Now is a good idea time to reflect on the past year and 2011 was certainly a rollercoaster for those in insurance.
The UK remained a tough commercial market in what seemed like an unrelenting string of unfortunate events - the global economy once again took a nosedive, the debate on referral fees raged on and natural catastrophes and rioting meant brokers were busier than ever.
While it has been a challenging year, I truly believe the insurance industry has held its own and I'm proud of the way it's reacted in people's hour of need.
And there was a lot to celebrate too. Towergate won the inaugural Investing in the Profession Award at this year's British Insurance Awards. I also got the opportunity to judge at the UK Broker Awards in September. Sitting on the panel put a whole new perspective on the awards process. The standard of entry was phenomenal and it really highlighted all that's good within the sector.
Now to the future: as the Chartered Insurance Institute celebrates its centenary, we're seeing more and more advisers come on board. Membership reached 100 000 in 2011 and continues to gather pace as people look to stand out from the crowd.
For Chartered firms, congratulations must go to Axa, Jelf, Wilby, Brett & Randall, Hiscox, Marsh Isle of Man, Sterling, Willis Networks and Lockton's operations in the Middle East which have all recently gained the accolade.
If 2011 was the year insurance got social, 2012 will be when digital media really kicks off. Last year, Biba used live streaming for the first time to include those advisers who weren't able to attend and I'm fascinated to see what's in store at the next event in May. In this year the CII also developed well-received channels on Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn.
Education, as always, remains a priority. On the back of CII president, Julian James' manifesto, we'll be increasing our drive to get youngsters interested in insurance through the Discover Risk campaign as well as encouraging employers to get on board and offer job tasters, work experience and placements. The future of the industry is dependent on new talent so it's vital we take steps to attract the best candidates.
Other things to look out for include a radically improved Broker Assess that's easier to navigate, simpler and more powerful, new coursework-based assessments and innovative ways of delivering study material that use the latest in modern technology.
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