Saturday, March 28, 2009

Starting from Scratch

So, my more faithful readers may have noticed that it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. There is a good reason, and as it happens, that reason is related to my move to Canada.

I am studying for two CIP (Certified Insurance Professional) exams. I have to read and study two very long text books. I REALLY begrudge having to do this at all, because I have earned what I consider to be the equivalent certification in the United States. I have several insurance certifications there including my certificate in general insurance and my Associate in Personal Insurance, Associate in Insurance Services, and Associate in Customer Service designations. While in Michigan, I took over eight courses to achieve these certifications. Each class required a great deal of studying—in fact, each was the equivalent of a three-credit college course. I received the highest marks on all of the exams, and I was also an instructor for some of the courses. I was even named an Outstanding Course Leader by the Insurance Institute of America.

So, here I am in Canada now, and it turns out that these achievements in the US mean nothing here. Not a single class transfers towards the Canadian certification. From what I’ve seen and experienced at work, the information is so similar. After all, the concepts of insurance are the same worldwide. North American auto and home insurance does not have a lot of variations. The biggest difference is the legal regulation, and even that isn’t too different. There is more of a difference between insurance in different US states than there is between Ontario and Michigan.

You might think that getting this new certification should be easy for me since I already know most of the information. But anyone who’s ever taken a course for a professional certification knows that the exams are much more than conceptual. A lot of it is memorization, and for me now, it’s memorizing information I’ve long forgotten, knowing that I can always look it up if I need it, or some information that is specific to Canada (such as auto insurance regulation in Quebec that I will never need to know).

The Insurance Institute of Canada supposedly has the best interests of the industry and its professionals in mind, but honestly, having to go through all these courses and testing again is enough to make me want to leave the insurance industry completely.

I sure am glad I don’t have to do my bachelor’s and master’s degrees over again. I guess it could be worse. I did speak with an immigrant from Pakistan who said that her master’s degree in botany from Pakistan is not recognized here at all and she can’t find a job suited to her education.

So, while I’m still knee-deep in insurance textbooks, I won’t have much time to put in new posts. I do have quite a few formulated in my head, though, so be watching for me to put those in writing and on this blog in April.

1 comment:

MSEH said...

Good to see you, albeit momentarily. And, good luck with the studying. My partner and I may both end up taking 1-2 years more of coursework to get licensed to practice law. But, it's a lot easier to swallow having to do so since a) the law really does have some major differences, and b) neither of us have practiced. I'm more bummed about the $ than the studying! Hang in there!