Insurance brokers can take on different roles in the course of their work. They’re advisors, risk experts and in the event of a loss, counsellors. They’re also lifetime learners. As risks change, they must keep up with trends and emerging products—not an easy task in an age of fast-emerging exposures, says John McNeil, learning and development manager, national sales and distribution, at RSA Canada.
It’s a continuous challenge, he says. With severe weather, constantly changing security regulations and new technology like drones as a risk backdrop, brokers must “have a sightline on what’s going on in terms of trends and on innovative insurance products.”
Professional development often provides that sightline, and RSA’s broker education program is poised to help provide brokers with almost-instant expertise and enhanced confidence in the advice they offer customers.
Maximized, Mobile Education
In many ways, broker schedules can be just as complex as up-and-coming risks. A workshop on commercial building codes could take as much as a full day away from an already-busy calendar. “They’re never off the clock,” points out McNeil. “It’s a big ask for them to cut that out of their day.”
That can make it difficult for brokers to work professional development into their limited spare time. It also poses a question for industry educators: How can we make it more convenient for brokers to participate from the comfort of their own workspace? How do we make it easy for someone to participate in professional development while they’re on the GO Train or at the airport?
Such flexibility is a top priority for RSA Canada’s new series of broker education workshops. With RSA’s education program, brokers will have options—what do they want to learn? How do they want to learn it? Most importantly, they can work the sessions into their own calendar, McNeil stresses. “On-demand training allows someone to take advantage of downtime and gives them more power to fit training into their day instead of us saying, ‘This is our schedule, you have to fit it into yours.’”
The workshops take a “micro-learning” approach that keeps sessions pared down to the essentials, taking no longer than 15 minutes. For example, before launching its Waterproof Coverage in November 2015, RSA conducted a series of training seminars to provide an overview of the product’s enhanced coverage. “Brokers want to get to the core of new products and offerings for their customers,” McNeil explains. “They want to look at the features and the benefits. Offering the key information through short sessions not only makes it convenient for brokers to participate, but it also ensures retention in the context of their alwayson working environment.”
Expertise: Whenever, Wherever
The medium offers further flexibility: brokers can use their computers or smart phones to access workshops, and can customize sessions in other ways. They can choose from apps, podcasts and videos, and stop or restart sessions to review the information as needed, something they couldn’t do in a “live” situation, McNeil adds.
Those who prefer paper-based learning still have that option, McNeil says, noting that the material will be organized to be read comfortably and easy to upload. It also supports them on the job as a quick reference tool. And, as students complete modules, they can track their progress through RSA’s dedicated learning management system.
RSA Canada works with a customer service representative ambassador council and other broker councils to determine content, and all courses meet continuing education certification requirements. That makes RSA’s latest sessions —likely focused on severe weather, emerging technology and new legislation, due later this year— timed well for broker license renewals.
Whichever mobile lesson brokers choose to pursue, “We want our brokers and end customers to feel confident with the new knowledge they gain through these sessions,” McNeil says. “The broker speciality is knowing what goes into an insurance policy and how it’s going to help out.”
This article is featured in Canadian Insurance Top Broker.