CIP Proud


The CIP Proud campaign was created to celebrate the achievements of our students and graduates. Further education is fulfilling and life changing, but it is also hard work and demands a significant investment of time and energy. The CIP Proud campaign has allowed us to speak to students and grads about the motivations that bring them to us, the wins and challenges they experience during the program and the learnings they would offer to future students. Take a moment to read the stories of insurance professionals striving toward a brighter future.

Meet our CIP Graduates

 

Connell O’Brien, CIP
Multiline Claims Adjuster, Intact Prestige

Connell O'Brien

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

Connell: I took the CIP program to expand my understanding of the insurance industry and gain practical knowledge which would help improve my skills as an adjuster. I can confidently say that getting my CIP has helped me achieve both of those goals. It was a fantastic feeling of accomplishment to graduate and be able to put those three letters beside my name!

IIC: You also won an award. Tell us how that felt.

Connell: Winning an award was a huge bonus. To be honest, I wasn't aware of all the awards out there. I would recommend anyone who is taking the CIP to see which awards they might be eligible for.

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

Connell: Taking courses during the pandemic was a unique experience. It was great to have the virtual class options and all the instructors I had did a great job of keeping things engaging. It also helped having friends take classes at the same time as me to help with studying, discussing topics and preparing for exams.

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

Connell: When the lockdown began, I found I had a lot more free time on my hands and I wanted to use that time to do something productive. I made it a goal to start taking two CIP courses per semester and kept that momentum going until I finished my last course. Admittedly it became tougher to stay on track toward the end with things starting to open up and my schedule starting to normalize but by that time I was so close to finishing and that motivated me to cross the finish line.

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

Connell: I believe the things I've learned during my CIP courses have already started to help with my career. It's helped me gain confidence in performing my day-to-day job as an adjuster by applying the knowledge I learned in the courses. I think it will also help me in my career growth as having a CIP designation is often preferred or a pre-requisite for a given role.

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

Connell: Initially the CIP designation seemed like a “right of passage” in the way of gathering knowledge in my field that would solidify my current position in claims and the letters behind my name would add character to my signature. However, I noticed very quickly that as I was still in the process of gaining my designation, I was using material that I had been studying in everyday situations, and with much more confidence than I would have otherwise. The CIP is also a great marker for other professionals in the field and in my experience has opened other opportunities already during my career in the insurance industry.

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

Connell: Give it a try! Start with the first class and go from there. If you stay consistent, you'll be done before you know it.

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

Connell: I'd like to thank my employer Intact for the financial support and the leaders I've crossed paths with at Intact who encouraged me along the way. I'd also like to thank my family and girlfriend for their unwavering support throughout the journey.

Back to CIP


 

Lesley Young, CIP
Claims Representative II, Accident Benefits at Intact

Lesley Young

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

Lesley: I decided to begin my CIP journey initially as a way to gather knowledge in a field that was fairly new to me. Over time, it became clear that the CIP program was not only a way to familiarize myself with insurance, but to maintain my adjusting licensing and gather a designation that would be an asset in my career. It feels amazing to call myself a graduate! Putting in the time and energy to complete the course work as well as the examinations was worth the excitement of completing the program and seeing the letters CIP after my name.

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

Lesley: Continuing my studies in the height of the pandemic was challenging, however, I and my colleagues seemed to adapt fairly quickly. Work life became virtual, and for a time, social life followed suit. In my experience, my instructors often offered support during this time as they were going through the same transitions in other areas of their lives as well. There seemed to be an understanding that we were all experiencing a major global event, and we could lean on each other for encouragement.

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

Lesley: My CIP journey began “Fast and Furious” if you will. I initially began navigating the course recommendations and requirements as it pertained to my adjusting licensing. Once I had completed the courses I required, I was able to really evaluate my choice in courses for each semester. Branching out to gather knowledge in other areas in the industry I had no experience in was eye opening and an inspiration for me to continue. The insurance field is such a large and all-encompassing line of work and completing my CIP cemented that idea, providing insight on all the places one could find themselves should they express interest.

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

Lesley: Obtaining the CIP designation helped me to be where I am now - a Commercial Auto Underwriter at Intact Public Entities. The designation gave me the knowledge required for my job and it helps me every day to provide a better understanding for our brokers and partners.

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

Lesley: Initially the CIP designation seemed like a “right of passage” in the way of gathering knowledge in my field that would solidify my current position in claims and the letters behind my name would add character to my signature. However, I noticed very quickly that as I was still in the process of gaining my designation, I was using material that I had been studying in everyday situations, and with much more confidence than I would have otherwise. The CIP is also a great marker for other professionals in the field and in my experience has opened other opportunities already during my career in the insurance industry.

