One of the biggest challenges facing the insurance sector in Asia is the shortage of quality talent and a leadership pipeline. Importantly, the kinds of leaders needed in the new digital age will embrace Industrial Revolution 4.0 and will be technocrats. Singapore and Hong Kong are addressing these challenges.
Insurance Management Associate Programme (iMAP), Singapore
Launched in 2009 in Singapore, it is a structured two-year fast track talent programme that offers bright young talent professional accreditation and certifications, structured on-the-job training linked to cross-functional rotations, mentorship, international exposure, ethics training, special activities and talks. iMAP also provides structured post-programme career development with a view to leadership.
Since 2009, some 233 fresh graduates, with good class honours degrees, from a diverse range of disciplines have been attracted to join the Singapore insurance and reinsurance industry through iMAP. More than 90% of them have remained in the industry, and some 70% of them are still with their first employer. In terms of professional certification, more than 90% of them achieved their ACII professional designation at the end of the 2-year iMAP. Two of them (see next page) recently obtained their ACII within a year under the iMAP route. It typically takes about 3-5 years to obtain the designation.
“Tokio Marine has been a supporter of the industry-wide iMAP and our experience has been good. The industry needs a strong pipeline of insurance leaders to support its continued growth and development and both the GIA internship programme and the iMAP are channels through which the industry can renew itself”, said Mr A K Cher, CEO & Managing Director, Tokio Marine Insurance.
AXA Insurance Deputy Director (Talent Management and Development), Ms Monica Alcid said, “Investing in the Management Associate’s professional credentials does much to deepen their technical knowledge and broadens their knowledge, which helps them analyse situations holistically later on.”
In terms of career progression, all started as a Graduate Trainee/Management Associate and so far have attained Vice President, Assistant Vice President, Broking Director, Catastrophe Analyst, Group Senior Risk Manager, Pricing Actuary and Senior Underwriter designations.
“As the premier professional body for the insurance and financial planning professions, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) promotes higher standards of integrity, technical competence and business capability. With 125,000 members in 150 countries, the CII is the world’s largest professional body dedicated to these sectors. We are pleased to have been part of the iMAP journey”, said Regional Corporate Development Director, Asia Pacific, Ms Helen Roberts.
Young Insurance Executive Development Programme (YIE), Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) has also launched the YIE programme in March 2015 in association with the Institute of Professional Education And Knowledge (PEAK) of Vocational Training Council (VTC). Targeting university graduates or diploma holders with at least one year working experience, the programme combines practical on-the-job-training with academic studies. Upon successful completion of the course, they will receive a Professional Diploma in Insurance. To date, over 30 have enrolled in the programme of whom 12 have attained the Professional Diploma in Insurance.
“We believe the YIE Programme will help to build a strong talent pipeline and groom the necessary young insurance professionals to support the rapid and healthy growth of our industry”, said Chief Executive of HKFI, Mr Peter C H Tam.
Developing Leadership Talent for ASEAN
SCI has contributed to boosting educational standards across the region. Since its first intake in 2006, 560 young insurance managers have been trained under the ASEAN School for Young Insurance Managers (AYIM) programme. The five-day programme is designed around five universal management themes and offers a good blend of theory and practice.
There has also been demand for an additional follow-up programme – AYIM II – focusing on agile leadership, insurance innovation through human centred design, building a robust cyber risk management framework and more. This programme will be launched later this year.
Future Young Insurance Leaders (YILs) Group (Asia)
In Asia, the two powerhouses in Insurance Education & Professional Development, CII and SCI will collaborate in more Young Talent Development Initiatives. There are plans to link the various YILs groups set up in Hong Kong, Singapore and other parts of Asia via virtual modes.
The strategic intent is to create a platform for networking and educational events to promote professionalism and encourage new talent to enter the markets. Talks by CEOs and subject-matter experts are being planned to be held on a regular basis. Virtual learning communities of the YILs will also be set up where learning resources can be shared and collaborative learning activities can be organised on the virtual platform.
CII Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Dr Matthew Connell said, “Our New Generation work challenges young professionals to identify issues affecting public trust, and then plan and implement practical measures to address the issues they have raised, using training and support from the CII. These kind of initiatives help talented professionals to develop communication and problem-solving skills in an environment that supports but also challenges them, preparing them for a future of rapid and fundamental change.