CIP Proud

Our CIP Proud campaign has been an exciting opportunity to reach out to graduates and find out how their careers have progressed since they achieved their CIP designation. The stories we’ve gathered are varied and inspiring. They highlight the flexibility of the CIP designation and how it can open doors in every area of insurance.

 

Meet our CIP Graduates

 

Juliette Vaccarello
Business Development Manager, AIG - CIP

Juliette Vaccarello

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Juliette: Coming from a family of insurance professionals, I knew that I wanted to work in the industry, but I did not know in what capacity. I decided to enrol in the CIP program because I wanted to broaden my knowledge of the insurance industry and learn more about the career opportunities available to young professionals. The CIP does a really great job of providing a well-rounded curriculum that educates students on different business functions and career paths available.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Juliette: Taking the CIP has helped me understand the different business functions, organizational structures, and how everything works cohesively. I was a part of a special projects team that ran for two years at the company I work for. There were five of us in total from across different business segments within the organization. Having knowledge from the CIP helped me understand my team, their individual backgrounds, and ultimately, how our different skill sets would complement each other in our efforts to work together.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Juliette: Absolutely! Working with others and teaching are both passions of mine. I am able to do this on a daily basis in my role for an insurance company and I have also had the opportunity to facilitate some of the CIP courses for the Insurance Institute of Ontario. As a result of teaching with the Institute, I had the opportunity to facilitate a course internally at the company I work for.

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

Juliette: The CIP will enable you to feel well-rounded in terms of learning about the different businesses, lines of insurance, and career opportunities that are available. There are so many different jobs and roles in this industry; there is something for everyone. After finishing your CIP, you will have a better understanding of what the insurance industry is and job opportunities available to you.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Juliette: I enjoy working with other people and helping them reach their goals. In my world, that can be anything from helping colleagues or partners—or even in a mentorship capacity through the Institute’s Career Connections Ambassador Program and Employee Resource Group within the organization that I work for.

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Glen Hall
Specialty Underwriter – Farm - CIP, CRM

Glen Hall

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Glen: Upon joining Intact, my position required me to obtain the CIP designation. After taking the first few courses, I realized the value of the knowledge I was gaining and how it could help me in my day-to-day work.

IIC: Did you have a favourite course during the program?

Glen: My favourite course was C121 Advanced Underwriting as it took a deeper dive into underwriting concepts. I was able to recognize many of the concepts from the course material in my daily underwriting of specialty risks.

IIC: Did you get the opportunity to interact with other students?

Glen: Throughout the CIP program I interacted with other employees, especially those at Intact Insurance (where I work). I was part of a Specialty Solutions Underwriter Development Program with nine other underwriters from across the country. Taking the CIP courses together allowed us to study for upcoming exams, discuss course concepts, and ask each other questions. Since many of the CIP courses are the same across the country and available virtually, you are able to interact with colleagues at any location.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Glen: The CIP Program definitely formed a solid base of knowledge for my position as a specialty underwriter. The ability to take courses specifically designed for the underwriting role allowed me to learn concepts and apply them immediately in my role. The CIP program has also given me the confidence to interact knowledgeably when I’m finding solutions for brokers, even if it is not in my line of business.

IIC: What was your experience at convocation like?

Glen: Convocation is a great capstone to a challenging two years taking the CIP Program. During that time, I also obtained my Risk Management Certificate (RMC) through the Insurance Institute of Canada and was recognized at Convocation for being the top RMC in Canada. The event does a great job in recognizing students for all the hard work they have put in and provides an opportunity to meet other graduates in your chapter.

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

Glen: I would recommend the CIP Program to anyone working in the insurance industry as it is recognized as the benchmark for insurance professionals in Canada whether you are an underwriter, adjuster, loss prevention consultant, broker, agent etc. The ability to learn at your own pace through a number of course delivery methods makes it easy to obtain your designation while working full time in the industry.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Glen: Working as a specialty underwriter, I feel gratified that I’m able to help brokers find solutions for complex farm risks. Many of the clients the brokers are representing have unique needs that can only be met by a specialized farm product and the peace of mind I provide allows them to continue to put food on the table for Canadians.

IIC: Are there any skills you gained during your CIP that have been applicable during the pandemic?