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

Lesley: A message for those who are thinking about studying for the CIP would be to just give it a try and stick with it! It may seem overwhelming especially if you have a fast-paced family/home life, however, once you begin and gather that first “pass” of an exam, you’ll be inspired to continue. I would recommend starting the program with a friend or group of colleagues to help with the material and study sessions. You won’t regret it!

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

Lesley: I would like to thank my colleagues and management here at Intact Insurance. I started my CIP journey with about five or six of my colleagues, and it was a major motivator. We decided to take most of our courses together and took a fall semester off together as well. It was a bonding experience as well as a huge learning experience and I would not have wanted to do it with anyone else. All the flash cards, study sessions and pizza got us through! I would also like to thank Intact Insurance. The management team here are all really on the same page when it comes to supporting their employees in gathering the CIP designation and celebrating the milestones along the way. This expression of excitement and praise was also another great motivator.

Back to CIP


 

Mariana Penha, CIP
Underwriter at Intact Public Entities

Mariana Penha

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

Mariana: While I was enrolled in the Insurance program at Mohawk College, the professors always mentioned the CIP designation and the importance of it for the industry. I did my research and I saw that most companies were looking for a person with the CIP or at least, someone pursuing it. That was more than enough for me to make my decision and do it.

Graduating feels amazing, doing the CIPs along with the college exams and working was tough but it made me realize that everything is possible if we are willing to do it.

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

Mariana: The pandemic helped me to keep focusing on what was needed to grow my career. I was still working but as the outside world was shut down with nowhere to go, the best thing that I could do for myself was to study and gain my designation.

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

Mariana: I started my full-time course at Mohawk in September 2018, the more I knew about insurance the more I knew that it was the industry I wanted to get into. So, I learned about the CIP and the importance of it, and I decided to do all of the courses while I was at college. I figured if I had to study for my college exams and buy the books, why not do the CIPs as well? By the end, I would have the college diploma and all the CIPs completed.

The inspiration came from the desire to be better, to gain more knowledge and to have the job/position that I wanted. Since I started college, I knew that I wanted to be an Underwriter and all the job postings for that position were always requesting the CIP, so I knew that I needed to have it.

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

Mariana: Obtaining the CIP designation helped me to be where I am now - a Commercial Auto Underwriter at Intact Public Entities. The designation gave me the knowledge required for my job and it helps me every day to provide a better understanding for our brokers and partners.

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

Mariana: Having the CIP designation was a watershed in my career. It helped me to get my dream job and enhanced my knowledge about the industry itself. I can only say one thing, “Do it!” You will be recognized for it, that’s for sure.

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

Mariana: First, I want to thank God for giving me strength and good health to continue my journey. Then, my parents for investing in my early years education and my husband for being patient for the days that I could not be with him because I had to study.

I’m now doing the second course of the CRM designation. Let’s do this!

Back to CIP


 

Nikhil Apte, CIP
Business Analyst, First Quantum Minerals

Nikhil Apte

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

Nikhil: I had an insurance background prior to moving to Canada, and wanted to get a running start in understanding the insurance industry here. The more I searched, the better the CIP designation looked, as it is widely respected and highly sought-after. Most insurance job postings mention the CIP (whether graduated or in-progress) as a good-to-have. The curriculum is also well-rounded and thorough.

Another attraction for me was that FSRA of Ontario permits CIP holders to bypass the pre-requisite courses to the CIAA adjusting examination. This meant that CIP would bring me one step closer to a Full Adjuster Licence, since the adjusting domain interests me.

IIC: You also won an award. Tell us how that felt.

Nikhil: I won three awards along the way! Two in 2020 and one in 2021. Each of those unexpected emails had me beaming to no end. It feels fantastic to have graduated CIP with honours, of course.

Thank you very much, IIC and Insurance Institute of Ontario.

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

Nikhil: It was quite an experience, for sure. In fact, I moved to Canada with my wife (and beagle in tow) only in March 2020, just three days before Canada locked down. Before the move, I had signed up for two exams each for the April and July 2020 sessions under the Independent Study option. But as the pandemic grew stark, those quickly got postponed to June and August.

So here I was in Toronto – without employment, expecting a substantial drawdown on savings for an unknown period of time, with most of the economy being shut, and all the uncertainty that went with it. I was also self-funding my CIP studies.

My only thought at the time was to double-down on earning the CIP as quickly as I could. By the end, I had taken two exams in June, five in August and the remaining three in December 2020.

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

Nikhil: When I started, I had to make a choice of Applied Professional Series courses. I had prior experience in commercial loss adjusting and also in reinsurance underwriting, so it was a tough choice between the two disciplines.

