When you hear the word “ethics” what comes to mind?

Most of our insurance education focuses on improving product knowledge and developing our sales and service skills. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, more emphasis has been placed on discussing the ethical decisions that brokers have to make daily in their dealings with other brokerage staff, their clients and the insurance companies they represent.

Ethics is all about doing the right thing in a particular situation. As insurance brokers, our clients, insurers and the public would expect us to do nothing less.

When you hear the word “ethics” what, if anything, comes to mind?

If you said that ethics involves doing the right thing – making the right decision – when in a given situation that offers other possibilities, you are on the right track.

So, it makes sense that if you choose to do the right thing, you are acting ethically and, conversely, if you choose to do the wrong thing, chances are pretty good that you are acting unethically.

There are many definitions of “ethics”, including this one:

“Ethics is about fairness, about deciding what is right or wrong, about defining practices and rules that guide responsible conduct between individuals and groups”.  [Canadian Professional Insurance Broker Program, Law & Ethics,]

Fairness is a basic ethical value – if you treat people fairly, you reduce the odds of your behaving unethically.

Here’s another definition of “ethics”:

“Ethics are both personal and societal. They are discovered by reason of introspection, yet they are shaped by our environment and the values of our culture”. [Williams, Bruce D.; Ethics, Profits and Prosperity]

So, what is being said here is that society has a set of expectations as to what constitutes ethical or moral behavior.  We need to be discerning enough to know what behaviour is acceptable to society as a whole and what is not.

Example: We work in a society where people pay us for the advice and products we provide to them. They expect us to be fair, honest, trustworthy, and loyal and all the other things they value in their insurance broker. If we breach any of these ethical values, they may well perceive us as being unethical in our dealings with them.

Finally, here’s what one insurance industry expert had to say about the meaning of the term “ethics”:

“Over the years, philosophers and other scholars have made valiant attempts to provide a generally acceptable definition of ethics. Ethics, like professionalism, is very difficult to define in a fundamental way that will win wide acceptance, but we know it when we see it. Several values are widely recognized as the requisite traits of an ethical person, including:

– honesty and integrity;

– respect and caring for others;

– promise keeping, trustworthiness and fairness; and

– personal accountability. 

These ethical values can clearly influence the kind of service insurance organizations provide. A motivated work force that is guided by these ethical values will do much to earn the trust of the insurance buying public. Trust is earned over time through dealing honestly and consistently displaying an attitude that reflects both self-respect and respect for others. If service improves, if ethical values rise, the image of insurance will necessarily improve because image reflects reality.” [Baglini, Norman A.; Ph.D.; Quality, Ethics and the Future of Insurance]

The above paragraph talks about applying the list of ethical values (from the previous paragraph) to the workplace – to our business endeavours. We normally refer to these as business ethics. What does that mean? Does it imply that the personal ethical values a person has are different from the ethical values they apply to their business dealings with others? For example, you probably value honesty; fairness; loyalty; respect; personal accountability; etc. in your personal relationships. Does that change when you do business with others? Not likely. So, business ethics is essentially the application of the personal ethical values you have to business situations.

What the Experts say: While knowing ethical behaviour when we see it is all fine and well, all organizations need to establish a formal ethics program to ensure that all staff know how to make ethical decisions when dealing with their clients.

Making the Right Ethical Decisions, is an online e-Learning course that looks at the following topics as they relate to “Ethics and the Insurance Professional”, specifically:

  • Defining “Ethics”
  • Establishing Ethical Standards – Sources of Influence
  • Basic Ethical Values and What They Really Mean
  • The Insurance Broker’s Dilemma
  • What a Formal Ethics Program Will Do For Your Brokerage

This courses is provincially accredited and satisfies the new RIBO Ethics CE requirement for 2019.

All individual RIBO licensees, including Principal Brokers, Deputy Principal Brokers and Supervising Brokers must complete 1 hour of approved RIBO Ethics CE by September 30, 2019.

This online ethical decisions course addresses Broker ethics – doing right as opposed to wrong – and that it is not all black and white.

