IBAO launches online ethics course

THE INSURANCE Brokers Association of Ontario has launched an online training course in response to the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario’s new ethics continuing education requirement, which came into effect last month.

Kevin O’Hare, IBAO education supervisor and instructional designer, said the ‘Ethical Steps: Facing Ethical Situations in Insurance’ course was designed to provide brokers with a framework to address ethical situations on a consistent basis.

“With this training, brokers will be able to successfully recognize and manage situations that could result in conflicts or potential conflicts given their professional and legal obligations to consumers,” Mr. O’Hare said.

IBAO said this is the first course designed specifically for brokers to acquire continuing education hours in the ethics category, which is a minimum of one hour per year as part of their total continuing education hours.

IBAO CEO Colin Simpson said brokers can face ethical dilemmas daily.

“Learning how to navigate them is imperative,” Mr. Simpson said. “With this new training our members will learn best practices and be guided to make the right decision in challenging situations.”

The course is administered through My IBAO Learning Path, the association’s new online learning management system.

“It’s important to be nimble and act quickly to changes across the industry,” Mr. Simpson said. “One of the main objectives of our new e-learning platform is to be able to respond quickly to changing educational requirements and have the ability to create timely, relevant education for our members.”

The ethics course is free to IBAO members and available on demand.

IBAO said it is the latest addition to its library of online offerings which include courses on cannabis legislation, Ontario auto, and travel and health insurance.

It is also moving its Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker exam online.

IBAO said creating the courses and moving the CAIB exams online are part of its efforts to evolve the broker education experience.

The Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario, the broker channel’s self-regulatory body, did not introduce the new ethics training requirement in response to any one incident, RIBO CEO Patrick Ballantyne said.

“There was nothing that triggered it, just our perception, like within other professions, that spending some time on ethical issues with continuing education was a good idea,” he told Thompson’s.

“We heard a lot of people thinking it would be an appropriate update to the requirements . . . a lot of times it is not a bad idea to get professionals to think in terms of ethical issues and concerns (and) bring to the fore some potential ethical concerns and make sure they are aware of them in their day-to-day practice.”

He said the ethics training is the only new component to RIBO’s amended continuing education requirements, which took effect Oct. 1.

He said that, while the number of hours a broker has to devote to continuing education hasn’t changed, the composition of those hours has.

The total of eight continuing education hours now has to include three hours of technical training, personal skills training is limited to two hours and one hour has to be dedicated to the new ethics category.

“All of these things will enhance the protection of consumers which is why RIBO exists in the first place,” Mr. Ballantyne said.

He said RIBO thought the continuing education requirements needed a bit of tweaking in response to how the industry and insurance products are evolving.

“For example the minimum three-hour technical (is because) the insurance product is becoming more and more complicated,” Mr. Ballantyne said.

“Whether it’s auto, home insurance, overland water, cyber related insurance, the products are becoming more and more complicated, so the more time the brokers can spend on enhancing technical skills that will benefit the consumer — we just felt that it was due.”

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