CII could introduce ‘culture’ as new criteria

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has launched a consultation today on whether the existing standards for insurers and brokers are still ‘fit for purpose’.

This follows the findings of its review into the standards and eligibility criteria for corporate members, to make sure chartered firms are meeting customer expectations.

The review was scheduled to be published back in July, but was delayed until after the summer.

The existing standards focus on qualifications and ethics within an organisation, but under the consultation, the proposed changes could include culture.

This will look at how a firm displays standards of transparency, accountability and behaviour.

Increased focus on professionalism in the market

The review was prompted by the increase in the number of firms with chartered status and the growing focus in the industry on professionalism, as the Financial Conduct Authoirty seeks to foster a more customer-centric culture and conduct within organisations.

There are now 146 chartered brokers and 23 chartered insurers in the market.

CII’s communications director David Ross said: “As it has become more and more successful the visibility of the chartered brand both within the sector and externally has risen significantly.

“And what we’ve looked at is, in trying to protect that chartered brand, because it is incredibly powerful and has a tremendous resonance with customers, do we need to revisit the standards to say whether or not they are what they should be?”

Findings of review

Over the past few months the CII met with chartered brokers and insurers and held focus groups with consumers, including individuals responsible for buying insurance for their companies.

It found that having a chartered status was seen as an indication of a ‘higher level of professionalism’, ‘a level above’, or as a ‘badge of honour’.

“Being competent at your job is clearly important, but there is also a need to ensure firms are using the knowledge they have to deliver better outcomes for the customer,” Ross added.

“The general public recognises ‘chartered’ as having higher standards and at a time when the financial services is at a low point more broadly, as a result of the financial crisis, the confidence the public might have in financial services may have taken a knock.

“The opportunity to invest and become chartered is something that many firms recognise makes a difference.

“I think we are simply mirroring what customers expect and what the regulator has been talking about.”

Since the CII introduced chartered titles for firms in 2007 this will be the first time it is looking into reviewing the standards.

The consultation, which is open to members and non-members, ends on 31 January.