New CII president Nick Turner tells Luke Holloway why trust is the ultimate goal that all in the insurance sector should be striving for.
Being part of NFU Mutual, which has developed from its farming roots into a broad-based insurer, Nick Turner is used to growing business around the rural parts of the UK. But in his new role as CII president, what Mr Turner is most interested in cultivating is trust.
"The theme for my presidency is trust and I feel there are four constituent parts to trust -- benevolence, integrity, competence and predictability.
"It really would be fantastic during my tenure to encourage people to always be thinking about how they can make a small contribution around each of those four aspects, helping consumers trust us more as
a profession so they feel safer and better protected."
Mr Turner has a strong history with the Institute, having served as president of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) in 2016 after six years on the PFS board.
"My career has been a combination of general insurance and financial services, and I have been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work in both vibrant sectors," he says.
"After my PFS presidency, I felt there was so much more I had to give. During my time there, I was asked to sit on the CII board as an observer and looking on, I couldn't help but want to get more involved.
"CII and PFS members have two very distinct roles within our industry as a whole, doing quite different things but both helping consumers achieve their life goals and aspirations. Having worked on both the insurance and financial services sides of our profession, the thing that is so important is trust. Whatever we do, however we operate, ensuring that we can be trusted and we are worthy of the consumers' trust is key."
My hope is that people can truly see what a positive difference this industry makes and how much the people that work within it get out of the joy of insurance
Since beginning in insurance in 1985 at Sun Life -- later to become Axa -- Mr Turner is still amazed by the skill, creativity and talent of the people working right across the sector.
"Every single day I come across people who impress me with their knowledge, diligence and expertise," he says. "It is such a vibrant profession; you come across so many smart and capable individuals. It is a pleasure to work with these people and get to hear their slant on how we can work better.
"Whether you are in broking, manufacturing, legal, claims or independent financial advice, there is so much fantastic complexity, all constructed for the benefit of customers so they can control their risk and live their lives.
"Whether that is living to a grand old age without running out of money or making sure that nothing costs you your livelihood, we all play our own expert part in making that a reality."
New talent is something else Mr Turner says is essential to the industry. His theme as PFS president was apprenticeships and, while young blood coming into the profession is a huge part of that, he feels bringing people in at all ages is important, as is creating and promoting modern and relevant career paths.
"The role of the CII is to do two things -- highlight opportunities, especially where there is support and help from government or community, but also to create learning paths so when people enter the industry fresh, they can follow a path through to competence.
"We have to continually work on embracing new learning styles and lead the way with how people learn today.
"We have probably had a difficult job in the past of helping people fully understand the potential that either side of our profession has to change people's lives. My hope is that people can truly see what a positive difference this industry makes and how much the people that work within it get out of the joy of insurance."
Despite the uncertainty the UK currently faces around Brexit, Mr Turner is confident the insurance industry will deal with whatever outcome occurs. He does, however, believe the absence of clarity is an anxiety for many customers.
"As a profession we need to make sure that when change occurs, our cover and financial plans are as close as possible to the revised needs of our customers as and when they become clear.
"There will be opportunities for the insurance profession as a whole, but also risk. If our strategy is not at the very cutting edge of developments, we may see our customers getting outcomes they didn't expect."
Which brings us back to Mr Turner's core message around trust -- being there for customers in times of uncertainty to offer guidance and make sure what matters to them most is protected.
"Our profession is changing and there are new challenges we will have to face together. But most importantly, we need to work hard to build and maintain the trust that consumers place in us and help them feel reassured that their trust is well founded."
Nick is sales & agency director at NFU Mutual, responsible for developing life and general insurance business. He also sits on the NFU Mutual board.
He joined NFU Mutual in 2013 from Axa, where he was managing director of intermediary & partnerships in personal lines.
Nick's career in insurance and financial services stretches back more than 33 years, largely in the field of life and wealth management.
Luke Holloway is editor at the CII