Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has been adapting to the challenges and changing requirements faced by its members. From taking steps to ensure the safety of its candidates during the pandemic to donating to support professionals facing financial hardship, the organisation has looked to build trust in the insurance and financial planning profession. As professional standards director at the CII, Melissa Collett’s focus is on building, promoting and protecting standards across its membership and she is keen to raise awareness of best practices and drive ethical behaviour through engagement with the profession and external stakeholders.
Collett (pictured) recently joined the global advisory board of Insurance Business’s Women in Insurance Network and she is passionate about the value of networking and sharing insights. This is a fundamental part of her role at the CII and she welcomes the opportunities that the Advisory Board brings.
“The CII spearheaded the Insuring Women’s Futures campaign and part of that focused on Women in Risk – in other words, raising the profile of and increasing the opportunities for women in insurance, particularly to become leaders,” Collett said. “Women in insurance are looking for role models and the WII can provide that.”
Looking to the overall position of women in the insurance sector, she outlined how the CII originally published its own gender pay gap a few years ago in order to encourage the rest of the sector to make this information transparent. This is essential in enabling the pay gap to be reduced and ultimately eliminated, she believes.
“There has been incremental improvement in the data across the sector since it was first published but there is definitely more work to be done,” she said. “Also, we still need more women leaders, especially as a couple of prominent ones have stepped down from their leadership roles. It is pleasing to see the FCA emphasis on culture change which should go some way towards tackling inequality.”
As professional standards director for the CII, Collett has insight into the qualities which are required to ensure ethical conduct within the insurance sector and she detailed how the Code of Ethics created by the CII sets out five of these characteristics. Acting within the bounds of ethical behaviour can essentially boil down to:
- Act within the law
- Act with integrity
- Put your customer first
- Provide a high standard of service
- Treat people equally
Collett has brought significant insurance and legal experience to her role at the CII, having spent over a decade at the Financial Ombudsman Service and having previously worked as a tribunal judge. But if she wasn’t working in this space, she said, she would most likely be working at a think tank formulating future policy around the role that AI and robotics play in society and the workplace.
When she’s not working to raise the standards of insurance, Collett lets her hair down by playing electric guitar with a rock-band and she is looking forward to getting the opportunity to do so again soon when the lockdown is lifted.
“Frustratingly, we had a gig planned for the night lockdown was imposed,” she said. “Hopefully, with the easing of restrictions, we hope we’ll be able to play a summer festival soon!”