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Chartered Insurance Institute
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Demonstrating a commitment to further self improvement


Fellowship of the CII is universally regarded as the premier qualification for those working in the insurance industry. By achieving the ACII, you have already you've demonstrated a high level of commitment, but the Fellowship shows that you have taken this commitment one step further. Acquiring FCII accreditation will further demonstrate your knowledge, experience and professionalism to the world.

Eligibility criteria

To become a Fellow you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • be a current member of the CII (and remain a member throughout your progression to Fellowship);
  • have completed your Advanced Diploma/Associateship before enrolling on the Fellowship programme*;
  • have been employed (or self-employed) in insurance for at least four years overall;
  • be wholly or mainly engaged or employed in work connected with insurance;
  • fulfil the requirements of the Fellowship programme set out in these guidelines;
  • be able to supply records of your last three years of Continuing Professional Development (CPD);
  • meet the requirements of the Fellowship Advisory Board.

* If you are a pre-1992 ACII you will need to submit a summary of ten years relevant work experience

Completion requirements

(Refer to regulations and guidelines and application forms using the links to the right of this page)

  1. Complete the Advanced Diploma/Associateship
  2. Enrolment on the Fellowship Programme
  3. Business Ethics programme (BEP)
  4. Major Achievement
  5. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
  6. Write a statement of Personal Development (SPD)
  7. Application for Election to Fellowship

The Fellowship programme has been designed on the basis that each individual is in the best position to evaluate what development needs they have and how best to address these needs. It gives you the ability to select a path to Fellowship which fits your own skills, interests and development needs. It presents a full picture of your technical knowledge, business skills and achievements.

Being a Fellow tells employers that you have a major professional qualification and that you are committed to Continuing Professional Development.

Fellowship Advisory Service

During your progression to Fellowship you may need help or advice. You may be fortunate in having the services of a mentor from your employer to call on, or your local institute may offer help. Use these as your first port of call.

The Fellowship Advisory Service (FAS) can give information about the Fellowship programme and can offer a wide range of help and advice. However, we cannot provide technical information about a subject you may be studying.

As we have a small team of advisers, assistance is limited in terms of time available to any one member. We will, however, try to help you in any way we can and, if there is anything you do not understand, please contact us at the earliest opportunity. This may prevent you from running into problems later.

  • call: +44 (0)20 8530 0819
  • email: societies.fas@cii.co.uk

Statement of personal development

Fellowship is the ultimate achievement and you must demonstrate how, through your learning process, it has helped you develop as a person and as a skilled practitioner. The SPD is a critical part of your programme and will clearly show what you have learned through the Fellowship programme.

Drafting your Statement of Personal Development (SPD)

The Fellowship assessors will consider your SPD in detail and you should not underestimate the time that it will take to complete.

Your Statement of Personal development must:

  • be typewritten in English;
  • be clearly set out using the 'categories for assessment' headings below;
  • not contain any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors (it helps to have someone else proof read your SPD);
  • be 1,000-,1100 words long and include a word count (SPD's without a word count and/or outside of the word count will NOT be accepted);
  • represent you in a professional, formal manner;
  • review what you have achieved by effectively providing an executive summary of your achievements;
  • be submitted with your application for election to Fellowship.

The categories for assessment

Candidates can be, and are, rejected on their SPD. Usually the Assessors feel that unsuccessful candidates do not address adequately each of the sections below - especially the last three. By using the headings and following trhe guidance carefully you will greatly enhance your chances of success.

Listed below are six categories the assessors will be looking at when they consider your SPD. Please use these headings in your SPD to ensure that you demonstrate coverage of all six areas. Under each heading ensure you give enough detail to demonstrate your personal achievements.

Overview

This sets out, in two or three paragraphs or approximately 250 words, how you have set about your Fellowship programme and any key changes during it.

Plan

You should restate the key points of the plan you drafted on enrolment onto the Fellowship programme and also show how you achieved the objectives set. This should emphasise new knowledge gained and the skills you used to achieve this. You should be able to see some of the effects of this process on your career.

Changes to plan

If your Fellowship plan changed, you should set out what you changed and why you changed it. It may have been for external reasons (e.g., a change of job or other circumstance) or for internal reasons (e.g., you were unhappy with your progress on your major achievement or identified a new opportunity which you wanted to exploit). The effect of circumstances beyond your control should not be ignored and events, which have caused delay, should be identified. If there are no changes to your plan you must make this explicit.

