Mandy Hunt tells Liz Booth how the Society of Underwriting Professionals aims to offer guidance to members in 2022
The Society of Underwriting Professionals will head into 2022 with renewed focus, aiming to work closely with underwriters to support the profession and align with the overall strategy of the CII.
Newly appointed chair Mandy Hunt, chief underwriting officer for commercial lines at RSA, admits that it has been a difficult year in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic but applauds how much the society has achieved in 2021, as well as its ambitions for 2022.
“Key for the future will be to ensure that we align our development with the same direction as the CII as a whole,” she says.
As The Journal went to press, the society was about to meet to discuss its plans for the upcoming year, and Ms Hunt says top of the list will be the Financial Conduct Authority’s new product governance guidelines, which are designed to add value for consumers.
“We will also be looking to tailor our strategy to align with the work that the CII is already doing in terms of shaping the future,” she adds.
Ms Hunt joined the society’s advisory board before being asked to chair the group, and she is keen that more members are brought onto the advisory board to gauge the widest possible range of opinions.
Diversity, she says, is crucial on such a panel and it is not just about gender but also about different age groups and backgrounds, to bring value and a different perspective to the discussions.
The way forward
Part of the society’s role is to share information and guidance across the profession.
Ms Hunt sees real value in knowledge, through articles and good practice guidance, with much of this material contributed to by advisory board members. However, she adds: “Textbooks are fundamental and essential in learning, but we should also be talking more about case studies, for example. Giving people real-life examples of what can happen and how it can best be handled is often a better way of helping them to learn and to understand the challenges that they might face.”
Ms Hunt is also keen to stress the good work already done by the society. In 2021, for example, the society was heavily involved in the Chartered Transparency Forum, as well as in the career journey and pathway work. The Chartered Transparency Forum examines ways the profession can best meet the expectations of consumers.
Members of the society have also been involved in the Shaping the future together consultation, which is designed to put the CII learning framework and membership proposition at the core of the organisation’s strategy.
As someone who has spent the past 23 years at RSA, Ms Hunt says she feels that giving back to the profession is vitally important: “I have been very lucky in my career and feel that it is time to give back. I started thinking about this three years ago and realise I am operating from a very privileged position in my career. That was why I joined the society’s board in the first place.”
She says that being asked to become chair in the middle of the pandemic was an interesting challenge but she believes the society has risen to the task very well, despite having to conduct meetings via video call rather than in person and at a time when companies were having to make massive changes to adapt to new working environments.
Ms Hunt is looking forward to 2022 and being able to help support the society as it moves forward as a key part of the wider CII.
Liz Booth is contributing editor of The Journal