Insurance Designation And Certification Programs In Canada


According to a recent insurance industry overview, “one of the industry’s most appealing attributes for potential candidates was the variety of jobs an insurance career path can offer.”

The Insurance Institute of Canada is the backbone of professional development for insurance careers in Canada and offers several educational pathways into this industry. Graduates from insurance business diploma and degree programs across the country boast a 100% placement rate, emphasizing the demand for insurance professionals in Canada.

Whether you’ve completed one of these programs or something completely unrelated to insurance, it’s a good to idea to learn about the professional designations and certifications available to you throughout your career.

Here we’ve compiled overviews of four of the most popular designations and certifications available to budding insurance professionals:

General Insurance Essentials (GIE)

Recognized as a great introduction to the insurance industry and the first step to securing a career, the GIE certificate program is available to anyone looking for an understanding of the basic practices and principles necessary for property and casualty insurance. This two-course program, which can be completed in one term, can be taken through distance learning and is also available at certain local institutes and colleges.

Regardless of the learning method, you will receive the certificate if you obtain a minimum of 60% on the national exam for both courses.

General Insurance Essentials is a great entry-level program that should also be considered if you’re employed in the industry within a junior or support role. Successful graduates of the GIE will be exempt from one required course in the Chartered Insurance Professional program. A full program syllabus can be found here.

Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP)

Becoming a CIP is a must for all serious general insurance career professionals. This comprehensive 10-course program covers all aspects of property and casualty insurance, focusing on technical and applied insurance knowledge. This program is highly recognized throughout Canada and is accepted internationally as a legitimate designation.

Eight universities in Canada offer programs where you can earn credits towards their CIP designation while completing an undergraduate degree or diploma. Here is a complete listing of these institutions.

To become a CIP, you must follow a series of steps:

  1. Join your local Insurance Institute and maintain the annual membership.
  2. Graduate from the one-year, 10-course academic program.
  3. Complete one year of full-time employment in a general, life insurance, or similar financial industry.
  4. Adhere to the Insurance Institute of Canada’s Code of Ethics

Once you’re elected as a CIP, you can choose from a variety of careers, including an Agent/Broker, Marine Insurance Specialist, Claims Investigator, and Underwriter. The Insurance Institute also offers the opportunity to complete an Associate Customer Service designation while attaining your CIP. A full program syllabus can be found here.

Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP)

Upon acquiring the CIP designation, many Canadian insurance professionals will decide to continue onto the next level of their studies. The FCIP is Canada’s newly-developed premier designation for insurance professionals.

This designation builds on the knowledge already established by the CIP designation, and individuals who become an FCIP are more likely to be given work related to complex insurance arrangements and be promoted to senior leadership positions within their companies.

Entrance requirements for the FCIP Program are as follows:

  1. You must hold a CIP designation.
  2. You must have either an undergraduate degree from a Canadian university, or a two-year diploma with five additional specific university courses
  3. A membership with your local Insurance Institute.

Graduation from the FCIP program requires you to pass the six required FCIP courses and have 10 years relevant work experience, five within a supervisory or managerial role. Acquiring this prestigious designation will send a clear message to any company that you are leadership material. A full program syllabus can be found here.

Life License Qualification Program (LLQP)

The LLQP is the first step required to obtain a life insurance license in all provinces excluding Quebec. This program offers information on life insurance, health insurance, group benefits, government programs, investments, taxation and retirement planning.

While completing the program either through distance learning or in a classroom, you will have access to extensive course materials, quizzes, and support services online. The course will take approximately 100 hours of self-study, and completion of the final examination will qualify you to write the provincial licensing exam in your province; the final step to becoming a life insurance agent. More information and how to register for the LLQP can be found here.

Visit TalentEgg’s Insurance Career Guide, presented by Career Connections, a division of the Insurance Institute, to find student and entry level jobs in the insurance industry, plus career resources to help you hatch your career!


Photo credit: 01 (286) by Victor1558 on Flickr
About the author

Jesse Simms is a fourth year marketing student currently completing his Bachelor of Commerce at Memorial University. He was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland and has been involved in competitive sports his whole life, including varsity volleyball and national gymnastics. As a tech-savvy guy, you can often find him browsing Reddit, posting on Twitter (@Jesse_Simms), or "owning noobs" on Xbox Live.