LMA Head Stresses Need for Industry Talent

“We must raise the general level of awareness about the insurance industry, and bring in the best quality people we can find,” said David Gittings Chief Executive of Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) in a telephone interview. Gittings, who returned to Lloyd’s to take up his present post at the beginning of the year, has made solving one of the industry’s most intractable problems a top priority.

Claims management is one of the main areas of concern. After studying the current situation, “we realized that over the next five to seven years a number of experienced claims people would be retiring, and there were no new younger people coming in to replace them,” said Gittings.

The LMA discussed its concerns with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the leading UK institution for educational programs. CII Director Dr. Sandy Scott, Gittings and others worked out a program, based on four levels of competence, ranging from entry level to competence in sophisticated claims management. “We’ve pretty much reached the levels we need for the first three,” said Gittings; “now we’re working on the fourth one.”

The program requires class study and examinations to gauge levels of competence. “We are working with input from many sources,” Gittings continued. They include different types of claims practitioners, LMA members, as well as the CII.

Details of the project were formally introduced following an address by Lloyd’s CEO Richard Ward, who pointed out that “our claims are the shop window for the industry for most of our customers and we are judged by our customers on our claims record, this is an extremely serious issue” (See IJ web site Oct. 5).

Claims management, however, is only one aspect of a larger problem – the industry’s failure to market itself as an attractive career choice for university graduates and others, who are the insurance industry’s future. Dr. Scott has long recognized the industry’s need to sell itself, and the CII has embarked on a “talent initiative” program that’s already having results.

The LMA has now set up its own marketing tool with a web site dedicated to university graduates-www.graduatesatlloyds.com. “We’re already getting a lot of hits,” said Gittings. “A common response is ‘gee, I wish I’d known about this sooner.’ Once they learn that insurance isn’t just about house, car and life, they see it in a different light.”

Overcoming that stodgy image will take time, but, as Gittings pointed out, “a lot of new investment bank employees end up on a trading floor in front of a computer screen with 500 other new bank employees. Does that really sound all that interesting?”

The LMA and the CII are trying to overcome the industry’s image and attract the type of “quality people” the industry needs to prosper. “We need risk management, we need accounting, we need all kinds of skills [in addition to underwriting and claims management]” said Gittings. The first step is “to get insurance on the radar screen” of recent university graduates.

Source: LMA/David Gittings – www.the-lma.com