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Thokozile Mahlangu | The importance of CPD in an ever-changing insurance landscape

Thokozile Mahlangu | The importance of CPD in an ever-changing insurance landscape
26-05-23 / Thokozile Mahlangu

Thokozile Mahlangu | The importance of CPD in an ever-changing insurance landscape

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is not only a key component of career advancement in the insurance industry, but also especially important in the context of an ever-evolving insurance landscape as insurance professionals must maintain professional competence amid shifting market demands and expectations.

With the global insurance industry perpetually evolving, insurance professionals are coming under increasing pressure to continually update their skills and knowledge as new products, regulations and technologies are emerging at a steady pace.

Thus, CPD enables insurance professionals to provide the best possible service to their clients, while also being a critical factor in driving career advancement and business success as it builds trust and confidence in the professional’s knowledge and abilities.

At the same time, companies in the insurance space are placing increased emphasis on hiring professionals who can demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and development and are willing to invest time and effort in their personal and professional growth, according to the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) – an organisation that IISA is affiliated to.

There can also be little doubt that CPD can lead to increased job satisfaction, not only by paving the way for career advancement, but also by ensuring that insurance professionals  gain a sense of fulfilment through pursuing learning and development opportunities that are aligned with their interests and career goals. This can have a positive impact on motivation and attitude towards work.

However, CPD is arguably more important than ever at a time of continual change in the corporate risk landscape, with new risks emerging and others accelerating due to factors such as an uncertain operating environment, economic pressure, political instability and even weather-related risks like climate change.

In addition, the insurance industry has had to continually adapt to various other challenges ranging from the recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to significant regulatory and technology-related changes that continue to reshape the insurance landscape.

CPD is thus the ongoing process of professional learning and development of skills undertaken by insurance professionals throughout the course their career and it may be undertaken in a variety of ways and is not restricted to the attendance of formalised sessions.

In fact, CPD includes various learning methods such as workshops, conferences and e-learning courses, which can also be accompanied by on-the-job training or professional learning, allowing professionals to broaden their knowledge and expertise with the industry.

Essentially, CPD is a continual process of action and reflection that puts insurance professionals in control of their own development, as they set objectives based on their needs, which include personal career goals, as well as those driven by changing industry dynamics.

Insurance professionals should be aware of the fact that CPD can positively influence and advance their career in various ways. Firstly, through the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. This is one of the key benefits of CPD, as it can contribute directly to their job performance.

Secondly, another major benefit of CPD is that it can assist insurance professionals to build their reputation and credibility within the insurance industry. Through actively pursuing learning opportunities and staying up to date with industry trends and developments, intermediaries can show their commitment to the insurance sector and their desire to be the best in their field. This can obviously lead to further opportunities for advancement and bigger job satisfaction.

Thirdly, CPD is key to meeting regulatory requirements and to retain ones professional designation with IISA.  Professional members of IISA are required   to complete 18 CPD hours per year to maintain their membership.

Insurance professionals should view professional membership as a means of remaining competitive against their peers and as a way to differentiate themselves in situation when this is required, such as for example in job interviews or when pitching to potential clients for new business. As an increasing number of insurance professionals  in the industry obtain similar qualifications, the importance of becoming accredited as a professional member becomes even more pronounced as a way of enabling individuals to stand out from the crowd.

It is, therefore, critical that that insurance professionals adopt a planned approach to their career path by becoming accredited professional members as it allows them to firmly take charge of their own career development and can help them to attain various professional goals. Ultimately, professional membership boils down to personal and professional empowerment through learning as it increases confidence and develops abilities that correspond to an improvement in capabilities that can be effectively leveraged within the working environment.

*Thokozile Mahlangu is the Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA).

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