Glen: The most important skill has been to empathize with the challenges that everyone is going through. Having taken the Essential Skills for the Insurance Broker and Agent, I am able to better understand the insurance process from a broker’s perspective and the issues they are going through. The recent pandemic has added more challenges to a broker’s role and as an underwriter, I can empathize with the additional workload they are facing and the difficulty in navigating a changing market.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Glen: I enjoy golfing and playing a number of sports. Lately, due to COVID-19, I have taken up biking.

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Thomas Watson
Vice President, Guardsman Insurance Services Inc. - CD, CIP

Thomas Watson CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Thomas: I was looking to advance my industry knowledge to provide better service for my clients. The CIP was suggested to me as the premier designation that would give me a well-rounded learning experience in insurance education—covering all aspects of the industry without being 100% broker-channel focused.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Thomas: The knowledge and skills I have gained from the CIP program have allowed me to provide more professional advice to my clients. By understanding more about how the insurance industry works, I am able to educate my clients so they can make appropriate insurance decisions for themselves. Completing the program has also given me the confidence to put myself out there more than I used to.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Thomas: Since completing my CIP, I have been able to give back to the industry by teaching CIP and broker/agent licensing courses. I truly enjoy teaching and helping others learn and grow as insurance professionals. I also work with the Career Connections team by visiting high schools, colleges, universities, and job-fairs to promote the many exciting careers available in the insurance industry.

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

Thomas: Do it. Don’t wait. Just do it. The CIP will broaden your professional knowledge and help you deliver higher quality service to your clients, employers, and the industry.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Thomas: I love that being a broker means I am always helping people. Everything I do is centered around my clients to ensure they are protected in the event of a loss. It’s never fun to hear that a client has been in an accident or had a fire, but it IS always a good feeling when I am able to help them get back on their feet.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Thomas: What’s a day off? If I’m not at the office, you can find me spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter. I also work with the Canadian Armed Forces as a Cadet Instructor and I’m a dedicated volunteer board member for several charities.

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Mallory Baker
Leadership Program Associate, Intact Insurance - CIP, BBA

Mallory Baker CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Mallory: I was fortunate to spend each of my summer months during university working at Intact Insurance, where I was introduced to various areas of the business. As a recent graduate still in study mode, I was looking for ways to gain a broader understanding of the insurance industry overall—and dive deeper into the areas of insurance that I had not been exposed to. My employer was actively promoting the CIP to encourage staff to gain knowledge, and therefore, I began my courses immediately.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Mallory: The technical knowledge I have gained from the CIP program has been very applicable in my day-to-day work and has increased my confidence as an insurance professional. I often find myself faced with a question or a situation and have an “aha” flashback moment where I can bring it back to something I learned in one of my courses. I believe having the CIP designation increased the brokers’ confidence in me as an underwriter.

IIC: What was your experience at convocation like?

Mallory: Convocation was such a great way to celebrate everyone’s success. Working full-time while studying, writing midterms, and exams is not a walk in the park—and many people do so with families to care for. Being able to share the evening with family and co-workers who supported me along the way was such a great way to tie up the entire CIP experience.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Mallory: Having your CIP designation seems to be the industry standard if you’re looking to gain exposure in all areas of the business. In my experience, employers are looking for staff that are interested in expanding their knowledge and have the aptitude to learn about the business. Shortly after receiving my CIP designation, I was promoted to a Level 2 Underwriter with increased authority. I am now a Leadership Program Associate, as part of the Atlantic Leadership Development Program. Having my CIP has, and will, continue to form part of my profile as an employee who is serious about adding value to the company I work for.

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

Mallory: Just do it! Pursuing your CIP is not something you will regret. Not only will you have a better understanding of the P&C insurance business, you will elevate your status in the industry. It can be challenging at times, but the feeling of accomplishment once you are finished makes all that hard work worth it. If you’re hesitant to start, I encourage you to find someone in your company—or even outside your company—completing their CIP, so you can take courses together and bounce ideas off one another. A study buddy can be a great asset for anyone who needs that extra push.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Mallory: I get a lot of satisfaction helping brokers grow their business and take care of their customers. Brokers are facing many demands in a challenging market, and if I can help them with their goals and help alleviate some of their stresses, I feel personal satisfaction.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Mallory: On my days off, I enjoy getting together with family and friends for socializing and relaxing. I value work-life balance and think it is such an important part of being successful. I never take for granted how lucky I am to work for a company who shares the same values.