I ultimately chose Loss Adjusting over Underwriting, because I figured I’d have greater insight into industry posture on losses, adjusting requirement specifics, Canadian laws, and professional expectations.

When IIC notified of the pandemic-related exam postponements to June and August, I felt I had room to seriously attempt some more exams. By the end, I was yet to find a job in the pandemic era, but 10 gruelling exams (within six months) and reading 2353 pages of text (thrice over, between April – December 2020) later, I had managed to complete CIP with honours in 9 of 10 courses - something I am very proud of!

I am sometimes asked by family/colleagues about that one subject (C112) where I got a B and not Honours, but I simply use it to remind myself that CIP was far from easy, the completion timeline notwithstanding. All in all, I think doing well in those initial exams motivated me to keep going. I suppose success can indeed cause a positive feedback loop. I keep the results in a screenshot with me for future encouragement.

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

Nikhil: First, I look at CIP as a great introduction to the Canadian insurance industry. Obtaining it also feels like the industry’s stamp of approval, in a way. Second, the primary reason I take on new things is due to my curiosity to learn them. While my career is presently on a slight detour into the mining industry (as a business analyst), the knowledge I have gathered during CIP studies stays with me.

I believe developing a risk-aware perspective helps one in every domain. In life, it is often difficult to attribute ‘X’ as definitively resulting in ‘Y’. But I do think CIP adds to my personal cumulation of knowledge and perspective. I also quite like that one of the CIP perks is gaining access to all course textbooks offered by IIC.

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

Nikhil: It is worth the effort. I found the entire CIP curriculum to be very well rounded, and the option of specialisations and electives really adds to a build-your-own CIP experience. Beyond the Independent Study option, I imagine the other routes of virtual/classroom learning must add that extra dimension of interactions and knowledge-sharing.

CIP graduate status will help put your best foot forward in employment endeavours.

Just one piece of unsolicited advice on tackling the exams through text-books – Make sure to read every sentence in each course textbook! The questions are designed to test what you know, as well as, what you should know that is not in the textbook.

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

Nikhil: I have gone too many sentences without thanking my wife Juhi for her support. Every time I’d ask her if I could take up one more exam, she would say, “Go for it!” Thank you so very much, Juhi, for putting up with my study-time, and thank you to my beagle Azula for joining me in this journey.

Back to CIP


 

Ansha Greene, CIP
Commercial Client Solutions Manager at Gallagher

Ansha Greene

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

Ansha: After I completed my licensing, I really wanted to learn more and become certified in insurance. It just felt like the right thing for me at the time. So, within a few weeks of starting my role, I asked my training manager if there was anything I could do to further my education and she told me all about the CIP program. Based on what she described I asked her to sign me up right away, but then she laughed and let me know that I had to pass my probation period before I could get enrolled.

At times, graduating from the program feels a bit surreal when I think about how little I knew about insurance then versus how much my knowledge had been enriched with every course I took.

But the exciting thing is, I'm already ready to dive into the next designation or certification because there is just so much to learn. And being able to learn with the flexibility that the Institute provides gives me that push to keep on growing and developing.

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

Ansha: I admittedly found it funny working towards this designation when it felt like everything we thought was certain in our world slowly drifted off into the abyss of the unknown. So, as you could imagine at peak points of the pandemic you'd find yourself asking, 'well what's the point?' But what the pandemic showed us is that our industry is robust, and despite the hard market that we are currently experiencing, from a personnel perspective, our industry has the ability to adapt and some may even say, it has the agility to be recession proof.

When I realized that about the industry, it really reinforced my 'why'.

I started looking at it from a new perspective and told myself this is actually the best time to get my courses completed. At the start of the pandemic, I was working from home and living alone with just me and my plants, so realistically I had nothing else to do but study anyway.

So, plot twist, completing my CIP courses actually helped me make it through the pandemic, and broke up the monotony in my day.

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

Ansha: My first insurance role started in the month of May and by September of that year, I was enrolled in my first CIP course. I decided that I did not want to rush it, so I did one course every semester. Now, just under three years later I’ve graduated. It was that desire to excel and learn more that inspired me to continue the journey.

I must admit that one constant motivator for me was that I REALLY wanted to add the CIP designation to my email signature! But then I started realizing that I was using so many things I’d learned from my courses in my discussions with clients. I was seeing how that knowledge gave clients a sense of comfort that is sometimes difficult to attain with the intangible, and to many consumers, seemingly abstract good that is insurance. It just kept me wanting to learn more because it felt like the world of insurance was expanding and with every new course I took, I was able to bring my clients on these journeys of knowledge with me.