You should also highlight how you were affected by, or made use of, unplanned opportunities that arose. It would be particularly helpful to indicate whether these opportunities were based on situations which you initiated, or unexpected ones which you were able to exploit. How were you affected? How did you make use of these opportunities? If the change of plan was unexpected, were you able to use the pressure to your advantage and provide an innovative solution?

Self learning and awareness

What did you learn about yourself as you progressed to Fellowship? As is stated later, this is the main reason why the SPD can fail. This self analysis is important although it can be dificult to undertake. It should include 'soft' facts such as how you dealt with both negative and positive experiences as well as 'hard' facts such as your achievements.

Key skills and knowledge acquired

During your time on the Fellowship programme you will have learned a number of new skills and increased your knowledge base. List the main items. This evaluation stage deserves special attention as it produces a summary of achievements, which demonstrates how you met your original objectives. For any area where you achieved less than you originally planned, reconsider whether the target originally set remains valid or whether you simply require more time to achieve it.

Intentions for the future

Continuous Professional Development is key to your ongoing professional development. Now that you have undertaken a major achievement and obtained new skills and knowledge through a planned programme you will need to continue your CPD programme. In this section, set out how you plan to use the lessons of your Fellowship programme in the future.

Finally - points to note about the SPD

Before writing your SPD you may find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What were the most important things I learned and why were they the most important?
  • How have I applied new skills and knowledge in my work?
  • In analysing the application of these new skills and knowledge, can I produce evidence of the circumstances in which they are applied?
  • What other reading and CPD have I done outside my Fellowship plan to improve myself further and what do I now need to do for the future to continue my development as my career progresses?

The members of the Fellowship Assessment Board evaluate every SPD very carefully. The most common reason why an SPD fails to meet the required standard is because it does not demonstrate the candidate's self-awareness. It is vital that your application illustrates what you have learned and in particular what you have learned about yourself as a result of negative experiences. You should not be afraid of admitting that you have learned from your mistakes as well as your achievements. In fact, such candidate's self-awareness is extremely valuable.

It is important that you include sufficient information in your SPD to enable the Fellowship assessors to evaluate your application. Any other correspondence between you and the CII will be kept separate from your application and so the SPD must cover any issue which you feel is relevant to your application. You must include sufficient detail to demonstrate that you have completed all the steps to Fellowship and you should identify how the elements of the application have been useful to you in your work. The Fellowship assessors will also wish to see you demonstrate your ability to reflect on what you have achieved and how you will move your career forward.

Examples of SPDs

The following examples have been presented to the Fellowship Assessment Board. They have been accepted and the candidates are now Fellows of the CII.

 

SPD - example 1

Example 1

Overview

Near to the completion of my ACII studies my career as an underwriter took a change of direction. I moved from an underwriting agency specialising in household property insurance to join an international commercial property team at a major Lloyd's syndicate, XYZ Ltd. The opportunities to expand my knowledge and participation in the international commercial property business was a fantastic opportunity from a career point of view but also presented a great challenge to me in terms of my own personal development. My Fellowship plan was therefore based on my personal development as an international commercial property underwriter and the pursuit of my stated objective 'to realise the opportunities presented by making the most of the resources available to me at XYZ Ltd.'

Not long after formulating my Fellowship plan I began to realise that I might not be able to achieve all of my stated objectives at XYZ Ltd because of factors beyond my control which are discussed later in this SPA. For these reasons I eventually decided to look elsewhere to achieve my goals and was fortunate to be offered a position as an international commercial property underwriter at another Lloyd's syndicate, LMN Ltd, in May 2001.

Plan

Formulating my Fellowship plan caused me to reflect on my career so far and to articulate in words a plan that I had already embarked on, albeit with a less structured consideration of how I would achieve my objectives and the potential problems I could encounter. I started at XYZ Ltd approximately 10 months before submitting my Fellowship plan. The Fellowship plan SWOT analysis established my strengths as expertise in household property business, a niche area of property insurance and the value of contacts I already had around the world relative to that niche industry. My weaknesses were my lack of experience outside of my niche area, a weakness which I later had to work hard to address at XYZ Ltd. The opportunities were significant offering me a chance to get into the mainstream of international commercial property business in Lloyd's and it appeared that a senior management position might also be possible at XYZ Ltd. The threats were identified as being the limited time available to harness resources and to take advantage of the opportunities before market conditions changed.

