Last week the problem of professional organisations giving advice was addressed. This week we examine in detail what the CII believes it represents.

We had not pencilled in a sequel to last week's article from Petrina Oxshott, but the response has been such that development of the learning point is much in demand.The exercise today is to study a particular point that caused some consternation and that was CII director general Sandy Scott's view of the CII's role Let us start by looking at what Insurance Times had to say about Sandy Scott's speech made at the FSA training and competence conference"The CII must lead the way in adapting to FSA regulation," said Scott. He said the job of the CII was not just determining good practice for the industry, but was also setting standards and providing leadership. "'We are not here to maintain the status quo," said Scott. "We are not a regulator; we are a guide and a mentor. We now see our role as bringing about change and providing individuals and businesses with the tools to make those changes."So what body of opinion is the CII seeking to represent? The industry, CII members, those firms authorised by the FSA or individuals working for authorised firms.The fact is that the CII can really speak only for its members and it can only be claimed to be defining a body of opinion if it seeks opinions from its members. For example, if the CII wants to give guidance on what a broker member should do, it should seek the opinions of all broker members and not just say the four largest brokers in the land.One could be cynical and say that if the CII sees its role as "bringing about change and providing individuals and business with the tools to make those changes" then this is no more than a sales pitch to sell product to non-members.On the other hand, one could consider Sandy Scott's "vision" and determine that it would be a very good thing to have this guidance and mentoring.The reality is that if the CII wants to undertake this role within the industry then it must change its membership criteria and, above all, establish faculties that stand above the CII executive and council to define standards of practice for the different areas of the industry.A key learning point today is the CII charter itself. This can be seen at thecii/charter_bye_laws.pdf.In particular see paragraph 3 (a) and paragraph 3 (c)Paragraph 3 (a) is important as it establishes that the charter extends to promotion of efficiency and improvement of practice to non-membersParagraph 3 (c) highlights the acquisition of expert opinion (which I would suggest means an expert on a particular subject, area or parish of the insurance community).It is my firm opinion that if Scott wants the CII to set standards of practice, in evidential terms, these can apply only to the voluntary members of the institute.Can you imagine a member of Biba (a corporate entity), being given guidance by Biba which conflicts with that given by the CII. Of course the Biba guidance will prevail as evidence of market practice as would be the guidance of say the IIB as it relates to its members.Realistically the CII can achieve the stated goal if four things happen:

  • It increases individual membership
  • It adopts corporate membership
  • It allies itself intimately with other representative bodies
  • It creates an independent faculty of broker experts with a representative from each "broker parish"
  • And, having done that, the institute will have to demonstrate that it has sufficient members in each area to do justice to its claim to be representing the body of opinion.Personally I am a great supporter of Scott. His vision has considerable merit, but he will need the support of practitioners and other representative bodies if it is to get off the ground. Ideally, he needs a champion for the four changes bullet pointed above, ideally from within the CII.The exercise this week is to compile a list of top ten "broker parishes" that you think should be represented on the panel of a broker faculty. (for example, Lloyd's broker). Remember that a parish must have very clear boundaries and its own definable market practice that is in some material way, at variance to another parish. Send your ideas to ruylopezuk@btopenworld and we will consider the answers next week.Finally on this, a number of readers have said that they have become a member of the CII simply to take exams and have no other interest in the CII. What is their position?From personal experience, I will be blunt and say that any practitioner is somewhat short sighted in taking this view as membership of the CII has numerous benefits.But if (and I understand this is very common on the life side) the only reason you are a member of the CII is to take exams and hold a certificate, you should check with the CII if you are required to comply with any rules. If you do not so comply you need to check whether you might be liable to disciplinary action. There is nothing worse for credibility than being accused of negligence and it being established that you are a member of a professional body and you have never read the rules or code of conduct.

    Last week we posed this riddle.XYZ client insures a vacant factory with ABC insurer. It has been insured for two years and mid term ABC advises the broker that it no longer insures vacant property and is coming off risk in 7 days. On the basis of market practice, what should the broker do? There are 20 other properties on the schedule and a 30-day cancellation clause.Some excellent responses. Let us leave you with another question:Can the insurer come off risk in seven days if there is a 30-day cancellation clause?

  • Robin Wood is managing director of RW Associates
  • 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.To download a PDF of this article as it appears in the magazine click here .