Former CGNU chief executive Bob Scott and Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) director general Sandy Scott promised a new era for insurance training at the CII's annual conference in Edinburgh last week.

Sandy Scott promised the industry new modular training courses that would be available through the web or as an intranet plug-in.

He also said the CII was in the early stages of developing broker support training for AXA and a new training initiative for Zurich.

Bob Scott outlined research conducted earlier this year that has prompted changes to the CII's training strategy and its service levels to the industry.

He said the research showed the CII was seen as a solid, well respected professional body, “but often seen as old-fashioned and relevant to a minority, dominated by the over-40s and not representative of the industry as it is now structured”, he said.

“All the research pointed to the need for the CII to get closer to the needs of the industry and streamline its own processes to cater for those needs.”

Bob Scott said the research among life and general insurers found a need for “just-in-time” training. It was inefficient to provide training for travel, for example, when someone was working in claims, he said.

He added businesses had become more focused, which was reflected in greater role segmentation among employees.

Sandy Scott said to address this, the CII was developing training modules that can be accessed through desktop PCs when they are required.

Bob Scott said there was a need to establish nationally and internationally recognised qualifications to promote employer confidence and give members qualifications they can take with them to other industries. He also pointed out that the CII's service levels had been criticised.

Sandy Scott said eight customer relationship managers were currently being trained. He added that phone answering times had improved – 95% of the CII's 20,000 calls per month were now answered in 10 seconds. Response to mail inquiries had also improved. Sandy Scott said in August 98% of orders were processed in on the same day, compared to 38% previously.

The CII will also employ a secret shopper in order to test training and competence products.

The CII's income was £12m in 2001, up from £10m in 2000.

  • AXA chief executive Andy Homer, also speaking at the conference, said employees would need to have achieved certain levels of qualifications to progress within his company.

    Homer said AXA was working with the CII on qulaifications, but pointed out it was not only insurance qualifications that were needed.

    “In my company there will be a time when you do not get a job unless you have proven competence,” he said.

    Homer said AXA was currently talking to unions about the company's plans.

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