Willis Towers Watson Network's Sara Fardon explains how Networks Chartered status supports and encourages its Network Members to attain similar recognition in their own right
In its 20th anniversary year, Willis Towers Watson Networks is very proud to be a Chartered insurance broker network and knows what it takes to achieve this. The network continues to support and encourage its Network Members to attain similar recognition in their own right and enjoy the pride and benefits that come from such attainment.
Recognition of achievement is a powerful motivator for an individual, which instils pride and benefits for all. When a company achieves, the effect is multiplied by the team within. From a Blue Peter badge through to achieving Chartered status, the actual award is the culmination of a journey that required effort, dedication and expertise to gain that status. The pride that comes with the attainment creates a great positive vibe, both in the individual and within the wider company.
In our fast-paced, increasingly regulated environment, the demonstration of expertise is a key differentiator that clients seek when looking for advice. The badge of honour that shouts 'Chartered' is an obvious signpost of expertise in both the individual and company and elevates you in the client's mind straight away. And if having Chartered accreditation ever becomes the minimum requirement to be able to give advice to clients, then if you have not already been investing in your staff and your business, you may not be able to remain in the game, no matter how experienced you are.
"Chartered status is the demonstration that we invest in our staff to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to deliver the best client advice they can." -Alan Richardson, director, Collingwood Richardson & Company
The Insurance Distribution Directive and Senior Managers & Certification Regime both put training and development at the heart of ongoing success. If a broker is not investing in their staff, how can they deliver the best advice to their clients? Times change, skillsets need to be relevant and access to training has changed dramatically. We are now in the era of webinars, podcasts and vlogs, small bitesize chunks of learning that can be done anywhere, any time. The more formal classroom style still has its place, but when time is money, engagement with mobile 24/7 learning provision is growing exponentially.
The CII's own research report, The Future of Commercial Insurance Broking, highlighted the changes the broker of today will need to undertake to be the successful broker of 2027. There will be a greater focus on risk management-led professional advice for clients. They will seek reassurance and comfort that the advice they are receiving is appropriate for their business. Cost -- while still very important -- will be more a secondary concern. Brokers that are not adapting and embracing this change will simply not prosper in the future, but those who do invest in the skills and ongoing development of their staff will.
LEADING THE WAY
"Chartered status demonstrates our commitment to being at the forefront of our profession -- a leader not a follower -- ensuring we know what best meets our clients' needs." -Dan Maloney, managing director, Champion Insurance Brokers
Willis Towers Watson Networks was the first UK network to attain Chartered insurance broker status. Having done this gives a unique insight into what it has taken to get there and the benefits this achievement creates.
Willis Towers Watson Networks earned its Chartered standard in 2011 and remains a staunch advocate of the highest professional standards in our profession. It encourages and supports its Network Members in many staff development opportunities, including achieving Chartered insurance broker status, which to date has been attained by about 20% of its membership. Facilitating access to training and development is a cornerstone of Willis Towers Watson Networks' proposition and is provided by its own business school. This delivers qualifying continuing professional development (CPD) courses via various mediums, including traditional classroom learning, webinars, podcasts and other regional and national events. The benefits are that training can fit around work commitments and the quality of such work is enhanced by these ongoing training opportunities. A win-win situation.
The increasing use of technology within our profession is also changing the way we run and develop our own businesses in all aspects of working -- from delivery of risk advice to clients and general interaction with them, to how we learn and develop staff skillsets and knowledge to meet the needs of the customer. Willis Towers Watson Networks has invested in emerging technologies (such as MyAlexsys, MyBroker, MyAcquire, MyLearning), and has combined these innovations with relevant, accessible training to give its network members a key advantage in winning and retaining business.
As regulation continues to bear down on our profession, creating unique selling points and pushing your expertise in a crowded and ever-more knowledgeable client marketplace needs as much help as you can give it. The security and peace of mind that a client receives from knowing their adviser is at the top of their profession is key to both winning and retaining business.
Sara Fardon is managing director of Willis Towers Watson Networks