As a result, we recognize that you may  not always agree with our answers for the “ethical or unethical” situations presented in this online course. However, in any event, the important thing is that we hope we have succeeded in identifying the kinds of situations all brokers have found themselves in and in helping you to clarify your thinking on what the proper ethical response for those situations should be.

RIBO Ethics CE, you need 1 hour every year!

The Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario recently updated the continuing education requirements for all RIBO Licensees.

As a RIBO licensee you need 1 Hour of RIBO Ethics CE by September 30, 2019, and then a new hour of Ethics CE every year between October 1st and September 30th.

ILScorp has your RIBO requirements for 2019 covered with the online course Making the Right Ethical Decisions, and we will be adding new RIBO Ethics CE courses each year.

 

This online 1 hour RIBO Ethics CE course can be purchased for $85.00 and is completed entirely online. Once you register you will receive a username and password to access the ILScorp e-learning centre. You will have 6 months of unlimited access to complete this course. Once you pass the final quiz you can print your CE certificate immediately. We will keep your CE certificate on file for up to 7 years in-case of audit.
Your Best Option to Access the Making the Right Ethical Decisions Course
Rather than purchase this course on its own, this course is also available as part of the ILScorp General CE Course Subscription.
The ILScorp General CE Course Subscription has over 186 online courses accredited in RIBO Management, RIBO Technical, RIBO Personal Skills and the RIBO Ethics CE Course.
This subscription is $185.00 and you receive 6 months of unlimited access to all 186 courses. Each time we release a new course you receive automatic access to the new courses at no extra charge.
So if you have an active ILScorp General CE Subscription when we release the new RIBO Ethics CE courses in October of 2019, you’ll automatically receive free access!
Contact ILScorp today.
New Courses Approved for Ethics CE Training

New Courses Approved for Ethics CE Training

Three new courses have been approved by the Life Insurance Council of Saskatchewan as ethics CE training.

Resident Life and Accident & Sickness; and Accident & Sickness Licensees are required to complete a Council approved ethics CE course totaling at least three hours in duration.

The following new courses are now available to all ILScorp Life/A&S subscribers and are council approved for Ethics CE as follows:

Ethical Theory & Conduct in the Insurance Industry: Ethics Defined & Practical Foundations
Approved for 1 ethic hour

Ethical Theory & Conduct in the Insurance Industry: The Ethical Agent
Approved for 2 ethic hours

Ethical Theory & Conduct in the Insurance Industry: The Ethical Agent Case Examples
Approved for 1 ethic hour

View All Approved Ethics Courses

Why Ethics Training?

Most industries promote or require compliance with a code of ethical behavior. When an person becomes a life agent, they have joined a trust-based occupation that carries with it the explicit or assumed acceptance of an ethical code.

The public will expect the life agent, at a minimum, to use the code as a significant determinant of his or her individual behavior. Codes do not take the place of individual accountability but, rather, help to provide professional guidance.

A society or culture is formed when individuals exhibit like behavior and agree with basic theories on how to live and work together.

Whether one defines ethical behavior as moral, religious, cultural (i.e., an American principle) or professional, it is generally agreed that it begins with an unwritten group of ideas that define “right behavior” in various circumstances.

Ethics refers to the rules that govern “good, correct, accountable, and prudent conduct” – concurrent with the pursuit of self-choice, self-expression, personal happiness and professional development.

Ethics includes several important human traits:
• Holding and practicing empathy and respect
• Demonstrating integrity and honesty
• Working to satisfy the needs of clients

An individual’s code of ethics – influenced by belief systems – describes the moral, intellectual and emotional attitudes they hold towards their environment and circumstances.

Ones set of morals shows itself in how the individual behaves both professionally and personally. Those holding a strong sense of self-respect, self-acceptance, and positive regard for others will act in the best interest of others.

Everyone remains a product of their environment, encompassing social, personal, spiritual, economic, political, and professional spheres. However, intellectual, emotional, and experiential development equip people to maximize their individual growth potentials and capabilities within the context of a positive ethical framework.

Looking for RIBO Ethics CE?

Let’s have a closer look at the first course in the series, Ethical Theory & Conduct in the Insurance Industry: Ethics Defined & Practical Foundations.

Ethical Theory & Conduct in the Insurance Industry: Ethics Defined & Practical Foundations, explores the sources of variation in ethical standards among individuals and looks at the question of whether those differences are innate or are environmentally shaped.

The course also presents a definition of ethics in the context of the insurance business, including the benefits to clients of having an insurance representative and dealing with a quality firm.

Participants will cover details regarding the purposes and workings of regulatory and industry bodies, including the responsibilities of life agents and how insurance companies generate a profit.

Finally, the course describes an effective life insurance business model which identifies the needs of clients and assumes the highest level of responsibility for the manner in which it deals with those clients.

Topics covered:

Theoretical Foundations of “Ethics” and Introductory Concepts
Regulatory & Industry Guidance for the Life Agents and Agent Responsibilities
Ethics and the Professional Insurance Agent/Broker
Marketing Life Insurance
The Agent’s Attitude
The Advisor and the Counselor
Quality Business / Cost and the profit factor
Government Regulation / Industry Regulation
Provincial Insurance Councils
Advocis: The Financial Advisors Association of Canada
Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Board
Discovering Insurance Needs / Know Your Client Principle
Example: Breach of Duty of Care
Professionalism – Business Practices
Criteria for a Vocation to Qualify as a “Profession”

Included in Life/A&S CE Subscription
RIBO Ethics Continuing Education Requirement

RIBO Ethics Continuing Education Requirement

1 hour minimum of RIBO Ethics CE

Your total number of required RIBO continuing education hours has not changed, but the new category of Ethics is now in effect.

ILScorp has launched a new online course to meet your RIBO Ethics continuing education requirements.

Making the Right Ethical Decisions

This course is free as part of the ILScorp General CE Course Subscription and is now available to all ILScorp General Subscribers.

Sample ethical situations from the course:

Ethical or Unethical?

We have an insurance company that pays us 5% more commission for certain classes of new business we place with them, so, that’s where I put all of that new business. In fact, I always place my business with the insurance company that pays the highest commission. I do this even if I know the coverage may be better with another insurance company.

Suggested Answer: Unethical. Placing insurance with the company that pays the highest commissions without regard for the client’s needs would be unethical. It is a breach of the ethical values of fairness; trustworthiness; respect; honesty; and, caring for others that clients expect from us when we agree to provide them with insurance. This would be particularly true when we know that doing that is not in the best interests of the client.

We recommend that the client’s needs always be considered first. When you choose to do that, chances are extremely good that you are behaving ethically. While making money is important, it should not be done at the expense of the client.

Ethical or Unethical?

At our brokerage we’ve been discussing ways to write more business. We’re thinking of having a draw for a trip to Hawaii for all clients who purchase an insurance policy from our brokerage during the period of March 1 to May 1. Most of us in the brokerage like this idea.

Suggested Answer: Ethical. Although holding a contest in which all purchasers of insurance can enter may be legal, there is still the question of how ethical it would be to do that. As we have already learned, what may be legal may not be ethical according to the standards of our profession. On the other hand, although it is not a brokerage practice that we see very much of, doing that is “not unethical”.

One way to avoid problems regarding allegations of “tied-selling”, which is illegal, is to allow any person to enter the contest without the necessity of first having had to purchase an insurance policy.  

RIBO CE Requirements 2019

Principal Brokers and Deputy Principal Brokers

10 hours of continuing education credits every year between October 1st and September 30th subject to the following conditions: minimum of 1 hour Ethics, 5 hours Management, and Personal Skills category courses cannot be applied. The remaining hours may be in the Management or Technical categories. A carryover of a maximum of 10 hours (or one term’s requirements) is permitted however the minimum category requirements must be maintained.

All other licensed individuals

8 hours of continuing education credits every year between October 1st and September 30th subject to the following conditions: minimum of 1 hour Ethics, 3 hours Technical, and a maximum of 2 hours Personal Skills may be applied. A carryover of a maximum of 8 hours (or one term’s requirements) is permitted however the minimum category requirements must be maintained.

Approved Mandatory Ethics Training Courses

Approved Mandatory Ethics Training Courses

All resident Saskatchewan licensees are required to complete an Insurance Councils of Saskatchewan approved ethics course, that is at least three hours in duration. The following courses are approved by the Insurance Councils of Saskatchewan for 3 C.E. credit hours and meets the ethics training requirement.

Looking for Mandatory RIBO Ethics CE? Click Here

These courses discuss professional codes of conduct, with dilemma or scenario-based examples so licensees may spot issues and make the right choices. The aim is to help licensees make sense of what might seem like a convoluted situation and determine the ethical choice.

Insurance Councils of Saskatchewan Approved Ethics Training

Courses approved for All Classes other than Life Licensees (General) 
Ethics and the Insurance Professional Part 1 – Approved for 1 ethic hour
Ethics and the Insurance Professional Part 2 – Approved for 1 ethic hour
Ethics and the Insurance Professional Part 3 – Approved for 1 ethic hour

 

Courses approved for Life and Accident & Sickness and Accident & Sickness licensees
Life Ethics in the Insurance Industry Part 1 – Approved for 1 ethic hour
Life Ethics in the Insurance Industry Part 2 – Approved for 1 ethic hour
Life Ethics in the Insurance Industry Part 3 – Approved for 1 ethic hour

 

Courses approved for Adjuster/Adjuster Representative licensees
Ethics Training for Adjusters Module 1 – Approved for 1 ethic hour
Ethics Training for Adjusters Module 2 – Approved for 1 ethic hour
Ethics Training for Adjusters Module 3 – Approved for 1 ethic hour

More info on ethics courses

Once you have successfully passed these courses please provide the Saskatchewan Council with documentation to support completion.

Ethics training is important and can have an impact on business, reputation, and daily office morale. You cannot afford to leave ethical decision making to chance, as one hasty action or decision by a licensee can harm an entire organization.

RIBO Ethics Continuing Education Requirement

New Course for RIBO Ethics CE Requirement

RIBO Ethics CE Requirement

The new license year of Oct 01, 2018 to September 30, 2019, brings new continuing education requirements for general insurance licensed individuals in Ontario.

The total number of required CE hours has not changed however a new category, Ethics, has been introduced and licensees must complete a minimum of 1 hour in this category per term.

ILScorp has developed a course that is RIBO approved for 1 CE in the new Ethics Category: Making the Right Ethical Decisions. This course is now available to all ILScorp General CE Subscribers!

More Info

In this course, we will look at the following topics as they relate to “Ethics and the

Insurance Professional”, specifically:

  • Defining “Ethics”
  • Establishing Ethical Standards – Sources of Influence
  • Basic Ethical Values and What They Really Mean
  • The Insurance Broker’s Dilemma
  • What a Formal Ethics Program Will Do For Your Brokerage

Along with the new Ethics CE requirement, there is also a cap on the number of Personal Skills hours permitted and a minimum number of Technical hours required. Continuing Education Requirements are listed below. 

RIBO CE Requirements

Principal Brokers and Deputy Principal Brokers

10 hours of continuing education credits every year between October 1st and September 30th subject to the following conditions:

  • minimum of 1 hour Ethics
  • minimum of 5 hours Management
  • Personal Skills category courses cannot be applied
  • The remaining hours may be in the Management or Technical categories.

A carryover of a maximum of 10 hours (or one term’s requirements) is permitted however the minimum category requirements must be maintained.

All other licensed individuals

8 hours of continuing education credits every year between October 1st and September 30th subject to the following conditions:

  • minimum of 1 hour Ethics
  • minimum of 3 hours Technical
  • maximum of 2 hours Personal Skills may be applied

A carryover of a maximum of 8 hours (or one term’s requirements) is permitted however the minimum category requirements must be maintained.

Newly licensed individuals

The continuing education program of 8 hours every year between October 1st and September 30th will begin the first October following registration. Individuals are only exempted for the remainder of the license year that they were registered.

E.g. Broker A was registered on November 1, 2017 and Broker B was registered on April 30, 2018. Neither Broker A, nor Broker B will be required to have accumulated any continuing education credits by September 30, 2018, but must begin taking the continuing education seminars/courses on October 1, 2018 for the 2018/2019 license term.

 

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