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

Ansha: Having my CIP actually started helping me from the day I could officially use my designation. For one thing, it attracted the attention of the recruiter that reached out to me for my new job that I do now. It also caught the attention of a global insurance podcast coordinator which led to me being a guest on the show speaking about goal setting for insurance education and careers. But I think the most important function it plays is enabling me to have informed discussions with colleagues and clients against the backdrop of the material I learned and the fruitful discussions that were had in all 10 of my classes. In my view, there are few greater educational foundations that exist for anyone working in our industry, whether they are a few months into starting their insurance career or several decades in.

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

Ansha: If you are wondering if you should pursue your CIP, this is your sign to go for it! Whether you are just starting out in the industry, or whether you've been around for decades, there is no better time to get started than now.

If you feel like you know all there is to know, I can assure you there's always more to learn. Even seeing a particular topic through another's eyes in discussions brings that freshness that will keep your desire to learn, grow and develop alive in our ever-evolving industry.

And if you are newer to the industry like I was, it will give you that confidence boost that you have been searching for which will help you to put your best foot forward in your interactions with insureds, underwriters, adjusters or whoever.

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

Ansha: The biggest shoutout will always go to my parents for their love, support, and kick in the butt to keep studying and their example of the benefits you can reap from building a strong work ethic and the discipline required to push through those heavier courses kept me pushing right until I crossed the finish line. I would also say the instructors really brought the material alive for me. As it relates to feeling prepared, I haven't done a course where I left my exam thinking that my instructor failed me in any way.

Back to CIP


 

Suelynn Powell - CAIB, CIP
Commercial Lines Supervisor at McFarlane Agencies

Suelynn Powell 

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

Suelynn: To be honest, I was extremely intimidated to do the CIP program. I had completed 3 courses while attaining my CAIB and the thought of completing seven courses with young kids at home, and a full-time job, seemed like a daunting task. However, I was moving into a new role at the company where I was employed and I knew that this knowledge could help with my career progression. My supervisor at the time really encouraged me to do the CIP program. Now that I have graduated, I feel so incredibly proud and excited to have these three letters after my name. It’s such an amazing accomplishment.

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

Suelynn: The pandemic actually made me decide to fast track my designation. During the pandemic, the outside world had shutdown. Suddenly, my once busy calendar was empty. The world was a scary place for a while but I decided to focus my attention on my CIP courses and was determined to come out of this pandemic as a CIP graduate.

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

Suelynn:I started out with a plan to do one, maybe two, courses a year in the fall of 2017. Young kids and a full time career didn’t allow me to take on much more. Then the pandemic happened so I ramped up my plan to three courses a year while the world was shutdown.

What inspired me to continue was my kids. They were now at an age where their school was requiring them to study independently, especially with COVID and online school. The world was scary and it would have been easy for us to just sit and wait for life to return to “normal”. I wanted to lead by example. I wanted to show my children that hard work and determination pays off. I wanted to show them that they can find the good in every situation that life throws at you. Yes, the world shut down and it was a scary time, but mom decided to focus and come out of lockdown with an achieved goal.

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

Suelynn: Earning my CIP provided me with valuable knowledge and confidence to help me be a better broker to my clients and also help me be a better teammate to my fellow co-workers. It also opens so many more career paths, if I ever choose to take them.

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

Suelynn: One hundred percent do it. Whether it’s one course a year or three courses a year, you will never regret it. Just focus on one course at a time and before you know it, you will be done.

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

Suelynn: First and foremost, I’d like to thank my husband. I certainly couldn’t have tackled my goal without his help and support especially with young kids.

My employer, McFarlane Agencies not only supported my education from a financial point of view but provided me with constant encouragement.

I also need to thank my supervisor back in 2017, Joan Giguere. She encouraged and believed in me when I definitely didn’t feel ready to take on the task.

In addition, my kids, family and friends were my cheerleaders along the way and helped me celebrate each and every passing course. I am extremely blessed!

Back to CIP


 

Cassie Roy - BBA, CIP
Unit Claims Manager, Auto at Intact

Cassie Roy CIP graduate

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

Cassie: I initially took my CIP as it was part of my licensing requirements for my position, but I was also interested in continuing my education. My degree is in accounting, and I knew if I stayed in the insurance business; there was much more to learn. I knew CIP was the next step. It feels completely surreal to graduate in as short of a time that I did, but I am so happy I was able to accomplish and complete the CIP within three years. Another word for how I am feeling is proud.

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

Cassie: Continuing my CIP during the pandemic was definitely a challenge. The initial onset was frightening – I was worried about the potential computer issues, power outages, etc. I was quickly reassured that the Institute had the support we needed and there were many positives that came along with writing an exam from home. The virtual proctoring was daunting; but after the first exam, I felt at ease for the remaining exams I wrote virtually. I believe I adapted easily because I was open to change and knew I wasn’t the only one facing this as all of my colleagues were in the same position and all universities and colleges were also introducing a virtual exam model.

