When Allan Manning (pictured) started out in the insurance industry at just 16 years of age, he had the backing of strong mentors to ensure he could reach the top of the industry.
Now, nearly 50 years later, Manning is the CEO of LMI Group, which he founded in 1999, and is embarking on a new educational journey through the LMI College of Insurance and Risk, designed to pass down 1,500 combined years of industry experience, knowledge and insight.
“The technical knowledge I learnt from mentors has really held me in great stead throughout my nearly 50-year career and I think it’s really important that I do the same for the next generation – that all the knowledge I’ve gained over a lifetime be passed on to the next generations so they can be as good as they can be and they can make insurance even bigger and better,” he said.
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It was only a short time after founding the LMI Group that he noticed there was a “great need” for training within the industry. He felt the level and quality of training had deteriorated over time and it had moved away from teaching insurance and instead focused on other areas of business.
“Insurance is such a technical, complex area that it’s really important for as many people to understand it as possible,” he said.
“The good thing about us is our team has written 15 textbooks on insurance, we have the biggest policy library on insurance, and we have an enormous amount of risk management and insurance knowledge in our courses, such as policy comparison and risk coach. No-one else, anywhere in the world, has the same amount of knowledge,” he claimed.
“There’s 1,500 years’ worth of combined insurance experience in our claims team and all of that knowledge gets filtered up to a chief knowledge officer, and then goes into the courses and into the books and training. There’s no-one, I believe, that can do that or deliver that – certainly not in this country.”
The importance of the new college is emphasised further in today’s environment, he suggested. Manning says the regulator clamping down on insurance practices and the brand of insurance being damaged overall is why the industry needs to refocus on education and training.
“I don’t think the profitability of the insurance industry is as high as it used to be, I think the customer satisfaction rate is at the lowest it’s been throughout my working career and we’re seeing new regulatory changes coming through,” he explained.
“I think there can be a general improvement in the industry if we can raise the level of training and education of brokers, underwriters and claims teams right across the country. If claims are going to become a financial service then anyone doing a claim should know the basics of things like indemnity, good faith and how to read a policy and a lot of them, at the moment, don’t.”
Manning believes insurance can transition to a more profitable industry if the people working inside it have a better understanding of policy, the need for insurance and remove the emphasis on price.
“Look at product, the features of the product you’re giving clients, the protection you’re offering them and the claims service,” he said. “If we can do that, then I think we can help improve [the situation].”
While he admits the LMI College of Insurance and Risk is “not the cheapest in the market,” he says the need to invest in the future of the industry is vital.
“We don’t sell on price, we sell on vigour,” he said. “Brokers and insurers are going to get the best technical training from people who have been brokers and underwriters and are passionate about the insurance industry. They are very, very knowledgeable in insurance - there’s just an enormous amount of wealth of knowledge in the people behind it.”