July 3, 2015
FSCO has joined with Canada’s other insurance regulators through the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO) to update and harmonize proficiency requirements for individuals who want to become life insurance agents. CISRO is an association of Canada’s regulating authorities that license and regulate insurance agents. Its goal is the development of consistent standards of qualifications and practice for insurance agents.
To keep agents and other stakeholders informed about this initiative, Ron Fullan, CISRO Chair, shares this update.
Update on the harmonized Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP)
I am pleased to inform you that the harmonized LLQP is on track for implementation on January 1, 2016.
This is due, in no small measure, to the work of 160 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who have worked with CISRO educational experts, at various stages in the project. Together, they are ensuring the harmonized LLQP is up-to-date, enhances consumer protection and covers the material they believe new life insurance agents need to know to be financially literate to advise consumers.
The SMEs were selected to represent the diversity of professional insurance industry experience. They are active insurance agents and trainers from different provinces. Some work for large firms, some for small firms, while others are leaders in insurance industry associations. They have life insurance expertise and are knowledgeable about an insurance agent’s responsibilities.
In addition, other members of the insurance industry have participated in workshops and provided feedback on important documents.
On behalf of CISRO, I would like to thank these individuals for their important contributions.
Below is a summary of the work that has been completed on the harmonized LLQP:
- Occupational Analysis: Between April and November 2012, an occupational analysis was conducted. It reviewed the skills that are required to become an insurance agent. Eighty working insurance agents representing five provinces were involved in the five workshops.
- Competency Profile: Based on the occupational analysis, a competency profile was developed in winter 2013. This profile was reviewed by over 750 people from nine provinces in spring 2013. Of these respondents, 90 per cent said the profile was complete.
- Curriculum: Between June and October 2013, educational experts and SMEs from nine provinces worked together to develop the curriculum. In November 2013, this curriculum was reviewed by more than 650 people from nine provinces. Of these respondents, 86 per cent supported the scope of the course competencies and the content of the modules.
- Modules: In winter 2014, the focus of the four modules was determined. The modules are: Life Insurance, Accident and Sickness Insurance, Segregated Funds and Annuities, and Ethics and Professional Practice.
- Course Provider Accreditation Standards: National accreditation standards for course providers have been completed. Applications may be submitted through the LLQP National Accreditation Form, which is available on the CISRO website under the LLQP section.
- Examination Preparation Materials: The examination preparation materials have been completed. These materials were made available to course providers in April 2015 so they could finalize their courses. Each module was created by a committee of educational experts and SMEs from seven provinces.
- Transition Plan: A transition plan has been distributed to stakeholders.
The following work will be completed in 2015:
- Examination: Educational experts and SMEs are creating an updated database of examination questions and the modular examination.
- Reviewing the LLQP: Procedures will be developed for regularly reviewing the curriculum, developing new examination questions and reviewing issues raised by stakeholders.
- Examination Administration Guidelines: Development of the guidelines for administering examinations, which began in 2014, will be completed.
- Canadian Insurance Participant Registry (CIPR): This database will enable course providers to communicate that candidates have successfully completed the LLQP course.
Continuity in Licensing
For more than 10 years, the LLQP has enabled thousands of people to have jobs as life insurance agents. The harmonized LLQP will continue enabling qualified individuals to work as life insurance agents. By ensuring entry level competency across all key areas of life agent practice, the harmonized LLQP will help ensure agents have the financial literacy about insurance to properly advise consumers. The harmonized LLQP will also make it easier for life insurance agents to work in other Canadian provinces.
The Course and Examination Remain Entry Level
The harmonized LLQP will remain an entry level program. The course and examination will have similar proficiency standards and are comparable in both their length and level of difficulty to the current LLQP. The fee for the course will remain affordable. Competent individuals will be able to become licensed as life insurance agents.
How is the harmonized LLQP being managed?
Key decisions on maintaining and safeguarding the integrity of the harmonized LLQP will be made by all participating regulators acting as the program’s Board of Directors. Each provincial regulator will have an equal vote in regards to decisions regarding the LLQP. Regulators will monitor the performance of the harmonized LLQP with assistance from educational experts. The LLQP Governance Committee will be responsible for dealing with issues raised by stakeholders.
Industry Consultation and Feedback
The harmonized LLQP has been modified due to stakeholder feedback. I encourage you to continue to provide input on this important project. CISRO will continue to hold quarterly meetings with stakeholders and organize individual meetings upon request. Regular updates will be published on the CISRO website.
The CISRO website (www.cisro-ocra.com ) is regularly updated in order to provide access to key program analyses, documents and forms, such as survey results and the curriculum. I encourage you to visit the website and stay informed about the latest develop¬ments.
Chair, Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO)