As the insurance industry continues to evolve, it’s vital that New Zealand brokers keep up with the latest developments and standards and demonstrate their professionalism.

IBANZ has long recognised the need to support its members with these obligations by offering professional status levels to independently acknowledge qualifications, experience and capability. Once a status has been awarded, members can use the designated post-nominal to differentiate themselves from their peers.

In the lead up to the new financial advice regime coming fully into force in March this year, IBANZ  revamped its status levels and requirements to ensure it was keeping pace. All existing status holders were reviewed to ensure they continued to meet the evaluation criteria.

As a fire and general broker, gaining accreditation through IBANZ has always been a sign of commitment to industry excellence. This has been taken to the next level through the PQIB (Professional Qualified Insurance Broker) or CQIB (Chartered Qualified Insurance Broker) levels, which are the new leading standards.  

For PQIB or CQIB, brokers must hold the NZ Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) or equivalent and, of the annual minimum of 15 hours of continuing professional development (CPD), one must relate to conduct and ethics standards. 

IBANZ has continued to include a Chartered Insurance Broker (CIB) status for members who do not provide advice to retail clients so do not have to hold a Level 5 Certificate. 

Those in administration, claims and support roles can apply for the Professional Insurance Administrators (PIA) status. 

With rigorous industry standards, the levels are designed to showcase professionalism in the industry and give clients confidence. The new accreditations will make it easier to understand the level of experience and knowledge an IBANZ broker brings to their professional relationship.

Responding to change

Strong broker-client relationships have never been more important. As the industry responds to a period of regulatory changes and market challenges posed by the summer’s natural catastrophes, clients know the insurance market is changing.

Great advice is more valuable than ever, and the new accreditations will showcase its worth.

IBANZ is committed to supporting members in their client relationships, driving professionalism, and highlighting the sector’s vital role in protecting people.

“There can be a tendency for the public to treat insurance as transactional, with cost as the most important factor, rather than treating their insurance and ultimately the broker they use as a long-term business relationship,” says Simon Moss, general manager of IBANZ. 

The new certifications aim to give people confidence when dealing with a broker.

“The general public needs to be able to trust their broker and the advice they’re being given,” Moss says. “Our new professional status offerings are designed to make it easier for the general public to understand the level of experience and knowledge a PQIB or CQIB accredited broker has, to give them an additional level of reassurance.”

Brokers holding a PQIB or CQIB must demonstrate continuing professional development each year, recording a minimum of 15 hours of professional development training. IBANZ has offered three targeted topics this year, focused on conduct and ethics, as part of its CPD offering.

Before acknowledging a professional status level for an individual member, IBANZ will assess a combination of criteria, including professional experience, qualifications achieved, CPD planned and completed. The terms and criteria are explained in the IBANZ Membership and Professional Status Guidelines.

Standing out from the crowd

Insurance is a competitive market, and brokers need to stand out from the crowd. Client confidence in broker professionalism is essential. 

The new status levels provide an instant point of difference, communicating to clients the level of experience a member brings to their business relationship.

IBANZ is committed to lifting the profile of brokers and how their expertise can make a difference to clients when considering and purchasing cover and managing claims.

Moss adds: “We want to promote the importance of building a longer-term business relationship with their broker. Part of promoting this shift in perspective among clients and consumers is helping people understand exactly how much experience and knowledge our highest qualified brokers actually have, and the value that brings when managing a client’s insurance, at all stages of their insurance cycle”. 

The modern insurance market has a comprehensive range of insurance products to suit clients and their specific needs. By being a Professional Qualified Insurance Broker (PQIB), Chartered Qualified Insurance Broker (CQIB), or Chartered Insurance Broker (CIB), advisers can demonstrate their expertise and experience to guide clients through any challenge.

IBANZ works with industry-recognised experts to offer its members a programme of continuing professional development designed to support the role of insurance brokers and their ongoing client relationships. 

The updated professional status levels are a natural extension of the current IBANZ range of professional development that can help brokers stay up to date with industry trends and best practices.

Investing in a professional status is another way for brokers to communicate they are staying informed about industry changes, ethics and conduct and can deliver the best possible outcomes for clients.

IBANZ offers the professional status levels to plainly communicate the expertise and experience of its members. They will give clients more information about a broker’s background and skills, and demonstrate commitment to high standards. 

IBANZ sees the accreditations as a vital step to professionalising the sector and enabling the public to understand more about the industry’s work.

“We want the public to see insurance brokers as real professionals, with their best interests at the core of their business. Robust accreditation processes are a way for us to do that, as an industry,” Moss adds.

The new accreditations sit alongside the current benefits of being an IBANZ member, including a host of resources and support services, such as access to best practice guides and regular updates on industry or proposed legislative changes. 

The statuses, and IBANZ’s ongoing support, are designed to prepare the industry for the future and navigate an increasingly complex world.

IBANZ strongly encourages members to work towards and apply for their appropriate status levels, starting with PIA as a minimum. 

By meeting the rigorous standards set by IBANZ, members have the opportunity to differentiate themselves in the market and provide assurance to clients. The new status levels are the next step in taking the industry to the next level as the broking market looks forward to an exciting decade ahead.

June 2023