Sam Barrett gives us the lowdown on the CII's new Personal Lines Knowledge Range of training and development
Building public trust in the insurance and financial planning profession is one of the key objectives of the CII, with its members' learning and development an important part of this. To support this objective, the CII recently launched its Personal Lines Knowledge Range which includes new awards in motor, home, pet and travel insurance for individuals working in this part of the insurance market.
"Having more recently focused on developing commercial lines support there is an obvious need for us to develop our support further for the personal lines sector," says Ian Simons, marketing director of the CII. "With our goal of improving trust in insurance, we will ensure we offer learning support to those working in personal lines insurance. This is because members of the public are more likely to form their opinions of our profession as a result of their experiences with these types of insurance."
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
The learning materials are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of employees within the personal lines market. As well as simple animations and short online courses to give anyone starting out in insurance a free overview of the market and its products, there are also professionally recognised qualifications, in the form of the four Level 2 awards, for those individuals just starting out in the profession or for those that would like to develop their careers in insurance.
Achieving these awards also serves as a gateway into other qualifications offered by the CII, with completion of three of the four awards contributing towards the Certificate in Insurance. Alternatively, someone may want to go on to take the Foundation in Insurance Test (Award Level) or a more specialist module such as IF5 Motor Insurance Products (Certificate Level) or M94 Motor Insurance (Diploma Level).
Anyone involved in the distribution of insurance products can use this training towards their 15 hours of continuing professional development required under the Insurance Distribution Directive regulations. It can also be a valuable resource for employees in other roles within insurance businesses.
"Understanding how insurance works can benefit employees working in any department of an insurance company or broker, from marketing to finance and IT," says Steve Aspinall, market development director of the CII. "It can give them a better, broader understanding of what they do and how it affects customers."
Having a formal training programme is also beneficial to insurance employers. For starters, it can be used to complement an existing training programme. Indeed, one of the reasons behind the CII's decision to develop this range was demand from employers for personal lines training materials.
"A lot of employers will have their own training and development materials that focus on their products and what they do," says Mr Simons. "As a professional body, we can provide generic learning support, helping employers fill knowledge gaps and giving employees a broader understanding of the insurance market."
In addition to helping raise professional standards, offering access to a formal training programme can also help to inspire current and prospective employees. "Showing an employee that they can build a career in insurance can really help an employer attract and retain talent," adds Mr Aspinall. "This is good for the employer, the employee and the insurance profession more broadly."
Another important beneficiary of the introduction of these learning materials is the customer. As well as improvements in service as a result of dealing with insurance staff who have a better understanding of the market, the learning material has been developed to ensure that those working for personal lines providers and brokers are aware of the importance of ethical practice.
By covering regulatory requirements such as treating both customers and vulnerable customers fairly, Mr Aspinall says ethical practice will become second nature to anyone taking the training. "Those engaging with the learning will be able to ask themselves if what they are proposing is the right thing for their customers," he says. "This helps to raise standards in the insurance sector and can only lead to better customer outcomes."
To find out more, visit: www.cii.co.uk/personal-lines
Sam Barrett is a freelance journalist