The CII stand was as busy as I can ever remember, showing the value of being able to meet members
Being born and bred in Coventry, it was great to attend and exhibit at Broker Expo 2021 at the newly named Coventry Building Society Stadium.
For me – perhaps like many across the profession – this was the first face-to-face conference I had attended since early 2020.
The CII’s Society of Mortgage Professionals had been present at both Mortgage Expo events in Leeds and London in previous months, but this was the first insurance broking event the CII had exhibited at for some time.
Covid-19 protocols were in place on arrival, which took no time at all with staff and attendees being fully professional, courteous and respectful – just as I would expect from our profession.
There was a fantastic array of more than 80 exhibitors, a true sign of the passion there is to make sure we provide the service those working in insurance are looking for.
The CII stand was as busy as I can ever remember, showing the value of being able to meet members, answer questions, advise on different ways to meet their needs, discuss options available and get valuable feedback on what the CII is doing.
It was also great to meet the firms we work with already, as well as new firms interested to hear more about how the CII Group offer support to businesses.
Adam Smith, premier broker at JCB Insurance Services, told me: “Having the CII exhibit at Broker Expo was so valuable as it gave me the opportunity to speak to the team directly, discuss how our business is expanding and talk about how the CII could work with us as we do so.”
It was also a pleasure to meet face to face with individuals and firms that have achieved Chartered status. Mark Read, marketing manager at Chartered broker RK Henshall Insurance Brokers, said: “Understanding what more is available from the CII to help us promote our Chartered status was the reason I visited the CII stand. It is great to be able to talk things through at these events, to get a better understanding and have a point of contact.”
The atmosphere at the event was excellent, with professionals very happy to be meeting old friends and making new contacts.
Early on the agenda was a session entitled ‘The Evolution of Reputational Management’, where our very own professional standards director Melissa Collet was on the panel, in a vibrant discussion where many direct questions were asked, which always results in good debate both during and after the session.
During the day, we spoke to many members about a wide range of subjects including exams, remote invigilation, mentoring, apprenticeships and CPD events, as well as how the CII supports firms looking to recruit new staff and how firms can maximise the use of Broker Assess.
Following the introduction of the Insurance Distribution Directive, members were keen to understand how the CII is evolving to provide further support around compliance. Findings of the CII’s Shaping the future together consultation will be shared in 2022, but at the event we received feedback that members see a need for professional recognition for individuals working in compliance in insurance, as their number is growing all the time.
There was also discussion of the challenges around how we further develop our ethical training programme. Attendees wanted to know when we are planning to do that, if we are looking at different levels of training for different roles and how will that vary from a new entrant to insurance versus those in more senior positions.
In response, I was able to say that the work the CII Group has been doing during the past 18 months on the development of a ‘Professional Map’ for the sector will have a huge positive impact on everyone working in insurance and financial services. Again, this is something we look forward to sharing with the wider market in 2022 and if your firm wants to talk about that more, please do get in touch.
I hope those that visited the CII stand at Broker Expo got answers to the questions they asked, along with reassurance that the feedback they gave would make it back to head office. Overall, it was great that our members once again had the opportunity to meet us and get the information and guidance they wanted.
For more information on CII events, visit: www.cii.co.uk/cii-events
Steve Aspinall is market development director of the CII