The Institute's history

The Insurance Institute of Coventry was created as a local institute of The Chartered Insurance Institute in 1949 to serve the CII membership in the City of Coventry and surrounding towns. Prior to this, Coventry was a sub-branch of The Birmingham Insurance Institute and the working ties between these two local instututes are as strong today as they have ever been.

The following extracts from the minutes of the Institute provide more details of the origin and history of the Insurance Institute of Coventry:-

A meeting was held at the Central Library, Trinity Churchyard, Coventry on 7th May 1934 of insurance officials to consider the formation of an offshoot of the Birmingham Institute for Coventry. The meeting was chaired by Mr S. Kinsey of the Royal and eight gentlemen were elected to constitute the first committee. Mr Kinsey and his Deputy, Sidney Bayliss were to play a pivotal role in the establishment of the Institute, the former remaining on the committee for 14 years. He was made a Life member of the Institute in 1949 when Coventry became a full Institute and not just a centre for Birmingham.

The first committee of the full Institute broke with tradition and elected a woman to its ranks followed in 1957 by the first woman President, Miss D C Bailey. She later went on to become a Vice President of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

The first Coventry Centre organised a programme of lectures and social events including the Annual Dinner which was a modest affair by today’s standards costing just six shillings and sixpence a head. In 1936 it coincided with the abdication speech by Edward VIII and a wireless set was installed in the ballroom of the venue so everyone could listen to it.

Education and examinations have always been of great importance to Coventry and in the early years exams were held at one of the local insurance offices. Today we benefit from the use of Coventry University’s facilities.

In 1936 a knockout cricket competition was organised against other local Institutes with the final being played at the County ground at Edgbaston. Coventry were victorious !

By 1939 Coventry Institute had 100 members but war was to bring a temporary halt to proceedings. It was not until 1946 that the Committee met again to organise a programme of events designed to grow the Institute again.

The widespread appeal of that new entertainment medium, the television made harvesting support for the Institute difficult but it continued to grow. After it became a full Institute past Presidents were asked to become Presidents in alternate years and every other year a new member was elected. Walter Roxborough became the first broker President in 1950 and introduced Whist Drives which became a major source of fund raising for the Insurance Charities until the rise of Bingo.

In the early days Insurance in Coventry was conducted in small offices but by the 1970s larger groups had Branch offices, representatives of National Brokers and Loss Adjusters and even one Head Office in the city. The situation in the 21st century is that most of the insurers have moved their branches out of Coventry and the present day committee is made up of mostly brokers and financial advisors.

If you were a member of the Institute in “the good old days” please get in touch with us if you would like to add any snippets to our history page. We’d love to hear from you.

Write to: Janet Bodycote

Circle Insurance Services Plc, 118 Holyhead Road, Coventry CV1 3LY

Tel : 024 7625 7444

E-mail: janet.bodycote@circlegroup.co.uk

The President's Chain of Office