Fortis boss Barry Smith to lead professionalism task force

General insurance workers must raise their professional standards, the Chartered Insurance Institute has warned and has set up a task force headed by Fortis boss Barry Smith to bring in new rules.

In a new paper called Twenty-First Century Professionalism, the CII said: “More can and needs to be done to raise standards of professionalism in the general insurance market.”

It said insurers lagged way behind other professions – even those discredited in recent financial scandals, such as accountants. “There is a strong desire within general insurance for parity of esteem with other professions but there is much to be done before such an ambition can be fulfilled,” the report said.

The report says: “We believe general insurance practitioners have the opportunity to raise standards from within now rather than wait for regulatory imposition, and have launched an industry task force to lead the debate.”

That group will be chaired by deputy president of the CII and chief executive of Fortis UK, Barry Smith.

CII Chief Executive, Dr Alexander Scott, said: "The present banking crisis has starkly illustrated the public's concern over professional standards and endangers public trust and confidence.

"I am confident that the CII can meet the challenge of supporting the development of a modern profession including the need to ensure we as a professional body support this. Indeed, the CII has the opportunity to build on our legacy and guide the whole sector to a new standard of excellence fit for the twenty-first century while supporting our Royal Charter's ambition to "secure and justify the confidence of the public".

Twenty-First Century Professionalism is the first paper in a series of CII discussion documents called Papers in Professionalism.