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Steve Gaudio
Commercial Account Manager, McFarlan Rowlands - CIP, CRM

Steve Gaudio CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Steve: After 17 years working as a machinist, I decided that I needed to make a change. I researched several alternate career paths and found that insurance would be the best path for me. I chose to enrol in the Fanshawe College Business Insurance program as it offered the option to write the CIP final exams at the same time. By the end of the three-year program, I left with seven CIP credits and one CRM credit. I soldiered through a total of five years in school to secure my CIP and CRM designations.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Steve: The CIP designation has given me the knowledge to help my fellow colleagues, guide insureds when they need the help, and the ability to work with underwriters and claims adjusters. It has given me the tools to work as a commercial account manager, where I have continued to build on my knowledge and increase my skills—while setting a great reputation for myself as getting the job done and working hard for the insureds. I am proud to say that I even had clients calling from India to secure insurance here in Ontario for their local businesses.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Steve: Obtaining your designation and having those three letters after your name shows your clients and industry professionals that you have worked hard and put your time in to earn your CIP. The CIP designation has allowed me to proctor exams and assist the Insurance Institute with continuing education such as writing a chapter on E&O. This also helps prepare you for advancement in your role, and any other new opportunities that may arise.

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

Steve: Why wouldn’t you take it? is what I would ask first. What’s stopping you? Working towards securing your CIP will benefit you in many ways. I have had the absolute pleasure to work with, and to be associated with, some of the most talented individuals in the industry, varying from personal & commerical lines account managers, producers, claims adjusters, underwriters and more. These individuals who have their CIPs work very hard at helping their clients. With your designation in hand, you are noticed for your education and hard work.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Steve: At the end of the day, I work hard for my clients. I am typically contacted first when a client encounters a problem or is in urgent need of help. It makes me feel good knowing I am equipped to help them. I’ve also had the pleasure of clients seeking me out, asking me to manage the insurance for their business.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Steve: When I’m not working, I enjoy going to concerts, sporting events, working in the garden or on cars and other projects. I love listening to audio books, reading and watching the science fiction fantasy genre—especially Star Wars.

While a board member for LIBA, I try to volunteer as much as possible for functions sponsored by LIBA such as Ride for Dad, with the Insurance Institute Career Connections job fairs or any other community events as they come up. But I really enjoy spending time with my wife and best friend of 15 years, Evelyn, feeding the wildlife from our back yard, going for walks, and traveling to new areas in Ontario.

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David Cicero
Commercial Lines Manager, Intact Insurance - MBA, CIP

David Cicero CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

David: I wanted to broaden my skill set, further my credibility, and acquire a better understanding of our industry.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

David: The CIP has given me a greater understanding of insurance fundamentals, and having this knowledge helps me make quality decisions in my job as a commercial lines manager in underwriting.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

David: Earning my CIP designation has provided me with plenty of opportunities and has elevated my career over the years. I’m fortunate to have worked in a variety of exciting roles with many industry leaders, the CIP has opened those doors for me!

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

David: Go for it! It’s a great way to heighten your expertise and gain a greater appreciation for the industry and what it represents.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

David: I’ve learned that our industry is about people and what we do helps society prosper in good times and be resilient in bad times. It makes me feel good to know that I’m a part of that, and in my current role, I support my team to do their best work, and have fun while doing so.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

David: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

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Braedyn Leary
Personal Lines Account Executive, Prairie Villa Insurance - CIP, CAIB

Braedyn Leary CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Braedyn: I decided to pursue my CIP designation to further my education and enhance my career. I was a single parent when I began taking courses through independent learning, and I’ve always wanted to crush the stereotypes around single parents and their career success. You CAN do anything you set your mind to as well as set a good example for your children.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Braedyn: Throughout the duration of the program, I learned a significant amount about the p&c insurance industry. These courses provided me with a whole new outlook on the industry and not only helped me grow as an insurance broker, but as a person as well.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Braedyn: As a recent graduate, being able to say that I have my CIP designation certainly enhanced my resume as well as conversations with potential employers. When I made the move from Manitoba to Alberta, I believe having the ability to let potential employers know that I would have my CIP designation in the fall helped me secure a position within a week of sending out resumes.

