Andy Homer is adamant, that with regulation coming into force next year, we have to prove our professionalism and qualifications. Training and competence is key, he says

Here we are in 2003, which means we can now talk about the onset of statutory regulation for the general insurance industry as arriving "next year". But, regardless of the detail of the changes that lie ahead, one over-arching principle that has long characterised the activity of the CII will remain constant: the need for practitioners to be competent, capable and professional.

Indeed, the role and purpose of the CII will become more significant thanks to the increased regulatory emphasis on training, qualifications and continuing professional development.

We have always argued that professional development against objective benchmarks is beneficial. In 2004, our philosophy will de facto be aligned with that of the market authorities.

Quite simply, being competent and qualified gives you the edge. It defines your relationship with the customer, never mind the regulator. It gives you standing with your peers in other professions. I implore all of our qualified members to use their chartered titles or FCII/ACII designation in their correspondence and on their business cards. You earned it - use it.

The latest regulatory thinking on this area is contained in document CP160. It states that those working in the industry must be fit for the purpose; and that managers will be personally responsible and accountable for their actions. Qualifications such as those provided by the CII support competence and raise standards at all levels and, as such, are an aid to compliance.

However, while exams play a key role by providing a recognised test of knowledge and understanding, they are not enough on their own. Companies and individuals must take responsibility to ensure that this hard won competence is not only maintained, but also enhanced.

The CII is leading the way with its revolutionary online compliance and competency system, ed. Designed to enable organisations and individuals to satisfy the regulators competency and training needs, importantly ed. also contains tools and assessment options to enable us to demonstrate that we are keeping ourselves competent.

I strongly recommend that you log on to www.ed.cii.co.uk to find out more about what ed. can offer you and your business.

Armed with ed. and with our commitment to competence and professionalism undimmed, the CII and its members can look forward to 2004 with confidence.

Andy Homer is CII president

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