Building public trust and confidence is the insurance sector's greatest challenge, says CII
25 Apr, 2013
According to a report published today by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), looking at the role the general insurance (GI) profession plays in protecting the public interest, the GI sector has already taken major strides – both collectively as a sector and individually as firms – to improve standards, as demonstrated by the Aldermanbury Declaration. However, the report stresses the importance of the profession not resting on its laurels and instead driving its own destiny.
The report, ‘Upon the door of every cottage: Protecting the public through general insurance’, is the CII’s contribution to this public debate, setting out a range of frank and considered views by stakeholders to challenge the market norms in order to stimulate general insurance initiatives and fresh thinking to meet the public interest challenges of the future.
Despite those continuing efforts to raise standards in professionalism, the sector needs to address issues of concern such as the referral fees debacle and the collateral damage from the banking crisis generally.
With this in mind building trust and confidence in the public is the profession’s greatest challenge and initiatives such as the Aldermanbury Declaration and Chartered status means the general insurance market is well placed to tackle this challenge.
Laurence Baxter (pictured), head of policy & research at the CII, commented: “The general insurance profession, and the sector as a whole, is on a journey towards better public trust and confidence. The essays within the CII’s report illustrate how public attitudes towards insurance are changing, and their expectations are rising. Regulatory changes point to the need for a new mindset in conduct and culture by both individuals and firms, and industry initiatives need to make this happen. In an insurance market in a changing world, it will be down to the people in the sector acting professionally to confront the issues and challenges.
“The sector faces a choice. It can take a reactive approach to the issues it faces, or it can respond with vigour and enthusiasm towards finding solution. The insurance profession has demonstrated – through initiatives like the Aldermanbury Declaration and Chartered status – that it can lead and make the changes required both for improving the sector and the public interest.”
 On 4 March 2010, the Insurance Profession Task Force published the Aldermanbury Declaration. The Task Force, chaired by CII president Barry Smith, comprised senior general insurance sector figures, shaped a common framework for professional standards. It commits signatory firms (insurers and brokers) to meet professional standards, training and development. See www.cii.co.uk/aldermanburydeclaration
 Winston Churchill: “If I had my way, I would write the word ‘insure’ upon the door of every cottage and upon the blotting book of every public man. Because I am convinced, for sacrifices so small, families and estates can be protected against catastrophes which would otherwise smash them up forever.” Speech in Manchester, 23 May 1909.