How much of that training you do is actually required? Kate Foreman looks at ways to help you stop throwing away your money

Most brokers, when asked, will say they do staff training. This demonstrates good intentions, but the question is always, how much of that training is actually required, and how do you decide who needs it?

To avoid throwing your time and money away, the answer is to devise a robust training needs analysis programme (TNA). Good TNA material is not difficult to design or find because it simply assesses what an individual needs to know, understand, or apply to a job to be compliant and competent. The basic stages are:


  • Decide what knowledge is needed for the job
  • Check the knowledge and understanding (multiple choice questions or face to face)
  • Check the application skills
  • Analyse strengths and weaknesses of individuals and employees as a group
  • Design or buy in training material

    Using the example of Trader's Combined Insurance, consider how, as a broker, you might source the training.

    To remind you, here is a list of the types of insurance that might be included in a typical business combined insurance: fire, theft, business interruption, liability (public, employers' products), professional indemnity (directors and officers, E&O), fidelity, personal accident and money.

    You must be absolutely clear that before any of these sections can be added to a business combined insurance upon which the individual may give unsupervised advice to the customer, the individual advising must be deemed competent in the specific subject.

    It is important to split training analysis into two areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Application of knowledge and understanding with customers.
    Within these areas, the subjects are broken into subsections, in order to consider each area thoroughly. These sections cover the following areas:

  • The GISC Codes (or whatever regulatory rules may be in force at the time)
  • The relevant law
  • Technical
  • Products
  • Firm specific requirements

    It is important to realise that you must ensure that the underpinning knowledge is thorough, but equal emphasis must be given to ensuring that the individual is able to apply that knowledge when with a customer.

    Don't forget that at this stage, you are simply ascertaining what your staff do and do not know, and whether or not they can apply that knowledge competently with customers.

    Most brokers will need to consider training for both the Private and Commercial Codes. But the danger with learning the Codes `parrot fashion' is that it can then become difficult to apply the rules in varied situations.

    You will need to draw up a list relative to the products in question and understand to what extent insurance contracts are governed by legislation. Contact the CII for details of relevant publications and make use of the major trade associations for any guidance they have.

    The Relevant law
    Just a glance at the list of types of insurance will indicate that there is a range of legal matters that will have to be studied. Where appropriate, employees will require knowledge and understanding of the principles of:

  • indemnity,
  • insurable interest,
  • utmost good faith,
  • contribution,
  • average,
  • subrogation / relevant principles,
  • the Data Protection Act,
  • Money laundering,
  • the law of agency.

    Employees will also need to know and understand the law applicable to certain lines of business in which they are engaged (for example, the Rehabilitation of Offenders, Disability Discrimination, Race Relations, Marine Insurance and Road Traffic Acts) and any relevant aspects of common law.

    Technical
    You need to build a base of knowledge. CII text books are still the authoritative publications at most levels of knowledge but others will become available as the regulatory T&C regime matures. Ongoing supervision can only be achieved in a competent manner if there is speedy access to reference material.

    Above all, be realistic! Business Combined Insurance involves learning about a range of different types of cover, and to be a competent broker, staff and agents are going to need to know a fair bit about each of them before they can advise customers.

    Products
    A key requirement of the GISC Commercial Code is that a broker can advise a client on the relative merits and costs of the various products in the market that might suit that client's needs. It is perhaps better, therefore, that rather than describe a product (which might be the case for a practitioner working for one provider) that a broker is asked to highlight the difference between two or three similar products in the market.

    Do not limit yourself to textbooks. Broking staff need to be up to date and market aware, so enlist the help of the providers in providing you with specimen policies and literature. Insurers may also be keen for your staff to be trained by them in relation to their own products. This is fine but beware of the indoctrination! If the training is GISC accredited, it should prove to be of a generic nature.

    Firm specific requirements
    Think long and hard about what you want to have included in the training. This could be very much your chance to instigate practices that you have wanted for ages but never really had the time or resources to implement. Regulation is forcing you into training and good business practices - this may be the opportunity you've been waiting for!

    Question 1
    There is a good reason for not buying training materials before carrying out a TNA. It is:

    a.Why buy training materials anyway when you have expert in-house knowledge?

    b.You can't accurately identify what training is required until you have completed a TNA

    c.Most training materials are irrelevant.

    Question 2
    It is essential that you build a reference library in your firm because:

    a.It's cheaper than buying in formal training

    b.Employees then have no excuse not to look things up

    c.Staff need to have immediate access to knowledge on a day to day basis

    Question 3

    Which of the following must be trained and assessed?

    a.The GISC Codes (or whatever regulatory rules may be in force at the time)

    b.The relevant law

    c.Technical

    d.Products

    e.All of the above

    This week's CPD is by Kate Foreman, co-author of the Broker Toolkit. For further information on the Toolkit, contact Catherine Wallace at catherine@instimes.co.uk. The CPD page is edited by The Training Design Studio, 0208 481 3933.

    How to use CPD
    This free Insurance Times reader service is intended to help you improve your skills and understanding from the comfort of your office or home. All you have to do is read the text and answer the multiple-choice questions. The answers will appear in next week's issue.

    Why CPD is important
    The Financial Services National Training Organisation (FSNTO)'s mission is to improve the quality and skills of the workforce as a fundamental requirement for the sustainable competitiveness of the industry. We fully support the practice of continuing professional development (CPD) as a major contributor to achieving this aim. Many people across the sector are required to undertake CPD by virtue of the work they do or the professional body to which they belong, but everyone can benefit from continuing to develop their knowledge and skills.