ILASA and continued Professional development

The current focus of the Institute of Loss Adjusters (ILASA) is on Education and last month’s article revolved around the attainment of qualifications for Loss Adjusters via the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Tool. A natural progression of that theme is Continued Professional Development (CPD).

The ‘P’ in CPD interchangeably represents ‘professional’ and ‘personal’, and, while it is the intention of most professional bodies to concentrate on looking at the ‘professional’ side of CPD and the attainment of CPD points, it should be the goal of every individual to have an all-encompassing continued personal development goal which would include his/her professional or career development. This is especially important in a world where the expectation of one career for life is no longer possible. Most people can expect to have more than one occupation in their working life. Modern life is fast-paced. Modes of communication have changed from even ten years ago and all of this has affected every facet of the working day. State of the art engineering technology of fifteen years ago is now redundant; the law has had to adapt to cope with a changing commercial market; regulators have had to step in and protect the consumer from ‘big business’; and there is no sympathy for the member of a professional body who neglects his/her own continued personal and professional development in a world which no longer looks the same as when his/her career started.

The hurdle facing ILASA relates to the fact that its members serve a wide short-term insurance market, and for loss adjusters who have a specialised degree such as law or build industry related qualifications (engineering, architectural, quantity and other surveying), they can often attain their CPD points by linking into the professional body which regulates the industry for which their degree is intended; and ILASA has taken steps to assist them in this regard. However, for loss adjusters who have or are obtaining short-term insurance qualifications, ILASA puts in place various seminars and conferences, and taps into industry resources such as SASRIA, the short-term Ombudsman and the IISA. The different Regional committees are also active in identifying potential learning experiences which loss adjusters can use to obtain CPD points – the Northern Gauteng Region of ILASA is well-known for putting in place interactive workshop experiences which require active participation from the loss adjuster in a workshop situation following, for example, a visit to a factory.

It was at just such a workshop to which I had been invited that I identified another hurdle facing loss adjusters located outside city centres – for them, the attainment of CPD points is a challenge requiring commitment and travel to the centres where training is located. I met a young loss adjuster who had travelled from Pietersburg to attend the workshop. He arrived the day before, found accommodation for the evening, participated in the workshop, and then drove back to Pietersburg. I look with awe at such commitment and then despair when an experienced, unqualified loss adjuster tells me that he has no time to obtain CPD points.

CPD is a compulsory requirement for continued membership of ILASA and, although ILASA is constantly looking for solutions to problems facing members, there is also an obligation on the ILASA member to find creative ways acceptable to ILASA of furthering his or her own development and complying with ILASA requirements. One has to always bear in mind that ILASA has been established by the members to represent them as a professional body in the short-term insurance industry and part of the ILASA’s mission statement is to promote the skill, efficiency, service and responsibility of the loss adjuster’s profession.

The Accredited, Associate and Fellowship categories of membership are all required to attain the same number of points per annum in order to maintain their membership; and failure to comply entitles ILASA to refuse renewal of membership. Although this sounds harsh, continued professional development is considered a cornerstone of the maintenance of competence and skills and the keeping pace with developments in the loss adjusting profession and the short term insurance industry; and loss adjusters understand that without it, they cannot sustain the view that they are professionals in a fast-changing world.

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