< Features | 03.01.2018

Feedback loop

Feedback loop

The CII reached out to members to understand how best to bring its Strategic Manifesto to life. Cristina Biagioni looks at the key insights…

Having launched the CII Strategic Manifesto, we felt it was vital to engage with members and non-members throughout the country as we figure out how to bring the new purpose and vision to life.

During the summer, we worked with specialist research agency Ignition House and their director, Janette Weir, to uncover the opinions and expectations of many segments of the insurance sector workforce – from tech-savvy enthusiasts embarking on their careers to highly experienced owner-managers approaching their fifth decade in the profession.

In addition to some tailored questions in the member survey, this involved a series of focus groups held up and down the country.

The research generated a number of vital and thought-provoking insights, which are being used to set our priorities under each of our key strategic themes – relevant learning, engaged membership and insightful leadership – and here we share these with you.

INSURANCE IS THE ‘BEST KEPT SECRET’ IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

Is insurance a career of choice? Does it attract top talent? We heard accounts of ‘falling into’ insurance and surprise reactions from those outside the sector regarding the depth and breadth of roles and skills required. The consensus is that it is a fulfilling, rewarding career, with longevity.

As a reminder of how the industry contributes to the economy, one passionate CII member told us: “We [the industry] are a big footprint in the City but there is no recognition that we are this many people and we are contributing this much to UK GDP.”

Key insight included:

  • Outside the sector, many are ignorant to the variety of jobs and skills and of the importance of this industry both to the UK economy and internationally. There are lots of good news stories to tell.
  • We should be doing more to promote the sector to young people through greater awareness with schools and universities.

JUST EXAMS, OR SO MUCH MORE?

“Why on earth would I want to keep paying once I’ve got my Certificate?” asked a young Lloyd’s underwriter. This reflected a widespread perception that the CII is an outstanding, credible and well-established examinations body. But, especially among those new to the profession, there was at best hazy awareness of what else is on offer.

Key insight included:

  • No recollection among lapsed members of targeted communications pre- or post-qualification completion about the wider value of membership.
  • Perception that continued membership post-completion would involve onerous CPD compliance for little benefit.

HOW QUALIFICATIONS AND CPD DELIVER CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Completing CII qualifications signals commitment and can help get better paid jobs with other employers. Some questioned the impact of qualifications on future career paths and how they helped progression with current employers. Surprisingly, many who have reached the pinnacle are not actively promoting their designations.

Key insight included:

  • The fragmented nature of the industry means many do not have access to mentoring programmes – could the CII step in to fill this gap?
  • Addressing the issue of impact on future career paths, creation of a skills map would be helpful to understand how people can advance in their career. A non/lapsed member in their early career told us: “You need to know what jobs you can get once you get a qualification. They [the CII] need to show a career path for people.”

21ST CENTURY LEARNING FOR 21ST CENTURY JOBS

We have all heard the buzzwords ‘artificial intelligence’, ‘big data’ and many more. These emerging big trends will affect the sector and impact the jobs and skills that will be needed. To ensure we are fit to respond soft skills, IT skills and understanding technologies were themes suggested that we might want to consider for inclusion
in qualifications.

Key insight included:

  • Our course content is deemed to be too distant from the needs of people’s day-to-day jobs. Content needs to be adapted to reflect the changing roles and the CII is currently seen as being behind the curve on some emerging trends. Suggested areas for the CII to take more of a leading role include: cyber insurance, risk management and behavioural economics.

We also explored preferences for learning.

Key insight included:

  • The format of CII learning materials is designed for one learning style and needs to adapt to keep up with developments in the market.

A Personal Finance Society member summed up their experience by telling us: “If you’ve just come out of school and you’re in the swing of sitting your exams, it’s a lot easier. For people that are wanting to get Chartered that have been working in the industry for decades and are going back to studying, it’s really tricky.”

CORPORATE CHARTERED STATUS TO REDISCOVER ITS PURPOSE

We have come a long way since launching corporate Chartered status in 2007, however to enable corporate Chartered status to reach its full potential the CII needs to do more to promote the advantages of becoming a Chartered firm and improvements need to be made to increase the resonance with consumers and clients.

We have been on a journey of discovery over the last few months which have given us some fascinating insights that will help guide us and shape our products, services and proposition. Thank you to all of those who were involved in our focus groups or contributed to the member survey.

Cristina Biagioni is project office manager at the CII

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