Tuesday, 28th Apr 2020
I hope that you and your family are well at this very difficult time. To those who have suffered bereavement, I offer my own sincere condolences and those of the Institute.
There is no doubt that the situation we face has brought the best from many, promoting a real sense of community and a huge effort to aid others. Nowhere is this more apparent that in the healthcare sector and I am sure that all members appreciate the significant sacrifices that are being made on our behalf by their professionals, and indeed other key workers. As an Institute we thank and salute them all.
The effects of the pandemic on our profession have been significant, bringing some very specific challenges. As always, we have shown our resilience and ability to rapidly adapt. Many have adopted technology solutions to, in part, compensate for the current absence of routine site visits. Whilst this is assisting, it does not replace the real value that a qualified/experienced adjuster brings to the claims process, from personal interaction, particularly around the building of trusting relationships with the key stakeholders.
Looking to the future
We are now a month into lockdown in the UK, longer in many other parts of the world, and we heard on 22nd April that disruptive social measures are likely to continue for much of this year. This will naturally impact us all and the Institute have been working on a number of initiatives to ensure that we continue to fully function and support members.
• Examinations – Pearson Vue operate the centres at which our examinations are held and these remain closed. Your Council and the Examination Committee have been working with our partners and having explored and tested their online offering, we have now contracted with them to deliver remote, proctored examinations. Structured in exactly the same manner as examinations presently, this will allow members to book then sit examinations at home in a secure and controlled manner. Essentially, the candidate’s webcam is monitored throughout the session.
We anticipate this facility being available in the next 10-12 weeks, allowing candidates to continue to make progress towards qualification despite likely continuing restrictions. This option will remain permanently available and continues our strategy of offering flexibility to candidates.
• Qualification Support – recognising that student members have a significant and unique opportunity to progress towards qualification, the Institute is ramping up its focus on this group and will continue to host webinars targeting those at Advanced Diploma stage. We will be hosting an increasing number of examination technical sessions as well as ACS Critical Analysis workshops.
• Special Interest Groups – our programme has now switched exclusively to webinars and the agenda will continue as usual. Upcoming events are advertised on the website. The webinars that we have staged have received considerable interest – in some cases over 300 members have signed up to attend.
I would like to thank the BI SIG for the considerable effort involved in the preparation of their COVID-19 briefing which was extremely well received by the market.
• Conference & AGM – we continue to plan for these as physical events but anticipate that these may need to switch to virtual events. We are liaising with our SIGs and valued sponsorship partners to develop the agenda.
• Annual Lunch – it is highly likely that notwithstanding any lockdown relaxations, social gatherings of this scale will either not be permitted or there will naturally be nervousness to attend. We have therefore taken the decision to reschedule the lunch to Friday 19 March 2021 and thereafter, will permanently shift the event to March each year. This revised date better fits with the Institute’s constitutional year and avoids the likely weather/CAT seasons along with school holidays.
We remain in close contact with many other industry bodies including the ABI, AIRMIC, BIBA, the CII and local institutes, FEUDI and the MGAA. Importantly, we have liaised with the regulator (FCA) concerning the categorisation of key workers and the ability of loss adjusters to deliver service, despite the obvious obstacles. We are also engaged with Government and other civil bodies highlighting the skills and knowledge of our members and our determination to support just and fair settlements, assist vulnerable customers and wherever possible, prioritise the claims of key workers.
For those members sadly experiencing financial difficulties, or who know current or former members of our insurance community in such circumstances, I would remind you about The Insurance Charities which exists to both help and support: www.theinsurancecharities.org.uk
I would like extend thanks to the Secretariat for their maintenance of “business as usual” as we, as a profession, demonstrate that we remain ready now and for the future.
Stay home, stay safe.
Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters