Keeping up to date with industry knowledge is key to a practitioners competence, but how relevant should that knowledge be. Petrina Oxshott explains

To download a PDF of this article as it appears in the magazine click here .This week we have a couple of quizzes which you should attempt before you read the rest of the article.

Quiz 11) How long did the Hundred Years War last?2) Which country makes Panama hats?3) From which animal do we get catgut?4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?6) The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal?7) What was King George VI's first name? 8) What colour is a purple finch?9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airliner?How did you get on? The answers are at the end of this article. Now answers these questions:a) Do you think you could set a standard which is acceptable for your staff?b) Does it matter?c) "What", you may ask, "has this test got to do with my job?"I suspect the answers are: a) No; b) No; c) Nothing.Now try this one: (Questions courtesy of CII Financial ASSESS)

Quiz 21) What is the alternative name for flexible trusts? 2) What is the maximum number of trustees for a trust that holds land? 3) What is the normal term for the individual who creates a trust?4) Joan will only benefit from a trust established by her father if she is predeceased by her mother. What type of beneficiary is Joan?5) What type of interest do the beneficiaries have in trust property?Now answer the same questions again:a) Do you think you could set a standard which is acceptable for your staff?b) Does it matter?c) "What", you may ask, "has this test got to do with my job?"I suspect the answers are still: a) No; b) No; c) Nothing.But does this mean that the exercise and the learning has no value?What we do know is that if it has nothing to do with your job then the assessment is not of competence to do your job. Indeed it is quite likely that most readers had great difficulty getting more than one or two correct answers.So could either be classed as CPD? The first quiz probably always presents a negative to this question – it is fun but of little use in our work or indeed in our industry. But the second quiz is a different matter. It is very much related to personal development in a world that constantly involves us with trusts. Whether we know it or not trusts are important in the insurance industry. For example consider:

  • Pension trusts
  • Personal trusts
  • Trust property
  • Insurable interest of parties
  • Contracting parties.
  • So whether or not knowledge and understanding of a subject is part of our job specification – and therefore part of job competence – or whether knowledge and understanding of a subject is part of personal development in and for the industry and our careers, it meets the CPD test.Let us assume that neither you nor your staff fared well in Quiz 2. But suppose 50% are interested in the subject and would like to know and understand the basics of trusts and how they relate to the insurance of property. Hey presto, you have a ready-made and valid structured CPD exercise. This could be limited to reading or you could make inquiries about training sessions that might be available (contact your trade association or Rod Davies at CII for advice).And before we leave the subject entirely, I take the view that CPD can be fun and that a spattering of anarchy is not a bad thing so Quiz 1 gets my vote, but perhaps as the grapefruit sorbet before the main course.We were contacted this week by Fiona Andrews, manager of the new Faculty of Claims and we have negotiated a series of learning pieces from some of the industries leading claims experts over the next few months.It is worth remembering that a broker has a duty to assist customers with claims. The threat of legal action over claims must seriously concern any practitioner. If a claim is rejected by an insurer, or a customer agrees to accept an amount which is lower than they are entitled to due to bad or no advice must be of grave concern to a broker. (Wash my mouth out with Domestos for suggesting that any insurer would stoop so low as to not pay what the insured was claiming).Fiona emphasised that membership of the faculty was not limited to full time claims practitioners (adjusters, assessors and claims managers) and I was staggered to find that the cost of joining for exiting CII members was only £10. My tenner is on its way and I have to recommend to all readers that if your firm has anything to do with general business, then at least one member of staff in each department who is a CII member should join.If the faculty does not keep us up to date on regulatory, market and legal issues relating to claims then we can shout at them later. But for the moment I am happy that this could be the most cost efficient way to satisfy FSA requirements to keep up to date with the market as far as claims is concerned. Email Fiona on if you want further details.Finally, our article last week emphasising the need to have a list of key people to watch and listen to for T&C purposes, spurred a number of people to point out that Waltham Pitglow did not include John Greenaway MP. Apologies to John who is of course a logical must for anyone's list.
  • Petrina Oxshott is an independent training and competence specialist
  • Answers to quiz 11) 116 years; 2) Ecuador; 3) Sheep and horses; 4) November; 5) Squirrel fur; 6) Dogs; 7) Albert; 8) Crimson; 9) New Zealand; 10) Orange.

    Answers to quiz 21) Power of appointment trusts; 2) Four; 3) Settlor; 4) Contingent beneficiary; 5) Equitable title

    Using this CPD pageFor the vast majority of practitioners and indeed support and supervisory staff in our industry, CPD is about regular learning and study that is planned, recorded, timed and evaluated. If you are a member of a professional body with a CPD requirement then there will be certain rules regarding the quality and nature of study material, and the way in which it is recorded.For staff of GISC members this means recording on your individual training file what the learning was, who provided it and when.It might be structured, such as a course, a learning programme or exam study. But it can be unstructured. This form of study encompasses reading the trade press, technical material or taking part in activities to support your professional body. Some CPD requirements are points related (a little antiquated) and others require a time value to be allocated. For example, it might take one hour to read Insurance Times each week. Most of that could be put as a time value but, in reality, perhaps only an half hour was devoted to learning something. The rule is to be honest with yourself and record the time that is relevant. Always take time to make a note of what you felt you gained from the activity. This is useful information for anyone else considering the same activity.In response to the popularity of our CPD programme each week's CPD page can now be downloaded from our website. We will be preparing a binder for you to keep these in alongside the results of the exercises.

  • This page is edited by RW Associates, a specialist in training, compliance and competence. Email:
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