Newly elected vice-president of the CII’s local institutes, David Ross, reveals his plans to develop the network
What is your background in the profession?
Mainly commercial insurance and personal lines. I began life as an underwriter and moved into business development. I then entered more strategic work when I became a managing director at a niche insurance business nearly 20 years ago.
Since then, my interest has been at board level, either within executive or non-executive roles.
Tell us about your involvement with the local institutes?
I have always been a member of the network and love the networking opportunities that membership provides. Throughout my career I have moved around the UK a lot and have found that being able to attach yourself to a local institute is a great way to make new friends, new business contacts and to familiarise yourself with the local market.
Prior to becoming vice-president, I was president of the Leeds Institute three times. I have also enjoyed roles as education secretary, secretary and acted as member of the council. I enjoy the camaraderie and satisfaction that delivering these propositions to members and the community brings.
What is your vision for the local institute network?
I believe we need a framework that has some common pillars to it. One of the key pillars I want to build my vision around is consistency. I want all the local institutes to be able to provide a consistent member experience, whether that is for a member of a big institute in London or Manchester, or of a smaller institute in Luton
The second pillar is delivering great value to members. I want members to feel that the subscription they commit to each year provides real value for money. Modernisation is key to this – as a profession, we are often criticised unfairly for being archaic and out of reach to the younger generation. I want to create a theme of modernisation to ensure we are really reaching members at all ages and stages of their career, while engaging with them in a way that works for them.
The final pillars are collaboration and education. In the long term, I would like the local institutes to build stronger relationships with the CII’s societies. Both the societies and local institutes must collaborate effectively to educate one another and in turn create an even better support programme for members.
How will you work with the CII to develop the network?
Continuing to communicate clearly with the main stakeholders in the CII is key during the next 12 months. I want to continue to represent the voice of the local institutes with the CII’s decision-makers, to help to shape the CII offering available to our members locally. To date, the CII and local institutes have been extremely open with one another and frequency of communication has been excellent.
This is a great platform and continuing on this path will help deliver results for developing the network further. I see part of my role as being to help the CII better understand how it can help the local institutes, as well as recognise what kind of form that help will take.
Why should members engage with their local institute?
Firstly, the local institutes have a strong member value proposition. One of the great benefits of membership is that it provides access to an extensive programme of CPD material, either for qualification needs or to enable businesses to meet regulatory requirements. Engagement with the local institutes and this CPD programme is a quick, easy and enjoyable way to achieve those objectives.
Outside of that, the local institutes play a key role in acting as a mechanism to bring the whole of the local insurance community together. From that point of view, it is really important that members engage with their local institutes and see them as facilitators for key networking opportunities within the profession. It is great to see that there is also an enjoyable dimension to engaging with the local institutes.
Bobbi Sills is communications executive of the CII