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

Cassie: I started my CIP journey in the winter semester of 2018. I had just finished my university degree that past spring and was still in ‘study’ mode. I enrolled in one course per semester, and even doubled up for one semester. In the summer of 2019, I took my first break as I set out on a 3-week backpacking trip across Europe. It was tough to focus and come back to my studies, but ultimately I had my eye on the prize. I didn’t take any more breaks which lead me to completing my CIP in April 2020. I completed all of my courses either virtually or through Weekend Warriors and I loved having the option to choose which suited my lifestyle best. The quizzes and midterms helped me prepare for the final exams which is ultimately why I did not pursue Self Study. What inspired me to continue were my colleagues and leaders. I was watching those around me earn their CIP and knew that I wanted to hold that title, as well.

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

Cassie: The CIP has already helped me in my current role. I often find myself applying knowledge that I learned through one of the 10 courses. I kept all of my textbooks and they have proven to be very handy. I believe the CIP will help me continue to grow in my career and present me with opportunities for positions that may have a CIP requirement. Now that my CIP has been completed, I am enrolled in the FCIP program and looking forward to holding this designation.

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

Cassie: Don’t wait; enroll now. I have come across people in the industry that kick themselves for waiting to start their CIP, or they may have started early in their careers then lost the motivation to continue. My advice is to enroll as soon as you are able. It may seem daunting, but you can do it! There are so many great resources provided by the Institute including flexible study options, and I promise you will not regret enrolling.

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

Cassie: My partner, my family, and of course, all my managers along the way. Without their continued support and encouragement, there’s no way I would have been able to accomplish completing my CIP.

Back to CIP


 

Barbara Billinger
Senior Advisor at Desjardins - CIP

Barbara Billinger CIP graduate

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

Barbara: I made the decision to take the CIP about 18 months after I joined Desjardins Insurance. As someone with a marketing background but little knowledge of how the insurance industry worked, I wanted to be able to fully make decisions on what best benefitted our members and clients by better understanding the depth and breadth of our industry.

Graduating and obtaining my CIP is one of my most personally fulfilling achievements. As I think anyone who undertakes a CIP knows, it can be enormously challenging, especially when you add full-time work and family into the mix. However, graduating feels incredibly gratifying, especially because of the support of my family and my employer and their investment into my success.

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

Barbara: It certainly was a challenge, and one of the things that helped me to succeed was to schedule a place and some quiet time to focus and study. Having a timeline also helped. Every course I completed, I got closer to my goal. The closer the goal line was, the more motivated I became. It was a mental marathon, and like with a real-life marathon there were more than a few times when I “hit the wall.” But, if you want to complete any challenge, you find the reserves and the will within yourself to persevere.

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

Barbara: As I approached my 40’s, I was at the crossroads of my life. I had been with my previous employer for 16 years. When I was let go from my position there, I called my husband on the final drive home and asked what I should do now? His answer? “Anything you want.”

When I started my new career with Desjardins Insurance, I had a knowledgeable base in marketing but was starting at entry level with regards to how much I knew about the insurance industry. With the support and encouragement of Desjardins Insurance, I decided to try the introductory CIP course. After completing that, I decided to go all-in. I was motivated not only by the investment that Desjardins Insurance made in my success, but I also wanted my children to see first-hand that learning and bettering yourself is a life-long commitment.

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

Barbara: Completing my CIP has opened new doors for me. It has given me the confidence to take on a development role within my organization. The knowledge I’ve gained is instrumental in implementing decisions and direction that are in the best interests of our members and clients.

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

Barbara: Don't be intimidated by the length of time it takes to complete, everybody’s path to the finish line is uniquely their own. I often think of this quote by Earl Nightingale: “Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

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

Barbara: My journey wouldn’t have been possible without two crucial supports: the first from my family and the second from Desjardins Insurance. I am grateful and humbled by their belief and investment in my success.

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Amanda Pollett
Insurance Adjuster, Intact

Amanda Pollett

IIC: What are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before you took CIP courses?

Amanda: I feel completing my CIP has not only provided me with a solid knowledge base in the property and casualty insurance sector but also provided me with a new level of confidence.

IIC: Do you have any advice for others in the last stretch of their CIP?

Amanda: Just do it! As most of us are working full time and trying to squeeze in a course here and there we all know how challenging it can be to sign up for that next course. But I can assure you the feeling you get once you have achieved your designation is worth it.

IIC: You finished your CIP during a pandemic! What motivated you to keep going in these challenging times?

Amanda: While this pandemic has presented its challenges, we have been very fortunate to work in an industry that adapted at a very fast pace. Being house bound I felt was a great time to focus on school.

