As the insurance advice sector gears up to enter a new regime, Crombie Lockwood’s Amanda Halfacree says the new standards should help improve the public’s perception of insurance - and bring advisers up to the level of an accountant or a lawyer.
The new regime will begin on March 15, 2021, and Halfacree says that the higher standards are sure to be a good thing - and if brokers can’t meet them, then they will quickly drop out of the industry.
“Ultimately, a broker is your advocate at the point of sale, and particularly at the point of claim,” Halfacree said.
“I think the industry needs to move towards the insurance broker being perceived at the same level of importance as your lawyer or your accountant to your business.”
“The incoming regulation will hold us to a higher standard, and it means that as we continue to meet that standard, it should improve that public perception,” she explained. “If insurance brokers can’t do that, then we will end up redundant.”
When it comes to entering the industry, Halfacree says that there is no way to “book-learn” the job - however, the new certification requirements will introduce a base level of competency and technical expertise. To learn the rest, Halfacree says there is no substitute for good team mentorship.
“So much of it is changing as the market changes, as underwriting appetite changes and as the kinds of things that clients are doing change,” she explained. “You have to know the policy wordings, have the technical insurance knowledge and understand how it’s applied, and the best way to learn that is by doing it and by asking questions during the time that you’re learning.
“For the people learning in the industry, and certainly for the members of my team who haven’t been working as a broker for as long as others, the best way to learn, to get better and to gain that technical competence is to be with your team - and particularly with those people who have been around the industry for a long time.”