with the Insurance Institute of Canada. The Institute is always looking for motivated professionals from a variety of backgrounds, with strong critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills to sit on a variety of councils and committees. Be sure to stay connected with us to hear about volunteer opportunities!
New Rogers mobile discount for CIP members
CIP Members get great member benefits! The Rogers Preferred Program is now available to all CIP Society Members. The Rogers Preferred Program offers cell phone plan discounts and great deals on the latest mobile technology. The Program is free to all active CIP Society Members!
- Discounts: Save up to $30 off up to 10 lines for CIP Society Members and their families
- Take advantage of the largest 5G network
- Unlimited data with no overage charges
- Smartphone Deals: Bring your own or take advantage of our discounted financing
- Bring your own device, and save money, or
- Upgrade your device with the device trade program and take advantage of discounted financing
Access the Rogers Preferred Program for CIP Society Members by logging into your exclusive Venngo online account.
Membership renewal helps you stay in the know
As a member, you can continue to give your career a boost with our coveted CIP, ACIP, FCIP, and CMGA designation programs and our Risk Management and Commercial Insurance certificate programs, as well as professional development opportunities that give you access to the latest industry knowledge and real-world practices.
Our membership year runs from June 1 to May 31. We have already sent notifications out to you or your employer by e-mail or post, and our Member Services team is busy processing renewal payments. If you haven’t renewed your membership already, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible to ensure that service interruptions are avoided.
Renew and pay on-line now—it’s quick and easy:
1. Go to www.insuranceinstitute.ca.*
2. Log in and go to “My Profile” and then “My Membership Information.”
If you have yet to receive your membership notification, please contact our Member Services Team as soon as possible at 1-866-362-8585, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST.
* Visit www.insuranceinstitute.ca to view your profile, and don’t forget to update your details if they have recently changed.
2022—Annual General Meeting
The 69th Annual General Meeting of The Insurance Institute of Canada will be held in Calgary, Alberta, on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, in the Leduc Room. The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. MDT and follow this agenda:
1. Notice Calling Meeting; Roll Call
2. Reading of Minutes
3. Reports of Officers, Councils, and Committees (including Chair’s Address)
4. Annual Financial Statements and Auditor’s Report
5. Approval of Acts of Governors
7. Appointment of Auditors and the Determination of Their Fees
8. Such other business as may be properly brought before the meeting
Heather Masterson, BA, B.Ed, FCIP
Chair of the Board of Governors
Peter Hohman, MBA, FCIP, ICD.D
Chartered Insurance Professional
President and Chief Executive Officer
Course text updates - July 2022
Click on the following links to see CIP course text updates as of July 2022.
English | French
Call for content contributors
Are you looking to share your industry knowledge and understanding of current best practice? Are you eager to participate in a rewarding professional development experience? Consider joining our community of industry professionals and contributing to the Insurance Institute of Canada’s expanding content library and course offerings.
We are looking for volunteers with
- a minimum of three to five years’ experience in the P&C industry, such as underwriting, claims, risk management, and sales; and
- expertise in emerging and evolving fields, such as data analytics, extreme weather, pandemics, autonomous vehicles, and cyber security.
Past experience in writing or teaching is not required—a dedicated editor will guide you through the process and help you review, update, and/or write content.
As a volunteer, you will be thanked in the Institute’s annual report and receive an honorarium for your contribution.
If you or someone you know would like to share your expertise and contribute to the development of the Institute’s professional designation and certificate programs, contact email@example.com. As a next step, you’ll be asked to fill out a brief online form outlining your experience and credentials. The academic programs team will then determine how your expertise aligns to the projects that are under way.
The Insurance Institute welcomes your expertise.