How to become an insurance broker in Ontario - A Quick Guide

By: Updated: February 11, 2022


In Ontario, insurance brokers sell insurance for vehicles and homes. In order to be licensed as a broker, you must pass an exam and be sponsored by an experienced broker. The most successful insurance brokers are those who like working with a wide variety of clients and enjoy doing sales. The insurance broker salary can be substantial if you work hard and have skills in prospecting for new clients.


What is an insurance broker?

In Ontario, insurance brokers help clients to find appropriate insurance for autos and homes. They are a separate occupation from those who sell life insurance.

He or she will determine what the client needs, recommend an appropriate policy and get price quotes from several insurance companies. In the event that a claim needs to be filed, the broker will facilitate this, helping the client through the process. Brokers should be comfortable speaking with clients who may have just faced an upsetting car accident or household incident.


How to become an insurance broker in Ontario (step by step)

The first step is to decide whether this is the field for you. Invite a few experienced insurance brokers to speak with you on the phone or over coffee. Ask them what kind of tasks they do during their workday and whether they have positive experiences of working with clients.

Sales is an important component of being an insurance broker. You must like introducing yourself to potential clients and asking them about their insurance needs. This is especially important when you are just starting out – you will need to generate sales commissions in order to provide yourself with a decent income.

Here are the steps to becoming an insurance broker in Ontario:


Preparing for the exam

You need to study to prepare for the exam. The good news is that there is a wide variety of options to cover the material, including the insurance broker course online. You can take live online classes where you have a chance to ask questions of the instructor. Or you can use a self study kit to learn at your own pace. Or you can watch recorded classes.

So it really depends on your learning style and what you are most comfortable with. You may already have a full-time job in another sector or young children that you need to take care of in the early evening. You may prefer self-study so that you can learn after your kids have gone to bed.


Take the exam

The general insurance exams are coordinated by the Insurance Institute of Ontario. General agents are exempt if they have the Certified Insurance Professional designation or have already passed the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario exam.


Pass or fail the exam

If you pass the exam, you can apply for jobs. An existing broker will act as sponsor for your registration.

If you fail the exam, you can rewrite it within eight months. If you fail the exam twice, you will have to wait eight months before taking it again.


General insurance agent application

Once you have passed the exam, you can apply to become a General Insurance agent, which are regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. You will need to provide supporting documentation and pay the $150 application fee. In addition, you must be sponsored by a licensed insurer.


How much do insurance brokers make?

What’s an insurance broker salary? It varies – a lot. Most insurance brokerages pay a basic salary and then brokers can earn commissions on every sale. At we indicated above, sales are a key component of the job. If you are good at approaching potential customers and closing the deal, you can collect hefty commissions. As a result, insurance broker salaries can range from $40,000 to $200,000 or more.

When you are just starting out, you will find that your income is modest. That’s because it takes a while to build up a client list and get the commissions flowing. Therefore, it’s important to make a financial plan that will allow you to endure a few lean years at the outset.


How long does it take to become an insurance broker?

It varies. It can take just a few months or as long as a couple of years. It really depends on how much time you have to devote to it and whether you pass the exam on the first try.

There are two levels of insurance broker licensed with the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario:

  • Level 1: You have passed the entry level exam. You can then seek employment and sponsorship with a licensed insurer. Once you have passed the exam, registration must be completed within 12 months.
  • Level 2: You must have acted as a broker and be registered for at least two years. You must pass the Unrestricted Technical and Unrestricted Management exams within three years.


What qualifications do you need to be an insurance broker

You should have a minimum of Grade 12 education. It’s an advantage to have a college or university diploma, but this is not required.


Is insurance broker the right occupation for you?

Insurance brokers deal with a wide range of clients and situations every day. In order to make a good living, they should be able to prospect for new clients and close sales. There is no fixed insurance broker salary. An insurance broker who is successful can earn a substantial amount of money.


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