IIC: What would you tell someone who wasn’t sure they would attend convocation?

Amanda: Earning you CIP is something you are only going to do once. It takes a lot of work and dedication and deserves to be celebrated. You only get one CIP convocation, so go, and celebrate you! This is your night, you earned it!

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Agnes Mason
Integration Specialist, Johnson Insurance

Agnes Mason

IIC: What are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before you took CIP courses?

Agnes: I think I have a better grasp of the full picture of the insurance industry and knowledge of other areas, like the law. My favourite course was the liability course. There was a lot to remember, but the material and real world examples brought it to life.

IIC: You finished your CIP during a pandemic! What motivated you to keep going in these challenging times?

Agnes: I was completing my last course during the pandemic, so knowing how close I was to finishing kept me going. In such challenging times education ensures you are as competitive as possible. Obtaining additional knowledge in your field makes you a more desirable employee.

IIC: What did you think about the Institute’s response to COVID?

Agnes: The response from the Institute was excellent and the transition was easy. With many courses and tools already online, it made the transition quick and efficient.

IIC: What has learning during a pandemic been like for you?

Agnes: I found learning during the pandemic to be up and down. The insurance institute made it easier, but I found it hard to concentrate sometimes.

IIC: Do you have any advice for others in the last stretch of their CIP?

Agnes: Persevere! You are almost done, so don’t give up. Try to break up your studying, so you don’t leave it all to the day before the exam.

IIC: What would you tell someone who wasn’t sure they would attend convocation?

Agnes: It is always great to celebrate your achievements, especially during the pandemic, when it is important to recognize your own progress.

IIC: How would you encourage your colleagues (who are not graduating) to attend?

Agnes: I attended a couple convocations prior to graduating, and it is a great opportunity to meet new people in your industry.

IIC: Why do you think it’s important to attend the virtual convocation event?

Agnes: Regardless of whether or not we can celebrate in person, the most important thing is to celebrate together.

IIC: What’s next for you?

Agnes: I am not sure what’s next. I love to learn and the Insurance Institute is constantly expanding their programs and courses, so the options are endless!

Back to CIP


 

Valentina Nemet
CASE Underwriter, HB Group Insurance Management Ltd

Valentina Nemet

IIC: What are your career aspirations?

Valentina: I have a passion for the industry and using my existing skill set to come up with creative solutions. I hope to further expand my knowledge, while fostering good relationships and making a positive impact.

IIC: Are you planning on furthering your education beyond the CIP designation?

Valentina: Absolutely! Education is empowering. It builds confidence and helps make you a well-rounded person. Professional development is also a great way to understand the industry, expand your network, and apply relevant skills to any role.

IIC: What are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before you took CIP courses?

Valentina: Completing the CIP gave me strong technical knowledge that I am able to apply in my daily role as a CASE Underwriter. I learned a great deal about the industry overall, including the different lines of insurance, their various processes, and how it all works together to support the industry.

IIC: Why do you think it’s important to attend the virtual convocation event?

Valentina: I believe taking time to acknowledge accomplishments is important. A virtual convocation will be a new experience. Though we aren’t able to meet in person this time, it will be a good way to stay connected, which is especially important during these difficult times.

IIC: What’s next for you?

Valentina: I have recently started the first course in the Commercial Insurance Certificate Program. I’m looking forward to learning something new.

If you are on the last stretch of your CIP- congratulations, you are almost there, don’t give up! Results are a reflection of effort. The knowledge you gain is worth it!

Back to CIP


 

Niranjala Fernando
Property & Casualty Insurance Advisor, Desjardins

Niranjala Fernando

IIC: What are your career aspirations?

Niranjala: I want to be an underwriter one day as well as a CIP instructor.

IIC: Are you planning on furthering your education beyond the CIP designation?

Niranjala: Absolutely! I have already started my Advanced CIP because I am passionate about insurance. As a p&c insurance professional, I need to excel and succeed in the field so I started the ACIP program which will give me leverage and help build on the knowledge I have gained from the CIP program. It will also provide me with the in-demand skills required for career advancement.

IIC: What are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before you took CIP courses?

Niranjala: The knowledge and skills that I have gained from doing the CIP program have allowed me to provide more sound and professional advice to my clients. CIP courses have taught me how the insurance industry works and as a result I’m able to confidently educate my clients on all the details of their coverages and help them make proper decisions for themselves.

IIC: What have you learned?

Niranjala: These courses have helped me understand the products we sell and have given me a better understanding on how Direct Writers, brokerages and the industry operates as a whole.

IIC: Do you have any advice for others on the last stretch of their CIP?