My major achievement is my BA (Hons) degree in Insurance studies which I completed in 1999 with a 2.1 grading. The first quarter of this course overlapped with the completion of my ACII in April 1998. My degree was a modular course consisting of eight units taken over four semesters. Some of the units were compulsory and included macro-economics, modern insurance law and strategic management. Three units could be selected from a list of agreed subjects and the eighth unit was a dissertation.

As stated above, my Fellowship plan expressed a programme I had already embarked on. It made me focus upon a two-fold objective: 1) to develop as a leading underwriter in international commercial property insurance and 2) to progress in the management hierarchy at XYZ Ltd. I considered that my knowledge of household property insurance could be valuable in the development of service-based products and would help my personal development.

Changes to plan

In April 2000, however, I began to realise that that I would probably not be able to attain my objectives at XYZ Ltd. for reasons largely beyond my control. A number of syndicates including XYZ Ltd. had begun to forecast poor underwriting results for the property business generally. A loss of confidence in the international property business generally led XYZ Ltd. to examine its business and to re-focus on its core UK property and nonmarine liability business. As a result of this I felt that I was unlikely, as an international commercial property underwriter, to progress in the management hierarchy of XYZ Ltd.

The realisation that I would not be able to develop as I had planned at XYZ Ltd was a great disappointment. I had learned a lot there and felt that it was an extremely well managed company. It opened my eyes to how an underwriting business should be run and it made me realise quickly that I still had much to learn about insurance business generally. The approach to business, reporting functions and controls identified the key areas that are critical to underwriting successfully whatever the class of business. There was also an absolute focus on profitability.

Self learning and awareness

At times I found it difficult to make the adjustments needed to become a successful international commercial property underwriter. With guidance from my managers and peers at XYZ Ltd I completed the transformation and this enabled me to market my skills in this business area and eventually to take the position as international commercial property underwriter at LMN Ltd. Managing change has been a recurring theme in my development and I feel that in achieving my Fellowship plan objectives I have learned to use changing circumstances to work to my advantage.

Key skills and knowledge acquired

Completing my degree has also been very valuable. I covered a broad range of subjects and developed skills some of which I had previously considered to be unimportant for an underwriter. For example, I completed a public relations module which gave me a great insight into how to manage PR and how to handle negative as well as positive situations. Most of the modules, but the dissertation in particular, taught me how to research subjects effectively. This skill is not just useful as an academic tool. Undoubtedly it enabled me to develop a technical publication which I edited and launched successfully as XYZ commercial property news. In addition, from a commercial point of view, I now find that I can access sources of information very quickly and this reinforces the underwriting decision-making process.

The past eleven months have been a very testing time for me at LMN Ltd. The exposure as line underwriter has enabled me to develop very rapidly into the management position to which I had aspired three years ago. Overall the experience impacted positively on my personal as well as commercial development.

Intentions for the future

Although I now occupy the position I set my sights on three years ago, I still consider that learning and development are an on-going part of my commercial life. I reflect frequently on my underwriting decisions to try to identify mistakes early and to see if there are better ways of doing things. My development over the last three years has given me a very strong grounding as an international commercial property underwriter but I will continue to develop my personal skills and to test objectives for personal as well as management development. Current market conditions remain very unstable and no one can afford to be complacent over their skills and knowledge. I intend to use all that I have learned and to build on this to anticipate and react to a changing environment.

SPD - example 2

Example 2

Overview

In May 2001, I returned to work full-time following maternity leave after the birth of my son. As Training Manager for 123 Ltd, I was responsible for the training and development needs of 250 employees in addition to the supervision of my own team of four Training Officers. Also, as part of the general management team I was attending weekly meetings to review and discuss organisational requirements. Whilst confident in my ability both as a trainer and organiser, I was concerned with improving the weaker areas of my management skills, widening my knowledge base and gaining further responsibility.

The Fellowship programme appealed to me because of its flexibility to fit in not only with my career progression but also the demands of raising a family.

When completing my Fellowship plan, I had expected my NVQ Level 3 in Training and Development qualification would be sufficient to meet the criteria of a major achievement. As a result, my objectives set to reach Fellowship status were targeted quite aggressively, from enrolment in February 2002 to expected application to election in November 2002. It was a disappointment to me that this qualification was not set at the correct level, however, I seized the opportunity to progress to NVQ Level 4 in Training and Development once the CII had confirmed that this would be acceptable as my major achievement.

