What qualifications are required?
The typical entry requirements to the insurance sector depend on the role. New starters are generally at a minimum school leavers with their Leaving Certificate, or college graduates from various fields within business studies, certificate through to masters level.
The insurance sector is highly regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and there are systems in place to ensure that those advising insurance customers are fully qualified, competent and confident to do so.
As a result, insurance professionals working in consumer-facing roles are required to complete professional qualifications to ensure they are able to provide expert advice to insurance customers. Companies generally provide support to these individuals together with providing employees with internal training on areas such as product knowledge and in-house systems.
Undergraduate degree programmes
The University of Limerick's Bachelor of Business Studies with Risk Management and the Bachelor of International Insurance and European Studies are highly recognised insurance-specific qualifications within the industry. These qualifications, among others, may also provide exemptions from some of the professional insurance exams.
There are a number of universities offering actuarial based degree courses, which typically provide exemptions from the professional actuarial exams:
• University College Dublin - Actuarial and Financial Studies
• Dublin City University - Actuarial Mathematics
• University College Cork - Mathematical Sciences
• National University of Ireland, Galway - Financial Mathematics & Economics
• University of Limerick - Financial Mathematics
Those interested in studying in Northern Ireland could explore:
Queen’s University Belfast - Actuarial Science & Risk Management
As an integral part of the financial services industry in Ireland, the insurance industry is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Individuals interacting and advising the general public are legally obliged to be suitably qualified by means of professional qualifications and designations recognised by the Central Bank, and to keep their knowledge up to date through Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
|Professional Certificate in Insurance (APA)||
This is the entry level qualification and the minimum requirement expected in the industry.
The entry level Accredited Product Adviser (APA) is a specialist designation that meets the requirements of the Central Bank of Ireland's Minimum Competency Code and allows new entrants to gain their regulatory licence. The products covered in the courses leading to APA designations are varied and include life assurance, pensions, private health insurance, personal and commercial general insurance.
Some of the APA designations are also stepping stones towards the QFA. Those interested in pursuing the actuarial route typically complete their professional exams with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, which is based in the UK.
|Professional Diploma in Insurance (CIP)||
The industry norm is then to progress to become fully qualified either in the general insurance market through the Professional Diploma in Insurance (CIP) with The Insurance Institute of Ireland or across a broad spectrum of financial services products through the Professional Diploma in Financial Advice leading to the Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) with LIA.
|BA (Hons)' in Insurance Practice - Apprenticeship||This is the degree you’ll earn if you take part in the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship programme. It’s delivered online through IT Sligo and The Insurance Institute and is a combination of academic study and on-the-job learning.|
Find out more about qualifications for the insurance industry here.
New Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship
Download PowerPoint here.
School leavers who embark on the professional Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship will get their foot on the career ladder earlier than most graduates, while still earning a level 8 qualification and a salary.
Insurance Practitioner Apprentices will become part of a pool of talent from which organisations can recruit when looking for people who want to create a strong career in the insurance industry and who have the qualifications and employability skills to do so.
The BA (Hons) Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, a level 8 ‘earn and learn’ degree delivered by The Insurance Institute and IT Sligo, which combines academic qualifications with practical on-the-job learning.
Find out more about career opportunities in the Insurance Industry here.
LIA designations for Financial Services
More and more employers in financial services are insisting on professional qualifications before considering a candidate for a role, while others set a time limit on reaching these qualifications within the early months of their employment. This is where LIA can help.
The designations awarded through the successful completion of our courses allow people take their first step on the work ladder and progress in all manner of roles within the Financial Services industry.
The LIA designations which can help school-leavers gain employment are:
Accredited Product Adviser (APA) designations
Considered the launching pad to a career in financial services, these designations satisfy the Central Bank as well as employers and allow their holders to advise in a specific area of financial services. Most APAs can be achieved after just two modules.
Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) designation
The benchmark for those in financial services, it is the recognised qualification that allows people to work in almost any type of advisory role with customers. The QFA has become an important qualification in the industry today for those looking to progress and build long-term employment within the industry.
Credit Union designations
With increased need for qualified people within the Credit Union Movement, achieving an LIA Credit Union Designation will allow school-leavers the opportunity to gain employment in this area.
Our Credit Union Channels programme has been developed to provide a comprehensive and tailored path to becoming qualified for a Credit Union role.
The programme comprises three designations that dovetail with each other and with other LIA designations, offering a unique Credit Union course offering.
Further information from LIA on the range of courses that allow people take their first step on the work ladder and progress in all manner of roles within the Financial Services industry are availabe here:
Download the latest LIA Information Brochure here [pdf]
What are the typical routes into this sector?
The typical route into the insurance industry is following Leaving Certificate or third level graduation. Many new starters begin in administrative roles, developing an understanding of the industry and various functions and products. Opportunities to specialise are available including underwriting, claims management, broking, sales and compliance.
Those who already hold, or are currently undertaking one of the professional designations (e.g. APA, QFA, CIP) may find that they can enter the industry at a higher level.
New Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship
Be the first to hear about the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship 2017 - click here to register your interest.
In the past, the insurance sector had a tradition of hiring school-leavers into apprenticeship roles. Many of the industry’s leaders started out as apprentices, undertaking professional qualifications as they worked their way up through the ranks. This tradition faded with the increasing popularity of attending university over the last 15 years, although the graduates who enter the industry still undertake professional qualifications on top of their college degrees, as in other industries – a source of frustration for many. The new Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, will provide a solution to these issues.
School leavers who embark on the professional Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Scheme will get their foot on the career ladder earlier than most graduates, while still earning a level 8 qualification and a salary. Insurance Practitioner Apprentices will become part of a pool of talent from which organisations can recruit when looking for people who want to create a strong career in the insurance industry and who have the qualifications and employability skills to do so.
The BA (Hons) Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, a Level 8 ‘earn and learn’ degree delivered by The Insurance Institute and IT Sligo, which combines academic qualifications with practical on-the-job learning.
- Minimum 2 honours in Leaving Cert
- 4 additional passes including English/Irish and Maths
- For those over 23 on 1 January of the year of entry, interviews and other selection tools may be used to assess, replacing Leaving Cert entry requirements.
Detailed entry requirements can be found here.
Applications will open in the next few weeks. Register below to recieve updates: