CII and ANZIIF will create joint body to be formally established in 2008

The CII is to merge with its Australian and New Zealand counterpart in a move that heralds the first step in the CII's bid to create a global insurance institute.

According to an internal document seen by Insurance Times, the CII and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) have agreed to create a joint body.

The joint statement, signed by CII president Ian Templeton and Ian Brown, president of the ANZIIF, says the union could create a new entity to be formally established in 2008.

Options are being considered, with the boards of each institute expected to review the proposals within the year.

The CII and ANZIIF had begun to explore possible means of working together in ways that "would promote mutual value".

However, after the preliminary discussions it was felt that the "development of a joint body would best accommodate the opportunities that arise from this partnership".

It is understood that the move, known as Project Ash, had been sparked by pressure from global companies wanting to introduce standardised training programmes across their operations.

"Global companies want global standards for training and accreditation," a source close to the CII said.

"The CII wants to harmonise standards and bring the smaller institutes around the world into the CII."

The joint statement added: "We are each serving an industry sector that is becoming more and more globalised. The benefits of sharing knowledge, education programmes and practices, and industry expertise are of great interest.

"Also servicing emerging off-shore markets was seen as a prospective area of collaboration."

The CII is understood to be opening an institute in India later this year before considering options in China.

The CII declined to comment.