FAQ's about Broking
Insurance brokers are professional advisers who work on behalf of their clients - not insurance companies. The job involves analysing ‘risks’ to help people decide what needs insuring and what can be managed in other ways, a main aspect of the broker’s role is to assist clients to manage their risks by arranging and putting in place insurance policies. The profession is diverse and allows the scope to work for small specialised brokers through to large international firms. It is this variety that makes the profession so interesting.
Insurance broking is a growth industry - every day, more and more people are consulting brokers for personal service and specialised advice. People use insurance brokers because it can save them time and money. In the same way that individuals and companies utilise the services of solicitors and accountants in relation to specialist areas, insurance brokers provide their clients with expert advice in relation to the risks associated with the property they own and the business they operate.
Also, insurance brokers act on behalf of their clients; they provide professional, technical advice, which can be particularly handy in the event of claim. Brokers are not insurance agents or salespeople, a brokerage business is a licensed financial services provider with the industry regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Individuals need to have certain levels of professional training and expertise to work as brokers.
Why haven’t I heard of insurance brokers before?
It is quite likely you have never even heard of insurance brokers. This is partly because in the past their dealings have been mainly with businesses, not the broader public. This is changing as more and more individuals are starting to realise the valuable service they provide.
Who would I work for?
There are around 800 insurance broking firms in Australia. The industry is divided up between a handful of multinational brokers, large national companies and a large number of small to medium local businesses usually employing less than 10 people. New jobs are not always advertised. The best approach for an initial job-seeker may be to approach insurance broking firms directly. Some brokerages employ young people under a broker traineeship program in which they complete their Certificate III in Financial Services and gain initial accreditation as a retail client adviser.
See roles advertised on NIBA's Jobs Connect board
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Where would I work?
Broking is not simply a desk job. The work involves helping people from many different walks of life - from individuals needing home insurance to board directors needing to protect large international companies. To be a good insurance broker you need to enjoy working with people, listening, and understanding their concerns in order to ensure their homes, businesses and possessions are protected.
What types of skills will I need?
This work often extends beyond simple insurance and includes business planning, site visits, new product development, marketing, information technology and helping people to manage their risks and make claims. No amount of plain English policies will ever take the confusion out of insurance. There are many different types of clients and policies which require a broker to: understand insurance law; identify risks; understand the insurance marketplace, and the different options available for clients.
What qualifications do I need to become an insurance broker?
All brokers and insurance advisers must attain the required qualifications to comply with legislation. In the first instance, all you need to get a job with an insurance broking firm is a good basic education. This may be a year 12 Certificate, a college or university qualification. Many study areas have relevance to insurance broking including business, marketing, psychology, economics, accounting, law, communication, computing and science. Once you have a job, your employer will ensure that you undertake the formal academic courses in Financial Services which will provide you with vital skills and help you to qualify as an adviser and to attain Qualified Practicing Insurance Broker status.
Go to the NIBA College website to find out about Broking Qualifications
New brokers are extensively trained from the first day they enter the profession. A typical study pathway involves completing Certificate III in the first stage which develops your abilities in providing risk insurance advice. To become a fully qualified insurance broker you have to complete the next level which is the Diploma of Financial Services (Insurance Broking).
In addition, several years of experience with an experienced broker is usually required if you wish to gain recognition as a Qualified Practising Insurance broker. For senior QPIB’s there is a higher level designation, Certified Professional Insurance Brokers, (much like the CPA designation for accountants) that is awarded after the QPIB has completed a specialised professional development program in broking practice. CPIB It is the mark of a professional, quality broker and something to work towards.
Those brokers that go into management or business ownership undertake the Advanced Diploma in Financial Services.There are also a number of specialist courses post-Diploma for those brokers that want to specialise in risk management, compliance or product development. All courses aim to provide practitioners with the skills and knowledge appropriate to the complexity of their advisory activities and clients’ needs. This Graduate Diploma a professional development program is suitable for senior broking and insurance practitioners including a business unit head. Participants in this program will typically hold a management role within the organisation and are likely to be subject to professional licensing obligations.
What is a typical career path?
This will depend on the broking firm. Most people begin as junior account executives, working with a team for a number of clients. They progress to become senior account executives and managers with their own portfolio of clients. Many brokers develop skills in specialised areas, such as marine insurance, the entertainment industry or even oil rigs in Bass Strait. After several years experience, most brokers progress to become Qualified Practicing Insurance Brokers (QPIBs).