Fellowship plan

My Fellowship plan was formulated on the basis that attainment of FCII status would demonstrate my commitment to continuing professional development and further develop my management skills.

I was assisted in the pursuit of my goals with the formation of a Quality Assurance Department at Head Office and the agreement that the training area would similarly expand. At the beginning of 2002, I became responsible for managing the branch audit programme and an Audit Officer was appointed to form part of the team under my direct control. In November 2002, my responsibilities increased again with the expansion of my team to include a Customer Service Controller dealing with Lloyd's and Chief Executive complaints. My management role now included all aspects of quality assurance within the department. I have learned to co-ordinate these separate, yet interrelated, activities with each other to achieve the best result for the company. In this way, my Fellowship plan assisted in matching my personal objectives with those of my employer.

Changes to Fellowship plan

Completion of the NVQ Level 4 in Training and Development had the effect of delaying the achievement of my objectives laid down in my Fellowship plan by around six months. This turned out to be an excellent opportunity as the higher level NVQ was much more suited to developing my management skills. I enjoyed the challenge of demonstrating competence within the management of training and completed six additional units. Of particular interest and practical use were the modules on evaluating and improving training and development programmes, which led me to implement an ongoing review of existing training material.

Self learning and awareness

With hindsight, the delay in completing my Fellowship objectives proved fortunate. It highlighted that I should lead by example in terms of commitment to continuing professional development and not become complacent. In addition, I was undertaking the Business Ethics Programme at a time when the company introduced business process re-engineering which increased my understanding of this philosophy.

The completion of all aspects of my Fellowship plan has provided significant opportunities for development both personally and professionally. I consider that the most important development areas were those which enabled me to improve my management skills. Attainment of the NVQ Level 4 in Training and Development and completion of the Business Ethics Programme were of particular benefit.

I hadn't expected the Business Ethics Programme to have such an impact on my daily role but it has been instrumental in my thinking and fundamental in my understanding of the wider business issues. The lessons learned were particularly relevant when I participated in a business process re-engineering project. This involved reviewing the job roles of all supervisory levels within the claims organisation. To obtain accurate statistics, it was necessary to handle personally a supervisory workload and I was able to draw on my experience as a supervisor, as well as my training and audit knowledge. The end result was the creation of two new job roles at supervisory level and a revised organisational structure, which was implemented across all sites of 123 Ltd.

Following on from this, I produced a training programme. My awareness of the need for change and benefits to be gained was reflected in the message imparted within the course. I will evaluate the effectiveness of the training and consider any areas that could be improved as part of my involvement in the post-implementation review.

Key skills and knowledge acquired

I feel that in achieving my Fellowship plan objectives I have learned to use new knowledge and skills to their best advantage for both the company and myself. Most of all, I have improved my knowledge of considerations affecting the company outside my own team and department. Involvement in the wider business issues has enabled me to become a more effective manager with greater insight into the objectives sought by the company.

The completion of my CPD records inspired me to hold a Chartered Insurer title and continue with the ongoing maintenance of my CPD records.

The Business Ethics Programme has helped reinforce my own views of ethical decisions, particularly when faced with staff issues ranging from poor performance and unsuitable trainees to recruitment and the pay review. Equally, I am always looking to improve the productivity and performance of all employees through the implementation and review of effective training and development programmes.

Intentions for the future

I take great pride in my work and I wish to continue to be challenged to progress within the Insurance industry. Having achieved my goal of a management position and widened my responsibilities within that role, I feel I have more to offer at a higher management level again. It remains to be seen whether or not this can be accommodated at 123 Ltd.

I am anxious not to become complacent with my achievements to date. This has led me to enrol on a BSc (Hons) in Financial Services degree programme. In this way, I intend to carry on with my Fellowship plan objectives in terms of demonstrating commitment to continuing professional development and further developing my management skills.

SPD - example 3

Example 3

Overview

The initial plan to reach towards the Fellowship was to submit a dissertation on a relevant subject. I had discussions on these lines with my superiors and had tentatively identified some areas. However this plan had to undergo a change, which was primarily brought about because of a job relocation. On review after the job change, I found that acquiring a qualification in Risk Management would in my changed circumstance help both me personally and my employer. I therefore pursued this alternative. Looking back I feel that I have taken the right decision. I have progressed to the post of a General Manager in the company with two promotions in nine years. The Company's business has grown over four times in the past nine years. It was a very fruitful and rewarding experience with the Fellowship plan getting integrated into my work and vice versa.

