For the Love of Insurance?
In December 2016, I achieved my Advanced Diploma in Insurance. The day that I received my final result I felt as relieved as I did proud: I would never have to open another book about insurance if I did not want to! This was also the day that the CII Fellowship programme was first mentioned to me by a colleague. I said that I would think about it, but more out of politeness than anything else; in my head I was thinking ‘no way!’.
However, I kept my promise and have been thinking about it on and off for a few months. I asked others for their ideas and experience, which has been incredibly useful. For those who have recently (or even not so recently) completed the Advanced Diploma, I hope that sharing these ideas will be helpful.
The first thing that strikes me about Fellowship of the CII is its rarity. Of the 126,899 CII members, only 5,395 are FCII; this is approximately 4% (compared to 21,981 ACII members). For me this actually makes for an appealing prospect. To achieve the FCII would really set me apart from my peers. This sentiment was echoed by a colleague in human resources (HR).
Everyone that I have spoken to believes that the FCII designation represents credibility and professionalism. Although most people feel that ACII also represents these qualities, HR and recruiters acknowledge that CII Fellowship shows a significant level of commitment and industry knowledge, which are attributes that are particularly important if considering leadership roles in the future.
Those who are on, or have completed, the programme have commented that it can be a fairly lonely experience, which is not surprising given the numbers. It is important to reach out to those in personal networks and talk to them about their experiences.
That said, I have learned from several veterans of the programme that it can provide opportunities to get involved in the work of the CII – anything from committees to marking exam papers! And this in turn can provide access to some of the key players in the industry.
For me, one of the main challenges would be creating and sticking to my own schedule. One is flying solo on the Fellowship programme, so it is important to keep motivated.
One of the main ways of doing this is to pick a major achievement that will maintain interest, about which you can feel passionate. Those who have chosen to do a dissertation, for example, have chosen a topic relevant to the work that they were doing at the time. As one Fellow pointed out, ‘There are plenty of areas in all of our day-to-day work that could benefit from a deeper level of insight and research’. I imagine this benefits both the individual and their company.
I am now at a point where I think, ‘Why not?’ I will not pretend that I am driven purely by the love of insurance, but I do feel that raising my own profile and credibility (and that of the industry as a whole) can only be a good thing.
I still have the momentum after studying to become ACII, and being able to differentiate myself in an industry that is already full of highly-talented individuals is really appealing. I will not be signing up immediately. I will give myself time to find a project or topic of study that is relevant to my work, to give me the best chance of staying motivated and engaged. For now, watch this space!