Niranjala: Complete your CIP and don’t give up half-way through the program. Especially if you’re looking to succeed in this career path or move into a new role. Just go for it.

As Brian Herbert quotes “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice” so don’t stop learning. Finish what you started even if it means having to make a few sacrifices.

IIC: You finished your CIP during a pandemic! What motivated you to keep going with the CIP in these difficult times?

Niranjala: When I started my CIP in January 2018, I promised myself no matter what obstacles came my way I would complete my CIP by 2020 and that I would start working towards my Advanced CIP in 2021. When the pandemic happened in March of 2020, I was doing my last course. It was indeed challenging since I have three children that had online school and I had started to work from home at that point, but I kept telling myself that I would not postpone or give up since I was almost on the verge of completing it.

IIC: How did your company support you during your studies?

Niranjala: I could not have done my CIP or started my ACIP if my company, Desjardins, had not reimbursed me 100% of my tuition fees.

There is no other way to thank the company. I joined Desjardins in March 2017 and they have always encouraged all employees to do it. I started the course in Jan 2018 and have passed with 7 Honours and 2 B’s.

Doing my CIP has been a dream ever since I entered the insurance industry in 2012, but my previous company could not sponsor my studies. I am grateful for Desjardins for doing that. My success is my way of thanking them too.

IIC: What did you think about the Institute’s response to COVID?

Niranjala: I thought they were amazing and accommodating. They provided me with all the answers I needed so I could write the exam successfully from home without any issues.

IIC: What has learning during a pandemic been like for you?

Niranjala: Undoubtedly stressful and challenging, but I’m glad it was my last course and that I was so close to the finish line.

IIC: Why do you think it’s important to attend the virtual convocation event?

Niranjala: It’s important to attend it because they do a great job in recognizing students for all the hard work they have put in all these years and it’s a great way to celebrate everyone’s success. It provides an opportunity to see other graduates as well and celebrate this milestone as a family.

IIC: What’s next for you?

Niranjala: Completing my Advanced CIP by 2022 and then of course starting my FCIP.

Back to CIP


 

Tara Sutton
Business Development Officer, Germania Mutual Insurance

Tara Sutton

IIC: What is your career path?

Tara: I was an insurance broker working in personal lines sales and service for the first many years of my insurance career and now I am working on the Insurance Company side of the table.

IIC: Are you planning on furthering your education beyond the CIP designation?

Tara: I am finishing off my ACIP which is a great program that I feel takes my professionalism to a higher level.

IIC: You finished your CIP during a pandemic! What motivated you to keep going with the CIP in these difficult times?

Tara: Although I preferred to learn in a classroom setting, I was thrilled that the instructors did everything they could to make transitioning to the online/virtual courses seamless and interactive.

IIC: What did you think about the Institute’s response to COVID?

Tara: The flexibility of virtual courses and the exams were great and made it easy for me to finish this program.

IIC: What has learning during a pandemic been like for you?

Tara: Learning during the pandemic at times was a bit stressful only because it was all new. But the Insurance Institute made it better with the exam preparation webinars and they were always available to answer any questions we had.

IIC: Do you have any advice for others on the last stretch of their CIP?

Tara: Keep going -- you can see the light at the end of this tunnel! Dr. Seuss said it best, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” The Insurance Institute provides great resources to aid in getting to those new places in your profession.

IIC: Why do you think it’s important to attend the virtual convocation event?

Tara: It's important to take a moment and celebrate our hard work. Whether it took you a few years or even longer like me, it's a time to recognize all we have accomplished. An industry colleague made a great comment, saying that "hard work should be framed" and that's why I smile each time I look at my certificate!

IIC: What’s next for you?

Tara: I am taking a well-earned break. I have completed my CIP and most recently my ACIP (December 2020) so I am just going to sit back and enjoy that for a bit.

Back to CIP


 

Kia Soltani
Business Development Manager & Portal Liaison, Cansure - CIP

Kiarash Soltani

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Kia: After talking to my mentors and doing a bit of research in our industry, I realized that I should earn the CIP designation to enhance my knowledge of the insurance industry and open new opportunities for myself. This respected designation would definitely be useful throughout my future career in our industry.

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

Kia: That is a hard question as I had a few favorite courses. However, to choose only one, I would go with C70: Intro to Commercial Underwriting. I knew the instructor before, and the course itself was very interesting with great examples. Coming from a Personal Lines background, it really increased my knowledge of commercial underwriting and everyday challenges faced by commercial underwriters in our industry.

IIC: Did your career goals change at all as a result of taking the course?

Kia: Well, as a business development representative, my career is closely tied to Commercial Lines anyway. Therefore, this course helped me better understand the underlying foundation of underwriting for commercial products.

