The CII's Matt Connell provides an update on the ongoing work of the New Generation groups
This year's New Generation projects have, more than ever before, seen the programme address the issue that is key to the CII: securing public trust.
The projects stretch from making the sector a more diverse place to work, to building trust in the way insurers use data.
The broking group has been investigating issues related to public trust specifically in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector, to see if there are differences between individuals and firms who service this sector compared to the wider profession. Its work is based on a sector-wide survey and in-depth interviews. The group has also drawn on the CII's public trust index to gain insights from consumer research. Its work will provide a rich insight into what brokers can do to build trust in the profession -- and will be a valuable resource for insurance professionals for years to come.
The claims group has researched a specific component of public trust in insurance -- perceptions on use of data. With individuals sharing more personal data than ever before when comparing, buying and renewing products, the group wanted to find out more about how customers believe their data is used by insurers, with a particular emphasis on those who have recently been through the process of making a claim.
Looking beyond legal definitions of good and bad practice, the group looked at the emotional aspects of data handling, asking consumers what they are comfortable with and what they find unsettling about data use. It will then use this information to publish a piece of work that will engage with negative perceptions around data use and explain in plain language how customers' data can be used for their benefit.
The underwriting group has researched how perceptions of the sector have changed in recent years. Members were asked how long they have worked in the sector, recalling how they felt when they started their careers, before comparing how they view the sector now. Covering topics such as learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing, the group hopes to publish a report that will help insurers recognise where they can support their staff more fully throughout their careers.
The work of the underwriting group was hugely topical, given the interest the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken in the conduct of financial services companies as employers; and the links it has made between issues like harassment and bullying, and poor consumer outcomes. As Nausicaa Delfas, executive director of international at the FCA, has said: "An emerging theme in the last year or so has been non-financial misconduct, such as serious personal misbehaviour, bullying, sexual discrimination or sexual misconduct in the workplace. This type of serious misbehaviour is toxic to a working environment and can lead to bad outcomes for customers, staff, stakeholders and the firm."
Much of the commentary about non-financial conduct in the insurance sector has been based on anonymous sources and focused on the worst abuses. The work of the underwriting group aims to produce a more balanced view of the experience of professionals, while continuing to look for areas in which improvements can be made.
The London market group has been looking at the viability of introducing an internship for people with autism in the insurance sector, drawing on insights from the insurance sector and from charities
The London market group's work has focused on the experiences of one very specific group of potential employees in insurance -- people with autism. There have recently been initiatives to create programmes to support people with autism at global companies like Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble.
The London market group has been looking at the viability of introducing an internship for people with autism in the insurance sector, drawing on insights from within the sector and from charities. This is an important and very sensitive area, and the London market group has been working patiently and carefully to produce a set of proposals that are viable and fully reflect the needs of all involved. Part of the group's work has included a presentation of its plans to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Insurance, cementing the status of the New Gen group among key policymakers as an important and vibrant source of new and challenging thinking.
During recent years, the New Gen programme has consistently confronted difficult issues and laid out a path for the sector to follow in improving standards and winning public trust. This year has built on this track record, demonstrating the appetite among future leaders in the profession to take on tough ethical challenges and find practical solutions to important problems.
Dr Matt Connell is director of policy and public affairs at the CII