October 21, 2017

Last Updated on September 21, 2022 by MaychelleN

This article was a request from a new student who wanted to get into the insurance industry but was confused about his options.  I get asked about this a lot and decided it would best for me to simply write an article about it.

If you’re already licensed as an insurance agent and you’re only here to get your Level 2 license, the information here won’t apply to you (maybe I’ll write another post for that one later on).

Perhaps you might have heard about this already but in order to get your Level 1 Insurance License, you have to pass either the CAIB 1 exam or Fundamentals of Insurance exam with the Insurance Council of BC (IBABC).  Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to take a course in order to take the exam.  Anyone can simply sign up and challenge the exam directly.

The content of these exams are the same; the only difference is that the Fundamentals of Insurance exam is 100 multiple choice questions whereas the CAIB 1 exam contains definitions, short answer questions, etc.  As a result, the Fundamentals of Insurance exam is significantly easier than the CAIB 1 exam and so I recommend most new agents opt for that one.

That being said, there are still advantages to taking CAIB 1 over Fundamentals.  With the CAIB 1 exam under your belt, you will be eligible for a CAIB designation after getting your Level 2 License (completing both CAIB 2 & 3 exams).  The CAIB designation serves to set you apart from other insurance agents as well as lowering your continuing education requirements.

Now that we have the exam options out of the way, let’s talk about study options:

  • Self-study: With this option, you have to buy the Fundamentals of Insurance/CAIB 1 textbook from IBABC for $400.  The problem with this is that the book is large and incredibly hard to read.
  • Immersion Course with IBABC: IBABC holds immersion courses a few times a year.  This is a great study option but it is expensive: it costs about $1000 and doesn’t provide you with any additional study materials.  It is also a week-long all-day class so it’s not a good fit for those who can’t afford to take a week off work.
  • Online Self-paced Course with PNC Learning: Not to toot my own horn but I think this blends elements of both and is the best option of them all.  We provide you firstly with simplified study notes so you can skip the large IBABC textbook.  This alone with save you months of studying.  Similar to the immersion course, we have online lectures to explain concepts in more detail as well as instructors on hand to answer your questions by phone or email.  And unlike the immersion course, we have over 1000 practice questions for you to test your knowledge.

This is just a quick run-down of your options, if you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch.  There’s no obligation to use our services and we’ll still be happy to help you.

Jacques Wong is the CEO and Director of Education at PNC Learning. An award-winning licensed insurance broker with over 15 years of experience in both education and the insurance industry, Jacques is recognized for his expertise and effective communication strategies. He achieved the highest provincial scores on his CAIB* 3 and CAIB* 4 exams and contributes to leading insurance publications. Jacques is dedicated to making insurance knowledge accessible for everyone through his unique approach and online content.

Jacques Wong

 Jacques wong


The Best way to learn about our courses is to try them for yourself.




PNC Learning was started by insurance professionals for insurance professionals.

Our goal is to help you get a strong start in the industry and assist you as you seek to learn more and move up in the industry.