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Role of education & training in the liability insurance space

The liability insurance industry relies heavily on experience and we need to increase efforts to record and maintain the expertise of the professionals that retire from the sector.

When someone with 40 years of experience retires, that knowledge is lost to the remaining workforce unless a concerted effort is made to store and impart this information.

It gives me great pleasure to have witnessed how liability insurance has crept up the rankings in terms of training availability in the industry. The market seems to have recognised that liability exposures have increased significantly over the past 5-10 years and this increased demand in cover requires growth in terms of the skillset of underwriters and brokers.

There is, of course, always room for improvement. Liability insurance is particularly dynamic due to its close relationship with legislation and legal trends. Technology is also a key driver of change in the way liability attaches to businesses, like the impact of cybercrime on modern liability offerings. It is therefore critical that training techniques and materials are constantly updated to keep up with the changing times.

Technology provides us with the opportunity to create vast databases of knowledge, but it is important that the recording process starts years before experienced individuals leave the business. A good, searchable and userfriendly resource will ensure that new entrants can access information long after the industry veterans have left.

However, I also do not believe that there is enough material readily available for brokers with intermediate or advanced skills. The majority of the industry’s focus has been on the beginners and young entrants.

Most liability insurance products require a certain amount of experience on the part of the practitioner to be sold/underwritten effectively and we need to ensure that new entrants in the industry can provide the same professional service and advice that clients are used to. There aren’t really shortcuts to success and I think this is somewhat frustrating for newcomers. It is a collective responsibility to manage newcomers’ expectations while simultaneously delivering engaging material and opportunities to those promising young employees.

At SHA, we conduct classroom style training in our office and we also do regular roadshows around the country to do our bit in contributing towards professionalising the industry. We have also found that one of the most useful educational tools in found in the media. We see real life examples of liability claims in our newspapers and on TV every day and we can draw links between these events and liability cover on our social media platforms. SHA’s spokespeople can also often be seen on TV, heard on radio or read in publications in an effort to educate people about liability insurance.

The regulators and industry bodies in the financial services industry provides us with a framework to maintain a level of professionalism, but the implementation and creativity of the individuals within the business has to be carried forward. We also need all participants in the industry to internalise and embrace the principles of Treating Customers Fairly.

A thorough understanding of these principles will provide individuals with a blueprint to professional customer service and I believe that every business in our industry should embed this practice into their culture.

SIMON COLMAN, Head of Commercial Liability Underwriting at SHA Specialist Underwriters

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