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Toronto, Ontario



Changing the game: Partnering to solve an industry challenge

John McNeil, the program coordinator of the Humber College Insurance Management Program, identified the talent gap in the insurance industry early on. He said, “I would speak to brokers, and they'd say, ‘we'd love to hire your students, but how are we going to train them?’ and it got me to understand that we have these students for one year, what can we do within that year to really develop a student in such a way, where they actually come out turnkey?" By including Applied Systems training in their course curriculum, he concluded the Applied partnership with Humber was a game-changer. “Not only are we providing students with technical knowledge and licensing through the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) — our students literally come out of our program turnkey."

Changing the narrative: Insurance is an “uncool” career

There is a misconception that the insurance industry is uncool and not tech-savvy. And when it comes to choosing a career in the industry, young professionals envision being stuck in a boring, repetitive job with archaic processes and little opportunity for growth. Brett Boadway, chief operating officer at IBAO, said, “A lot of people have a deep misconception of what it means to be an insurance broker. Things like it's a fully commission-based job, and the truth is, most of them are a commission plus base salary. Considering that, I think the broker channel has done a good job of changing the narrative of what it means to be an insurance broker and the appeal of being an insurance broker. Getting that out into their communication channels, I think we've seen some positive results for the brokers who have adopted those strategies.”

According to Steve Whitelaw, senior vice president and GM of Applied Systems Canada, “Applied's role in defeating perceptions of a backward or slow industry is to partner with organizations like Humber and the provincial associations to demonstrate the value of our technologies. Additionally, we want to create an experience with our technologies that exceeds expectations and aligns with people's experiences outside of the insurance industry.”

We have the technology side, we have the broker technical side, and then we have the education side. When you put these three resources together, I think that between the three of us (IBAO, Applied Systems, Humber), we will help develop top-tier talent who will become valuable contributors to the brokerages in which they get hired.

Brett Boadway

Chief Operating Officer, Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario

Streamlining the Onboarding Experience

Ashley LeBlanc, training, and development specialist at BrokerLink, serves on the Broker Advisory Committee. She provides curriculum feedback and insights into how a real-world brokerage uses Applied technology. “We are excited to welcome folks to BrokerLink with Applied technology experience. It makes the onboarding process that much easier when you do have a leg up on others, so to speak, so when you have that Applied knowledge, it helps. Technology is vital in the brokerage role. We have customers that seek us by coming in for a chat with a coffee, they come to us via telephone, and they also seek us online. We’ve been able to adapt with technology and service our customers no matter which way they seek us, internally, as well as externally. We rely upon technology for our communications, and we've also been able to set up specific processes so we can do our jobs, and our day-to-day tasks efficiently, as well as avoid E&O situations too.”

Who’s winning the war for talent?

There is collateral damage in the war for talent. The ‘Great Resignation,’ an aging labour force, and no succession strategy have made the search for P&C talent much more difficult. On the flip side, the collateral benefits for the Humber College Insurance Management Program graduates couldn’t be more gratifying.

Nicolas Gonzalez, an international student in the program, said, “I decided to study this (insurance management) because I had some previous experience back in my country. I wanted to grow my career in the industry because I really like the insurance industry. That's why I decided to come to Canada to pursue this program specifically because I think all the tools and knowledge that we're gaining in the program will help me a lot in my future and my career.”

Blain Tattersall is also a student in the program and is in the process of undergoing a career change. He said he has already found part-time work in the industry that fits his schedule. “I look forward to having a career that has some work-life balance, becoming my best self, and continuing my education while helping clients and having a great time while I do it.”

Additional info

  • A postgraduate program preparing students for careers in P&C, students learn the fundamentals of the industry and its three main functional areas – underwriting, loss adjusting and brokerage management
  • Technology empowers transferable skills in business communications, applications, insurance accounting and metrics, marketing, sales and customer service, project management, and leadership The insurance industry is in a talent crisis with a large portion of the current workforce deemed to retire in the next 5-10 years. Many of our domestic and international students receive multiple job offers while still in the program.

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