Training and development
The quality of professional training is high: more than half of respondents rated the training they had received as either very good or excellent, and all companies except one were supportive of career development and training.
However, only a few organisations provided their new employees with introductory courses to the industry, and many respondents admitted they would have appreciated a crash course of some sort when they first started. “A ‘Welcome to Insurance, this is how it works’: it’s almost so basic that nobody thinks this would be beneficial,” explained one, “but I had no idea how policies are quoted for, made or sold when I first started and it took a long time to fully understand this.”
Nearly half of the respondents had completed relevant training, whether for chartered qualifications or product-related courses, and one-third were currently in training for the cert CII, dip CII or ACII. A few were studying for actuarial, legal or financial exams.
Exactly two-thirds of those who had been in the industry for a short while had the ACII or FCII status as their aim and had given themselves up to five years to reach their goal. However, of the young insurers who had been in insurance for nearly 10 years, less than a quarter had actually achieved this status, which raises question marks over whether the industry is encouraging enough and allowing adequate time to study.
When I grow up, I want to be…
There are some fantastic role models in insurance and the young insurers were quick to praise the people they looked up to. Steven Catlin [CEO of XL Group], Michelle Taylor [account director at RSA], Peter Smithdale [head of corporate property at Aviva], Cathy Garner [head of life at ANV], Inga Beale [CEO of Lloyd’s], Amanda Blanc [CEO of Axa, commercial lines], Geoff Godwin [COO of AIG], and John Roberts [senior liability handler at LV] are all to be congratulated for standing as professional role models admired by the insurance youth of today.
Those outside the industry have some influence too: entrepreneurial Richard Branson, Baronness Karen Brady and motivational speaker Vanessa Vallely were also named.
The ‘most encouraging professionally’ accolade would go to the many named managers and senior bosses: almost half of those interviewed offered either their current or previous boss as the most encouraging person to them professionally, a positive sign that managers are taking their responsibilities seriously.
One respondent described their manager as “always saying I should go meet with this person to find out more about this or that, and she’s got this wealth of knowledge and is always giving me pointers as to what to do”. Another young insurer admires their boss who always backs up the team if there is a problem but also encourages them “to get on with their daily job and if there is any issue obviously to raise them as and when as they arise”.
With managers taking first place in this category, senior management and parents shared joint-second and the young insurers came across as genuinely surprised in the interest expressed by senior managers in their development. One young insurer explained: “These people are really high up and I wouldn’t blame them for not knowing my name! They encourage me to want to push myself and get to where they are.”
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