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New Insurance Education Opportunities: Australian College of Insurance Studies (ACIS)

The ongoing erosion of public trust in the Australian insurance industry isdriving the need for more comprehensive, relevant education and training to rehabilitate professional standards within the industry, according to the newly created Australian Collegeof Insurance Studies (ACIS).

Spearheaded by leading academics, lawyers and insurance professionals – and backed by the University of Western Australia and University of Queensland – ACIS has been established to lift education standards in the general and life insurance sectors. The faculty is led by Dr Ian Enright, Fred Hawke, Professor Rob Merkin QC, Greg Pynt and Samantha Traves, many ofwhom provided guidance on the insurance industry and required reforms to the Financial Services Royal Commission.

The ACIS program is Australia’s first comprehensive, tertiary-level education and vocationaltraining program, designed specifically for insurance practitioners and service providers,including policymakers, actuaries, claim managers and regulators.

From March 2021, ACIS will offer a range of online and on-campus courses through the University of Western Australia and University of Queensland as single subjects, graduatecertificates and graduate diplomas. ACIS is also developing a Masters of Insurance Business,which will cover governance, risk, accounting, actuarial, pricing, underwriting and claimsmanagement subjects.

“The level and amount of complexity in insurance has increased significantly over the pastdecade and continues to accelerate but education and training has not kept pace, creating potential issues for customers, shareholders and other stakeholders,” Dr Enright said.
“In the near future, due to FASEA’s higher education requirements, the financial planners andbrokers who recommend insurance are likely to be more highly qualified than those who develop and manage insurance products. In order to restore trust in the sector, consumers need to be confident that insurance leaders and key suppliers to the industry understand the fundamentals as well as the more sophisticated and complex elements.”

The past few years have seen mounting criticism of the ‘bad behaviour’ within the industry, seen largely in reports of bullying, intrusive surveillance and incompetency at the Financial Services Royal Commission and later in criticism of the industry’s subsequent inaction. Inrecent months, the competence issue has again been highlighted by the industry’sunsuccessful attempts to use a pandemic exclusion using outdated legislation; the errorhas forced insurers to increase COVID-19 loss reserves by millions and the cost of theerror will be in the order of $1 billion. These costs will affect the whole community as claimsare disputed and premiums rise.

“There’s still a lot of on-the-job training in insurance, which is a good start provide dmanagers are suitably qualified, experienced and competent, however, the financialprotection of millions of Australian policyholders is too important to leave to chance,” Dr Enright said. “Industry leaders need to closely examine their businesses and people, and objectively assess if their structure and culture supports and rewards innovation andprofessional development.”
Dr Enright added: “Two years on from the Financial Services Royal Commission, theinsurance industry must demonstrate that decisive action is being taken to addressidentified failures and plug the gap between current competency levels and required competency levels.”

AILA is a proud to support ACIS and their educational program. 

View the ACIS latest course brochure HERE or contact the College directly via info@auscis.org.au



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