First insurer to create training scheme with CII

Zurich is to drive a skills development scheme through its workforce by teaming up with the CII.

It is the first insurer to create a training scheme with the CII, and aims to provide professional qualifications for all claims, risk management, sales and underwriting employees. Employees put through the Zurich Membership Proposition (ZMP) programme will be able to achieve chartered insurer status within five years.

Bill Paton, Zurich's chief claims officer, told Insurance Times: "This is something we have been striving for. It will give our staff structured career development.

"We have developed a corporate package with the CII, which has been very responsive to our needs. There is a whole range of packages to fit a range of qualifications. With FSA compliance and corporate governance we believe this is the only way to go."

The insurer also hopes the training programme will have positive implications for staff retention as well as attracting new talent to the industry.

It comes just months after the CII launched its talent quest initiative aimed at improving the reputation of the sector by raising its profile.

"We have a problem with perceptions," Paton said. "This means we have a problem with recruiting talent. If we want to make this a more attractive place to work we need to challenge perceptions of the industry."

Lee Gladwell, CII group sales and marketing director, added: "This is a landmark scheme for the CII as well as Zurich. This commitment by Zurich is extremely encouraging and demonstrates its commitment to the highest standards of professional practice.

"Not only will this be good for their business efficiency it will also help improve the industry's reputation with the consumer and, by demonstrating clear career paths, will motivate people to come and work in our industry."