Gain the upper hand

Today’s new model of broker, the authorised representative, lives and dies by the amount of business they can directly bring in.

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Forgoing the security of a regular pay cheque, the AR sub-contracts to a broker and operates their own business under the Financial Services Licence of their associated brokerage. It’s a riskier approach to business but the financial rewards can be significant, offering successful ARs the chance to earn far in excess of a regular broker wage.

ARs therefore need every competitive and business advantage they can find, and on-going training and education can be an important part of their armoury.

“The AR is in a position where they need to be as well-trained as possible because it’s so important for them to be able to swiftly build their business,” explains Linda Evans, NIBA’s Professional Development Executive.

“The way to do that is to be really knowledgeable and skilled across many insurance disciplines.”

Missed opportunities?

There are an estimated 3000 ARs currently in business across Australia. Most are highly trained and experienced brokers who receive much training support from their licence holders. But comparatively few of them are designated Qualified Practising Insurance Brokers (QPIB), even though many undoubtedly have the credentials to do so.

The arguments to upgrade to the QPIB designation through NIBA College are numerous, says Evans. “Customer expectations for brokers are becoming more sophisticated,” she says. “Increasingly, that expectation is for brokers to be able to clearly identify themselves as qualified professionals.

The AR is in a position where they need to be as well-trained as possible because it’s so important for them to be able to swiftly build their business

“That’s where having the QPIB designation can help make a difference in showing to clients, and potential clients, that you are a committed authority on insurance and risk, and one who is at the top of your profession. If you like, the QPIB offers you an extra opportunity to market yourself to new business.

“NIBA College’s over-riding aim is to provide opportunities for brokers to achieve and maintain high levels of professional competence, and that’s as relevant to the AR market as to any other broker.”

The bottom line

In light of the AR’s earning potential being linked so directly to the amount of business they bring in, there is another compelling reason to consider upgrading to the QPIB designation: NIBA’s Need a Broker service.

Need a Broker aims to provide consumers with a free resource (both online and via a freephone number) from which to seek professional advice from brokers on their insurance needs. Generating more than 20,000 leads per year, Need a Broker is valuable for both consumers and brokers – but only brokerages and ARs with a QPIB on their team are eligible to appear on the site, in order to ensure that consumers using the service gain direct access to the nation’s most highly-skilled brokers.

“Need a Broker is a great member service for all brokers, but it can be particularly valuable for ARs,” says Evans. “And it’s another reason why it makes perfect sense for ARs who already have all the required skills and experience to become QPIBs through NIBA College as soon as they’re able.”

QPIB – how to get it

A Qualified Practising Insurance Broker (QPIB) of NIBA College is a practitioner class for those who have fully qualified as a broker. Applicants must at least have:

  • a Diploma of Financial Services (Insurance Broking) with NIBA College or another registered training organisation or equivalent;
  • a minimum of 4 years’ experience as an insurance broker; and
  • participated in continuing professional development as required by the NIBA Board in the 12-month period prior to the date of his/her application.

If you are unsure whether you are able to apply for QPIB membership, or need assistance in the application process, please contact our Registrar, Mel Sanfilippo, on (02) 9459 4300 or email registrar@niba.com.au