New life insurance standards framework to boost professionalism in Australia

The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance & Finance (ANZIIF) and the Life Insurance Professional Standards Working Group (LIPSWG) have signed an MoU pledging to work together and increase the professionalism of the life insurance industry.

Under their collaboration, both parties will establish the ‘Professional Standards Framework’, undertake a demographic survey and develop an approach to assess current knowledge defined within the agreed framework.

It is pertinent to place emphasis and investment into building the professional skills of people in life insurance, disclosed findings from the Hayne Royal Commission and PJC report.

ANZIIF had thus consulted broadly across the retail life industry, reinsurers, regulatory authorities and associations to ensure broad-based support for this collaborative project.

“Over the last two years, we have established a framework to drive this major collaboration in the life industry. We will lead the collaborative project to establish a professional standards framework which will determine the different job families and the competencies required to fulfil job roles at every level of experience,” said ANZIIF CEO Prue Willsford.

Meanwhile, LIPSWG members believe this program will improve the professionalism of the life insurance industry, build and improve community confidence in life insurance and create a significantly better experience for customers.

These members comprise AIA Australia, AMP Life, BT Life Insurance, ClearView, MLC Life Insurance, TAL Life Limited and Zurich, who all represent 95% of the gross written premium in the life insurance industry.

Commenting on the partnership, AIA CEO Damien Mu said, “‘The establishment of life industry professional standards will ensure that life insurance professionals have a high level of well-rounded knowledge, with a focus on good customer outcomes which we believe will increase consumer confidence.”

The collaboration and dialogue between such major insurance leaders are therefore expected to significantly contribute to the professional standards across the life industry. Moreover, the project has the added benefit of creating cultural change and driving strategy in order to attract and retain career employees.

The Australasian Life Underwriting and Claims Association (ALUCA) has also been engaged and is contributing to the project.

ANZIIF will be conducting two major studies as part of the project. The first study will be a demographic survey across the entire industry to understand what level of background and skills people bring to the industry. The second will be to develop a knowledge-based assessment within the agreed framework.

More information on the collaboration is expected to be announced in due course, said an official statement on the announcement of the MoU.

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