President's Message

Waking up to a new world and building on skills

It’s a great privilege to take on the presidency of our Institute and to do so at such a fascinating, if uncertain, time for both the insurance industry and the world.

On behalf of the Institute and our members, I would like to thank Chris Lay as our outgoing President. Chris has made a huge contribution to our industry over the last 12 months.

Collectively, we have a duty to remember our purpose and why we are here, and that the work we do is about more than simply insuring or reinsuring. We have to embrace the complex world staring us in the face.

A strong and confident insurance industry will make for a calmer and more assured world. There are three fundamental areas I believe we can harness and build on to realise the vital role we can play in supporting all of our clients.

Holding ourselves to account on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
As an industry, we still have much to do on diversity and inclusion but there is more momentum now than at any stage previously. What's particularly encouraging is the determination across the board to make progress and resounding agreement that, to "do nothing" is no longer acceptable.

To face the challenges ahead, we need to bring together diverse talent, perspectives and insights to contribute to the development of our careers through training and professional development and ongoing recruitment into the industry.

Progress has been evident, as the latest Lloyd's cultural survey shows promising signs of improvement year-on-year, particularly with increasing parity across gender in leadership positions at a senior management level. But there is still much for us to do. And to challenge ourselves on.

Embracing our purpose and societal relevance
Our work is about enabling those we provide for to 'get on' with what they are doing with peace of mind and security. This is an important mission which we all have a responsibility to go out there, promote and protect.

In a very real sense, nearly every single person in the world is in some way provided for by our work, directly or indirectly.

Our impact is on food supplies being shipped across warzones; livelihoods being protected from economic shocks and accidents; artificial intelligence presenting cyber risks to businesses and governments; and climate change driving an energy transition with cutting-edge technological sophistication at unprecedented speeds.

In a sophisticated and rapidly changing world, our mission to cultivate knowledge and understanding in all matters relating to the branches of insurance has never been more important.

A case in point. As we transition towards net zero, it is important we harness the role insurers can play in being an enabler of the energy transition. It is one of the greatest growth opportunities for our sector for a generation, but this work is clearly tied to our responsibility to society.

We have the capital, knowledge and insights to continue showing and demonstrating our role as a valued partner to broader society.

The importance of skills
And if we keep the Net Zero opportunity front of mind, firms across our industry will be responding to the green transition in their own ways and with their own visions for what the future looks like. Undeniably, a key recurring theme and conversation will be skills and adapting to the new skills requirements of a future and greener world.

For example, we’ll need new skills to write risks in green areas, skills to build knowledge of differing technological paths, skills to use everything from data and analytics through to our relationships with customers to provide the very best products and offering.

Looking more broadly, while we live in a period of uncertainty, our talents and perspectives have never been more important.

To embrace our societal role, this won't be delivered without a diverse range of skills and a commitment to education and training. This is critical to our membership and our institution. And let me be clear – skills is not just a term for those at the beginning of their professional development. We should all be keeping the importance of upskilling close to the front of our minds. And if we do this, we will unlock the next generation of insights, products and solutions for our customers.

As members of the IIL, and the wider insurance community, we must double down on our commitment to the skills we need across the entire workforce. Only through this will we truly play our role in addressing the challenges facing society.