We are ready now and ready for the future

I was extremely honoured to be elected as the 57th President of our Institute and sincerely thank Luke Exford for his considerable commitment, not just during his time in office, but over the many years that he has served the CILA.

When I entered the profession, attaining Chartered status was an imperative; the benchmark.  To this day, I remain proud to say that I am Chartered Loss Adjuster.  We have continued to evolve our Institute in this rapidly changing environment and must continue to do so, ensuring that members remain the go-to claims professionals and thought leaders.  We must continue to demonstrate that we are ready, not just for the “here and now”, but also for the future.

There could be no better demonstration of how we are ready for the “now”, than the manner in which we have responded to savage and devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian, which ripped through the Bahamas, leaving a trail of destruction on Grand Bahama and Abaco.  This remains a humanitarian disaster of significant magnitude. 

At extremely short notice, we, as profession mobilised, sending teams over to islands.  Whilst maintaining the vital “business as usual state” at home, the lengths that members are going to in helping restore the communities, in the most challenging of circumstances, is truly awe inspiring. 

So how are we ensuring that we are ready for the future?

Diversity

We are ensuring that our membership is shaped appropriately for the world today and tomorrow.  We have grasped the diversity challenge, wholly embraced it and looked to lead through initiatives like Women in CILA.  We continue to expand our efforts in this regard and will always be fully inclusive as a profession.

Qualifications

We continue to develop our qualifications, through the various levels, ensuring that the standards of technical testing remain, whilst recognising the need for flexibility.  Our examinations may now be sat, on demand, almost anywhere around the world and this regard, we are ahead of many professional institutes.

We are enhancing the syllabi.  Recognising the emerging cyber arena, we will educate and test on this important topic.  We will target qualification of younger members and through our recently reformed Future Focus Group, we are maintaining the drive to introduce more youth to our profession.

Demonstration of Value

We will continue to demonstrate the value that adjusters bring to the claims arena and whilst we are embracing technology, it is both the technical and interpersonal skills which we must hone.

We have proven that we are able to meet new challenges which present.  Incidents like the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury and the ongoing yellow jacket protests in France have produced complex and unprecedented loss scenarios which adjusters have led on. 

We have taken and shared the learnings from these incidents through continuing professional development and are working with the market to refine wordings and handling guidance.

Personal Development

The advent of technology solutions, AI included, is changing the way we work but technology will never replace adjusters.  We remain the face of the insurer in the eyes of the policyholder.  

Whilst technology is assisting with process efficiency, communication and claim calculation, it will not deliver the empathy, the innovative loss mitigation solutions that a good adjuster brings, nor will it sell policy response, repudiation or conduct settlement negotiations. The foundations of successful claims handling stem from the ability to build trusting relationships with the claims stakeholders.

We are now drawing adjusters of the future from the pool of millennials and to equip them for the future, we are bringing forward a suite of interpersonal skills training along with networking opportunities, set across the country, to supplement technical development with specific, focussed communication and behavioural coaching. 

Strategically, in the coming years, enhancement of interpersonal skills will be paramount to our learning agenda.  

More generally, we will continue to work closely with many other industry bodies including the ABI, AIRMIC, BIBA, the CII and local institutes, FEUDI and the MGAA.  We will also maintain engagement with Government and other civil bodies.

Throughout the year, I will provide updates on our key developments and I would like to thank the Secretariat and the many volunteers who make CILA what it is.  Together with and for our members, we will ensure that the Institute is futureproofed and remains the claims leader.

Graham Smart ACII FCILA
CILA President