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

Kia: I took almost all of my courses online and it was a great experience. I did interact with a couple of my classmates through chat sessions in different courses. Also, it was great to virtually reconnect and interact with a lot of people I knew in my classes.

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

Kia: It definitely helped me to analyze and understand our industry better. Both at the macro and micro level, this designation helped me to better comprehend our client needs and inquiries; thus, leading to better assisting them with more creative and practical solutions. Having the CIP designation abbreviation beside my name has earned a lot of respect for me among my colleagues and peers, and has helped to improve my self-esteem.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP? If so, elaborate.

Kia: Opportunities do not come right away. However, when the right time comes, and there is an opportunity such as a promotion, then I am sure that having my CIP designation would give me an edge over the other candidates.

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

Kia: When it comes to continuing education, a lot of companies do offer a lot of support for the accredited programs such as CIP. I would advise everyone to seize the opportunity and take even one course at a time. We are all busy with our professional and personal lives; however, with courage and proper time management, you can easily overcome the obstacles and continue your education alongside your career.

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

Kia: I love working from the comfort of an office, dealing with people on an everyday basis and doing analytical work.

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

Kia: During these hard times, it is very important to be patient, sympathetic, and professional to our clients. In the CIP program, we learned a lot about professionalism and our duties to clients as insurers. These soft skills were really helpful during the pandemic when it comes to dealing with clients for a variety of different reasons.

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

Kia: I am a very energetic and outgoing person, so you might be able to guess how painful these last few months have been for me. On a typical non-Covid day off, I would be either biking or hiking for most of the day. I am also a big fan of reading novels, so a good chunk of my day-off would be dedicated to reading too. In the evening, I usually prefer to socialize with my friends, you can find us usually hanging our at a bar in Yaletown watching NHL or NBA games or playing pool.

Back to CIP


 

Javier Bravo
Associate Underwriter, Zurich Canada - CIP

Javier Bravo

IIC: Why did you decide to take the CIP?

Javier: As an International Insurance Professional who started their career abroad, I realized that to have a better chance of success in the Canadian Insurance Industry, I needed more than the insurance knowledge and experience I’d gained overseas. I realized I could accomplish my professional objectives by pursuing the Chartered Insurance Professional designation, which seems to be the industry standard qualification. I believed then and still do now that there is no better place than the IIC to take your personal and professional development to the next level. I also wanted to show the insurance sector that I am serious and committed to continuous learning and professional development.

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

Javier: Yes, C13: Insurance Against Liability – Part 1 was my favourite. This course resonated with me because it teaches critical liability fundamentals and the insurance approach to analyze a third-party risk, and the usual steps taken toward minimizing and rating those risks effectively.

IIC: Did your career goals change at all as a result of taking the course?

Javier: I have always wanted to have a professional career in insurance. The CIP didn’t change that, it provided me with tools that helped me understand the industry and its reach. It also facilitated my networking process within the industry. Had I not taken the CIP, I believe my insurance connections would be different from what they are now.

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

Javier: Yes indeed. I started my CIP designation pursuance while also completing a Diploma in Insurance and Risk management at BCIT, Vancouver. As part of the BCIT program, we needed to take some IIC courses that allowed us to study in a classroom environment. As a result, I count myself fortunate because discussing insurance coverages, terms, and legal verbiage with other students eased up all the challenges a CIP course can bring. Of course, for that, I am grateful to them and my instructors.

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

Javier: I believe the CIP empowered me with knowledge and boosted my self-confidence. Because I feel confident in my job, I can ask questions or add my opinion to a discussion in a meeting room filled with managers or people with higher ranks than me without being intimidated.

IIC: Have opportunities opened up for you since earning your CIP? If so, elaborate.

Javier: CIP designation added value to my personal brand instantly, as it is a well-known and reputable certification within our industry. In addition, it provided me with opportunities to expand my network and a window to showcase my commitment to the insurance industry.

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

Javier: CIP designation is 100% worth it. Of course, It takes time, money, and effort but let’s remember that today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.

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

Javier: I love working from the comfort of an office, dealing with people on an everyday basis and doing analytical work.

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

Javier: Be a good listener and an empathetic person. Most of the IIC courses will refer to the importance of being cooperative, pleasant, and friendly with others. Now more than ever, I feel we need to adopt such attitudes and be understanding, listen carefully and respect other’s people opinions, worries and feelings.

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

Javier: After a long day of work, I enjoy walking with my lovely wife and our fur baby to slow down the brain-machine. I also enjoy watching sports, particularly Barcelona FC on the weekends, if I can do it while having a cold beer, then even better.

Back to CIP


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.

Back to CIP


 

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.

Back to CIP


 

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.

Back to CIP


 

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.

Back to CIP


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.

Back to CIP


 

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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