After years of hard work I became a Chartered Insurance Broker in August last year after completing my Advanced Diploma in Insurance. It’s been a long process: along the way I completed a Certificate (2008) and Diploma (2012). I also joined our local insurance institute and served as its President (2013-14). I became a Chartered Insurance Broker within a day or two of passing my Advanced Diploma, a goal of mine for some years.
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has long put forward Chartered status as the “Gold Standard” for the those working in the insurance industry. To become a Chartered Insurance Broker requires a person to work in the industry for 5 years, complete a Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Insurance and carry out sufficient CPD over a 5-year period, along with an agreement to continue to do so.
But what does this all mean? Does it mean more than just a few more letters after my name, and a fancy title? I think it does.
It means I want to do a better job for my clients – I want to give the best advice that I can, and I want to avoid making mistakes from a lack of knowledge. I’ve sat exams, or completed coursework on, claims handling, insurance broking, insurance law, property insurance, business interruption and even insurance corporate management. All this has given me technical knowledge and also general knowledge about how organisations are governed and financed and so forth – all really useful in helping me understand my clients.
It means I’ve taken the time to make myself into a better insurance broker, with a wider understanding of our industry. It means I can better appreciate the position of underwriters, and try to negotiate mutually beneficial terms for both the insurers and the policyholders (and me – it is how I generate my income after all!).
It means I can prove to people I’ve only just met that I know what I’m talking about. Sure, there are many brokers that know what they’re doing, and many won’t have professional qualifications – this means it’s harder for them to prove their ability. After all, that is the point of these qualifications and professional memberships – they are a third party endorsement of your experience and/or knowledge.
What does it mean for my clients? Firstly, let me ask a question: why wouldn’t you deal with a Chartered Insurance Broker? We don’t charge you any more than a non-Chartered broker, we do the same work, arrange the same policies and have the same objectives. However, you have the knowledge that you’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re talking about, and can do more for you than just arrange a policy. We can help you with claims and risk management, we can help you build up your organisation’s resilience to adverse events. We can give you more.
So, what’s next?
Well, I’ve already enrolled on the CII’s Fellowship programme, and have started working through their business ethics course. We’re also looking at getting the firm Chartered, a further endorsement of the quality of what we do – keep your eyes peeled for further developments!