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

Braedyn: Do it—I cannot stress this enough. Whether you’re two years or 20 years in your career, you will learn so much! I have been in the insurance industry for four and a half years and managed to obtain my CIP designation as well as my CAIB and I’ve just started the Advanced CIP program. It is never too early or too late to start. Put your eye on the prize, and don’t stop until you get it!

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Braedyn: I love to help people. When I have new clients visit our office and put their trust in me, it makes me feel wonderful. When the clients I have worked with for multiple years continue to work with me and call me for advice, it makes me feel as though what I am doing matters. Our clients trust us to do what’s best for them and ensure they will be taken care of in the event of a loss. To be trusted to that degree is amazing.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Braedyn: I enjoy spending time with my family. I have a fiancé and a 10-year old daughter who have been the backbone to me obtaining my CIP designation. Now that I have a short break from studying, my days off are spent getting as much family time in as possible. My fiancé works in the hockey industry, so we spend a lot of our time in a hockey arena cheering on our home team.

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Thea Baird
Commercial Broker, AON Risk Solutions - CIP, CAIB

Thea Baird CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Thea: After moving into a commercial department, I felt that I was going to need more education in order to succeed in my new role—so I enrolled in the CIP program. At the time, I was interested in claims and becoming an adjuster. In order to move into claims, I had to either have my CIP or actively be working towards my CIP.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Thea: The CIP has helped me better understand the products we sell, identify and evaluate risks that our clients face, and has also assisted in the development of my negotiating skills. Overall, I have a better understanding of how a brokerage and an insurance company function.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Thea: At my office I have been recognized for receiving my CIP, which has allowed me to take on roles with more responsibility. Obtaining your CIP increases your ‘Professional’ status in the industry. To me, the opportunities are endless.

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

Thea Baird holds CIP certificate

Thea: Complete the program—it’s worth the hard work! If you’re undecided on the career path you would like to take, that’s ok. The program offers options for different career paths; whether it be in underwriting, claims, or a broker/agent role. And because the CIP is recognized across Canada, it can lead to future advancements and the opportunity to take on more senior roles. It’s important to always keep educating yourself.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Thea: I get to build relationships and network with underwriters and other colleagues—whether in my office or somewhere else in the world. I find solutions for our clients when they need us the most and knowing they can sleep easier at night because we’ve looked after them makes me happy. I’m learning more and more each day; growing professionally and personally. I like that I can apply what I’ve learned from my CIP courses into my everyday broking role.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Thea: To be honest, I don’t really take a day off! I am a mother and wife, so spending quality time with my family means the world to me. When I’m not running around with family schedules or busy at the office, I could be teaching a fitness class. My ideal day off would start with a 10km run, go shopping or painting with my daughter, then go get a treat with my family.

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Kerry Diehl
Insurance Consultant - CIP, CAIB

Kerry Diehl CIP graduate

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Kerry: After I obtained my CAIB, I wanted to learn more about various insurance topics, and also complete the educational credits I needed. The CIP had just transitioned from AIIC and I was eager to add the CIP designation to my name as an early innovator.

IIC: How has the CIP helped you in your day-to-day job?

Kerry: In the process of getting my CIP, I developed many industry relationships that I still have to this day. Completing the program gave me the confidence to take on a management role in different insurance offices while helping other agencies fill performance gaps and achieve their goals.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP?

Kerry: Yes, absolutely. Having the CIP designation—especially on the broker side—was not so common. So, it was a combination of the belief in myself that I was equipped to work with others on another level and the confidence of my employers that I could get the job done.

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

Kerry: Take one course at a time so you can focus on the learning aspect as well as getting to know others in your class. Your real-life experience in your day-to-day job will enrich your learning, and the learning will enrich your work.

IIC: What makes you feel good about the work you do?

Kerry: Since getting my CIP designation, I have been able to give back to the industry by instructing CIP courses at the Institute, volunteering at various insurance events, and joining the Career Connections Ambassador program. Over my 10-year span and over 120 classroom events, I have been able to talk about the history of insurance, how insurance works and careers in the insurance industry.

IIC: What do you like to do on your day off?

Kerry: On my days off I like to watch the Blue Jays, Raptors, Canucks and Blue Bomber games on tv, or spend time on my classic Sega Genesis game system in my man-cave.

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