Guided by ethics and professional standards as we evolve our profession

Immediate past presidents have used many different adjectives to describe the honour they felt in being elected to this role. Before I share my own feelings I’d first like to recognise the honour that those past presidents have done the Institute itself - not least Graham Smart under whom I have served as Deputy President for the last 12 months.

I have worked on the Synergy Committee since 2010 and been its Chair since 2012, but in this past year I have worked more closely with Graham and the immediate past presidents and have come to realise the dedication, commitment and passion with which they continue to support the Institute.

They receive phenomenal support from many others across the Institute, including the outstanding work of the Secretariat, led by Executive Director Malcolm Hyde.

The adjective I choose is “remarkable”. It is indeed a remarkable honour to be elected your President for 2020/2021, not just because it is truly special but also as it is so surprising. No one, least me, would have foreseen this when I joined the profession!

Adapting and evolving

My predecessors in this role have often referenced how our Institute and membership respond to changing dynamics in the world. Few years have tested our adaptability like 2020, with COVID-19 impacting virtually every aspect of our personal and professional lives.

The claims sector has responded extraordinarily well, embracing new working conditions and technology, with the Institute itself enabling remote examinations using the proctoring service. Loss adjusters have been unsung heroes of the sector’s response, responding to claims and helping people get back on their feet in extremely testing circumstances.

I am truly honoured that Helena Evans has agreed be our Deputy President. Helena has been involved in the Women in CILA Group since shortly after its formation in 2015 and I am proud to have in her an extremely capable deputy.

I am also proud that 7 of the 21 people attaining Associate status so far in 2020 are women, and 3 of the 5 officer nominations at this year’s AGM were women too. We have a long way to go in ensuring that our profession is fully reflective of the communities that it serves but kudos to these women, their firms, Women in CILA and everyone in the Institute for moving us even further into the light.

Increasing focus across the whole spectrum of diversity and inclusion (D&I) was a theme in Graham’s year as President and I am delighted to accept the baton from him and continue those efforts in my presidential year.

Guiding principles

CILA turns 60 next year and it is essential we continue to evolve.

Under Graham, our D&I Statement was significantly updated to underscore the engagement we expect from our members. We have also subtly updated our charter and by-laws to better reflect the continually evolving dynamics of our profession, including being more inclusive (members will be able to vote on these changes in an upcoming EGM).

We have also modernised the Guide to Professional Conduct, which sets the high ethical and professional standards to which all our members aspire. Meeting these standards is critical to the value proposition of members and the Institute, so promoting and enabling better understanding will also be a theme of my year in office.

I sincerely hope that you and yours remain safe and well in the coming months.

CILA President