Mon 30 Oct. 2017

Council Click with Andrew Dakin

Following a recent career move, I was delighted to be approached to join Bolton’s insurance institute council in March 2017. Being completely honest, I wasn’t entirely sure as to the extent of the role and responsibilities of the wider insurance council. Was it a snooker room full of cigar smoking, whisky consuming distinguished elders? Unfortunately not, however, from the initial AGM meeting I attended, it was apparent that the council was actively seeking younger members, fresh ideas and a robust succession plan, whilst ensuring that the chartered insurance institutes (CII) image remained of upmost professionalism.

I love what I do, I’m not embarrassed to say I love our industry (it is far too often underrated in my opinion), it has been kind to me so far and I’m more than happy to give something back on a voluntary basis. I’m only 6 months or so into my tenure within the council so not for a second am I going to suggest I know its ins and outs, but I am pleasantly surprised at the ‘reach’ of the council, from the education of insurance professionals, incredible charitable support to those connected with our industry, to keeping people active through local sport. Equally stimulating has been meeting the other members of the council; like-minded people who genuinely care about the future of the industry and many of whom have been supporting its progression via the council for many years, within numerous roles. Hats off to them!

My role, as it stands is to support two distinct sub-committees, one being the sports/social committee which is naturally an area of interest to me, but also the careers committee which is actually of more interest. At no point during my education was any information provided to me regarding the plethora of career opportunities housed under the banner of ‘Insurance.’ Upon leaving University I had no plans to join the insurance industry and more by luck than judgement did this occur some 9 years ago. The council are extremely passionate about not only improving the lines of communication between local educational institutions and the industry, but also in improving the perception of the industry, moving it away from my previously noted stereotype and highlighting the vast array of dynamic career opportunities which exist within our sector. The only way to do this is to raise a positive profile of the industry within schools, colleges and universities to ensure that students leave their education with an informed understanding of what actually goes on within our sector, the vast array of apprenticeships and graduate schemes available, as well as continuing professional development via the CII. This will, over time, start to change the archaic view that the industry is an old man’s club. Rather, there is vast investment into Tech start-ups, drones supporting claim inspections, artificial intelligence, smart home adoption, cyber criminals testing major insurers resolve and the challenges associated with driverless cars to name just a few. Never is there a dull day in our industry and I am sure that will continue for the foreseeable future…

Most recently we have exhibited at Bolton School’s career fair, alongside universities, gap year providers, the emergency services and many major local employers, with the aim of raising awareness amongst talented youngsters of the array of career opportunities available within our industry. At present, I doubt many leave school, college or universities with the same desire to join our industry as they do within other sectors. This is a process which will take time. This is a starting point for us and we are currently exploring opportunities with local businesses to provide annual work experience, apprenticeship and graduate opportunities in partnership with the council. This will further bridge the gap between the iGeneration and our industry, as well as creating improved relationships between key stakeholders. Hopefully over the coming years we can create a proposition which means youngsters do leave their education with a career in insurance at the forefront of their mind.

Daniel Ashton, Managing Director of Virtus Validations advised, “We are very pleased to see that Andy has taken it upon himself to support our local insurance council on a voluntary basis. He is a prime example of someone who has joined the market at a young age and already added great value to it. I am confident that he will pass on his experiences and gain buy in from the youngsters he meets during his tenure with the council, with a view to continually improving our industry perception and qualities.”