Educating EC3

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David Gittings explains the role and aspirations of the new Professional Standards Committee at Lloyd's

Established in November last year, the Professional Standards Committee is the most recently formed principal committee of the Lloyd's Market Association.

Reporting directly to the LMA board, the PSC addresses training, competence, recruitment and professional development in the Lloyd's market. Its purpose is to define educational requirements and benchmarks to reinforce the profile of Lloyd's as a professional environment in which to build a career.

Despite being formed only recently, the PSC is already taking steps to redefine and establish new professional standards across the Lloyd's franchise, and there are many ground-breaking initiatives under way.

Seeking students

Graduate recruitment is one of the core areas of activity. The graduate community is an excellent source of enthusiastic, innovative talent with the appropriate intellectual credentials for future senior market positions.

Some managing agencies, such as RJ Kiln, have run graduate schemes since the 1970s. Others, such as Wellington, have introduced schemes more recently, with up to four places on offer each year to graduates who successfully complete a rigorous selection process.

Raising the profile of Lloyd's as a professional market in which to build a career by investing time and resource in market-level recruitment is of particular interest to the PSC.

By working with the Lloyd's Agency Training Group, an informal group of training and development specialists, the PSC is seeking to target key graduate recruitment publications and websites to advertise career opportunities. One aim is to establish a Lloyd's-branded graduate recruitment campaign that directs potential recruits to individual managing agencies.

In addition, the PSC is working with Lloyd's managing agents to identify current market standards of education and levels of graduate recruitment.

We have recently circulated a questionnaire requesting information on recruitment, training offered and qualification levels. This survey will be repeated regularly to identify trends and gather evidence to support the achievement of raising educational standards across the franchise.

In addition, 15 members of the Lloyd's market recently attended a week-long seminar in Chicago entitled 'Understanding and Assessing Risk', organised by the Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services at Illinois State University. This event was sponsored by the LMA and administered by the PSC, and was the first in a series of similar events open to interested members of the LMA and the market.

The seminar included presentations by US risk managers, insurers and brokers, covering a range of risk management topics. Panel discussions on the buyer's perspective and enterprise risk management were integrated with sessions on risk mitigation.

Phillip Misztela of Meacock, who attended the event, said: "It was interesting to see the theory being applied in the numerous site visits and then to hear about actual cases from intermediaries such as Aon." The next seminar at the Katie School - 'Living with US Litigation' - is planned for October.

Evolving competencies

Lloyd's is also currently developing a set of standards for organisational competence for managing agents. On behalf of LMA members, the PSC is working with Lloyd's to identify and refine these criteria.

A dozen areas of organisational competence have been addressed, including governance, business strategy, risk management and a range of underwriting issues. The competencies will establish standards for new entrants to the market and create benchmarks for best practice among franchisees.

Publication is due in the third quarter of this year.

Another project sees the PSC working with the Chartered Insurance Institute to define personal competencies in the areas of underwriting, claims and broking. These guidelines are intended to provide benchmarks for individuals to develop their own skills and capabilities as they progress through their insurance careers. In particular, the PSC will help define the application of such skills in Lloyd's.

Business reforms

As an extension of this project, the PSC and CII will work together to ensure the relevance of the CII's latest matrix of examinations to the Lloyd's market. They will concentrate on initiatives that address particular training requirements such as those in support of business process reforms in areas like contract certainty.

Dr Sandy Scott, director-general of the CII, will attend the September PSC meeting to continue discussions on the direction of qualifications and accreditations within the London market. The PSC is already investigating the possibility of extending the Lloyd's Introductory Test for newcomers to a wider audience across the London market as an enhanced entry-level CII qualification for brokers and those within insurance companies.

Elsewhere, the PSC hopes to influence the development of qualifications and training appropriate to Lloyd's in conjunction with the CII's new London Market Faculty, the Institute of Risk Management and the Institute of Financial Services. Furthermore, the possibility of specific training events with several UK universities is being investigated.

David Gittings, group head of risk at Wellington Underwriting, is chairman of the PSC and a board member of the Financial Services Skills Council.

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