Plan

After completion of my ACII, I had plans of progressing towards the Fellowship by way of a dissertation on an appropriate technical topic. At that time I was employed in the Head Office Technical Department of an Insurance Company based in the Sultanate of Oman. I had also decided at that time to seek new opportunities on the career front at that time in new markets. Aided by my experience and the ACII qualifications (to no small extent!) I was successful in switching over to a new but rapidly growing Broking Company in the neighboring United Arab Emirates. I joined there as a Technical Manager.

Changes to plan

The new job brought along with it a number of changes to which I had to quickly get used to including adapting to the new role as a Broker (as compared to all my previous positions as an Underwriter) in a very competitive market. My role shifted from that of a purely technical one to that also encompassing administration, marketing and other managerial functions. Further from my Employer's viewpoint the very survival of the company depended on the value added services, which the client would get from a broker. From this angle a company with a better competitive advantage would be the one that has more employees with professional qualifications and competence. This prompted me to review the Fellowship plan. After deliberation and review of the situation it was clear to me that acquiring another professional qualification in a related field would result in a win- win situation for both my Employer and me. After reviewing the various courses available I felt that the Associateship of the Institute of Risk Management would be most suitable and accordingly enrolled for the same.

Self learning and awareness

The additional knowledge gained while doing this course was quite immense. To start with it trained me to look at the risk exposures faced by any organization in a very methodical way. The logical process of collecting information, analyzing the risks, recommending risk transfer mechanisms all became part of the services that could be offered to the clients. This straight away put our company's offerings to the client on a different and unique pedestal. It was possible to suggest comprehensive risk management solutions instead of pure insurance-based solutions.

The CPD (Continuous Professional Development) activities required for completion of the course was equally helpful. Though the activities were part of the job anyway the need to complete this put an added emphasis and focus. I attended as many seminars/ training workshops/ programs as possible and in due course also participated as trainer/ presenter in some of the sessions.

The BEP (Business Ethics Program) was also of considerable practical relevance. After the reading of the course material and going through the case studies it became much easier to resolve things by putting it in the decision making framework suggested. Decision-making became more professional and objective. It helped me arrive at and understand much faster the core issues during meetings internally and externally. I have a proposal of discussing the concepts of this program with the Directors of my company so that they can put it into use in their daily activities as deemed fit.

Key skills and knowledge acquired

The Associateship in Risk management helped me understand many new concepts on Risk Management as previously mentioned. I got the feeling (considering the wide potential of the course) there is a need to gain more in-depth knowledge by supplementary reading on the topics and am therefore pursuing the same. On the insurance front as part of the CPD, training sessions attended helped me in keeping updated with various developments in the products and services. Even more importantly for preparation of the papers of the presentations being done by me a lot of painstaking reading and research was required which helped in keeping updated and gaining a wider perspective. In front of an audience of 50 or more people it can be very embarrassing if a question thrown at you (as the speaker) cannot be answered. After one such experience initially I made it a point to go into any such presentation by not only trying to acquire a thorough knowledge about the subject being discussed but also of any other related areas in which questions can be raised. The CPD activities helped in discovering and building on my potential in public speaking (which was one area where I was not good earlier nor did I have sufficient exposure to the same. In fact to hone up these skills I even attended some sessions at the Toastmasters International public speaking skills meetings). I found that this had a direct impact on my confidence levels as also leadership skills. Looking back it almost seems like the Fellowship programme was tailor made to address the key learning issues that was required of me in my career. Again it was not a digression but a natural progression of my work.

Intentions for the future

I firmly believe that the only way to continued professional growth and development is to continue the learning process throughout the career. After attaining the Fellowship of the Chartered Insurance Institute, I have intentions to continue my academic progression. The courses identified for this purpose include a course in Arbitration (Chartered Institute of Arbitrators) and specialized courses in Reinsurance. I will also be trying to progress to the Fellowship of the Institute of Risk Management. In my current role I also plan to spend more time on internal staff training along with the other external presentations. Within my company I have the good fortune of being recognized as a committed professional and it will be my endeavor to rise up further in the hierarchy.

 

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