The Society of Insurance Broking reveals plans for the next year

Liz Foster

Fair treatment of vulnerable customers will continue to be at the top of the agenda for the CII-led society according to its NED, Liz Foster.

The Society of Insurance Broking (SIB) has unveiled its plans for its second year as it celebrates the one year anniversary of its launch.

The society has just under 15,000 members across the world and was the first society in the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) as it transitioned from having a system of faculties to a society style model.

In the year the SIB has been operating it has produced guidance on a variety of different subjects, including the Insurance Distribution Directive, the dark web, smart water, construction materials and the treatment of vulnerable customers.

Over the next year strategy and operations manager at the CII, Matt Hall stated that members of the society can anticipate more guidance on the technical skills and professional behavior required of insurance brokers in the market.

Chair of SIB, Kevin Hancock commented: “The first year has been a year of providing material and content to our membership, with the SIB giving our part of the profession a higher profile in the wider insurance community.

“We will continue to encourage our members to improve their knowledge and skills to lead to better customer outcomes and greater public trust in the broking profession.”

Liz Foster, non-executive director of the SIB, told Insurance Age that the society had been gaining momentum as the year drew to a close. 

Foster said: “I really feel that we’re getting into the nitty gritty of the broker world, as to how we can support brokers to maintain their relevance within the insurance market, ever mindful that people, particularly within the consumer market tend to think ‘well now I’ll go to the internet for that’.

“But is the internet always relevant for the insurance they’re seeking to buy and would they really benefit by talking to an insurance broker first?”

She noted that it is important for the society to raise brokers’ capabilities and ensure they understand ethical requirements.

“We’ll then continue to put changing and relevant technical material in front of them which may not arise in an examination scenario,” she added.

The society has a board meeting in December and before then a new member will be chosen for the advisory board. Foster explained that the board is inviting nominations for new members until 31 October.

She detailed: “We’ve got a really diverse group at the moment and I hope that that will continue and that in fact we will grow possibly the interest in membership of the advisory board.”

Vulnerable customers
Vulnerable customers has been a prolific issue in the insurance industry of late and the Financial Conduct Authority recently launched a consultation on proposed guidance for firms on this topic.

Foster explained she has her own experience of looking after an individual who would be classed as vulnerable.

She expanded: “You can look at someone and not necessarily recognise the vulnerability in them and so that’s why communication, face to face, is so important.

“By asking questions you begin to get an understanding about whether or not that person has specific needs that as a broker should be addressed.”

She continued: “You’ve got people with learning difficulties, people with skill disabilities or restrictions, you’ve got people with physical disabilities. And then you’ve got the diversity question, where I still don’t think we quite truly treat people as equals.”

Foster urged the broking industry to continue to raise awareness of vulnerable customers. 

“I don’t think people generally recognise a vulnerable person as a vulnerable person and if they do recognise them, do they know where to go with that risk?” she questioned.

Foster also discussed the topic of regulation, stating that “the enlightened broker will see regulation as a friend”.

She concluded: “Regulation will challenge us all to look closely at our businesses and ensure that we are running those businesses and in the case of the individual operating within those businesses in the most professional way possible.”

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