Filling the current talent gap left by retiring baby boomers is a priority for many different industries, including insurance. The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) identified the challenge as a significant issue for its members and made recruitment a major focus for 2020.

“To meet the complex challenge posed by recruitment we’ve launched initiatives on many different fronts,” said IBAO President, Joseph Carnevale.

The association is piloting two new initiatives with Humber College’s Insurance Management Program—a mentorship program and a bursary opportunity.

“Our new mentorship program pairs students with working brokers to offer insight into what being a broker is like on a day–to–day basis,” said IBAO Chief Operating Officer Brett Boadway. “The second initiative is a bursary that covers the cost for students who want to obtain their RIBO license. Given the success of these pilot programs, we plan on implementing similar initiatives at other Ontario colleges offering insurance programs in the fall.”

“I’ve watched the students’ interest turn towards the broker channel because of the IBAO’s initiatives,” said John McNeil, Program Coordinator, Humber College’s Insurance Management Program. “Through their bursary we’ve already had 26 students take the RIBO exam and many more plan to challenge the exam at the end of the semester. And 41 of the students have been paired with broker mentors.”

Last fall IBAO launched You Should Totally Become a Broker, a digital marketing campaign that promotes the benefits of choosing a career as a broker. The association repurposed its consumer-facing platform, and its associated social media accounts to connect with people looking for a promising career path.

“Campaign results were very positive and leads continue coming in despite the conclusion in ad spending,” said IBAO Marketing & Communications Director Norah Black. “We targeted working professionals in jobs that can be stifling or marginalizing and directed them to We connected with them to tell them about the various opportunities for joining the channel and how rewarding the career can be.”

IBAO also announced a related new broker-centric job board,, to help industry newcomers find relevant job openings in the broker channel.

To assist with transitioning newly licensed brokers into the workforce, IBAO rolled out a new eLearning course—New Broker Essentials—available in two versions: the Student Version trains brokers on routine tasks they face on a daily basis; the Management Version shows managers how to build an in-house training program.

“Attracting new talent to the broker channel isn’t just a marketing campaign or a new job board or partnering with post-secondary institutions across Ontario, it’s all of these things together that will drive success,” Joseph Carnevale.