The CII is to lobby for the inclusion of an insurance examination in the national curriculum, leading to either a GCSE or A-level qualification.

The idea will be part of the CII's strategic plan fo ...

The CII is to lobby for the inclusion of an insurance examination in the national curriculum, leading to either a GCSE or A-level qualification.

The idea will be part of the CII's strategic plan for 2004 and will involve lobbying the industry and the Department of Education.

CII director general Sandy Scott said: "All the reviews, such as Pickering, Sandler, the Tiner project and the numerous FSA consultation papers have put forward a remit on consumer understanding.

"I see it starting at the primary school level and working through a whole generation, as it were, because of the time pressures of the national curriculum and timeframes of having the teachers available to teach it."

The CII already publishes 60 textbooks on industry-related subjects and Scott feels confident it can publish simple texts based on the traditional children's Ladybird format.

"We can provide Jack and Jill-style information that school kids can play with and IT interaction allowing them to understand IT literacy, numeracy and then put financial education into that process," he said.

FirstAssist chief executive Tim Ablett said: "I would support anything that raises the bar in terms of professionalism in the insurance industry. Anything to prove that this industry is anything but boring."

Norwich Union director of intermediary business Ken Wallace called it a "bold adventure", but wondered whether there would "ever be a massive take-up" for a pure insurance discipline.

But the scheme was given an endorsement by a primary school head, who suggested general insurance products would fit into the "citizenship curriculum".

"This is currently taught at key stage three. That is early years at secondary school. A key stage two citizenship is being developed for older primary school children and something could fit in there.

"The opportunity for your industry at the moment is for insurance to be taught to year six primary school children after they have taken their early summer SATS and before they leave primary for secondary school," she said.

At Strategy 2002 last year, Allianz Cornhill chief executive Andrew Torrance called for better skills and education in the industry. He said: "I think it is a commendable idea and excellent for the over 16 year-olds. But it should be taught as a more vocational course to encourage people to be more financially aware."