A number of industry associations joined forces to form the Short Term Insurance Human Capital Development Steering Committee. The purpose is to oversee and drive the professional standards of the South African short-term insurance industry.
Associations included in the committee are the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA), the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA), the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA), Munich Reinsurance, Etana and the Financial Services Board (FSB).
The committee has identified the following issues as the most urgent to be addressed:
- To develop a set of professional standards which all CEO’s can sign as a committed indication of their intent to drive professionalism across the industry;
- To establish the facts regarding scarce and critical skills in the short-term insurance industry;
- To analyse the gaps in curriculum content against critical and scarce skills in the industry;
- To create an overarching ‘new entrants methodology’ to attract the youth of SA to a career in Short Term Insurance.
David Harpur, CEO of IISA, will chair the committee supported by SAIA as the secretariat. Two working groups have been established, namely Research and Qualifications, both of which will be chaired by Charmaine Koch of IISA. Any input regarding the committee can be sent to project manager, Reginald Charles, at: Reginald@saia.co.za.
From the media release, summarised above, it is evident that all sectors, including brokers, insurers, underwriters, re-insurers and suppliers to the insurance claims process will be included in the plans of this forum.
The wide spectrum of associations involved, including the regulator, is a very welcome initiative. We recently saw the first signs of acknowledgment that a one-size-fits-all approach is untenable when certain licence categories were exempted from the level one regulatory exams. We trust that further changes along industry sectors will follow.
A body of this nature, working in conjunction with the authorities and representative bodies, will be in a very strong position to negotiate practical changes for the benefit of the industry and consumers.
Striving for higher professional standards on a voluntary basis, rather than having it imposed on one through legislation, will be far more acceptable to the industry.
Those who initiated this incentive need to be commended. We wish them all the best in their endeavours.