On Monday 12th March 1888 a meeting was held at the Queens Hotel Leeds to consider establishing an Insurance Institute for Leeds.

It was agreed at this meeting that an Institute be founded and a provisional committee was formed. On Monday 26th March a Constitution was agreed and the first Officers and Council were elected.

A local Insurance Institute was born in the City of Leeds although it was in fact named The Insurance Institute of Yorkshire.

During the summer of that year, 89 people paid subscriptions of £1.1s.0d for Full members of 5/- for Associates.

An inaugural Dinner was held on Friday 12th October 1888, which was immediately preceded by the Inaugural General Meeting. The first President to be elected was J Allan Cunninghame, General Manager of the “Yorkshire” based in York.

From the beginning, education was the principal purpose and in the first year, 3 lectures were held. Here was the beginning of lectures and examinations, albeit on a local basis.

In 1891 The Annual Meeting approved a resolution permitting “Associates” to vote at meetings and take part in the management of the Institute. At this time there were 68 Associates and 42 Full Members.

In 1889/90 in addition to the 3 lectures, work visits were arranged for students to see first hand premises and processes of the kind they were insuring.

In March 1897, James Ostler, then President of Manchester Institute, invited the 10 existing institutes to a conference in Manchester where resolutions were passed to:

1) The formation of an association to be called “The Federation of Insurance Institutes of Great Britain and Ireland.
2) The setting up of a Council and an executive committee.
3) The production of papers on the various branches of insurance and their publication in an annual volume.
4) A joint scheme of Certificates to Insurance Officials for efficiency in examinations and for essays relating to insurance business and cognate subjects.

The Federation came into being in August 1897.

The task of putting the 4th resolution into effect was given to The Yorkshire Institute who were responsible in preparing examination papers and arranging for examination centres.

The first of these examinations were held in May 1899 consisting of 6 papers in fire insurance, two on life subjects and one each on employers liability, accident, marine and book-keeping and an examination in shorthand and typing for which candidates had to provide their own typewriters!!!

These examinations were held in the evenings between 5.45pm and 10.00pm and on Saturdays between 2.00pm and 9.00pm to avoid encroachment on business hours.
How things have changed!

During the early years of the 20th century the local Institute continued to develop. More and more classes were formed and Yorkshire was way ahead of all the other provincial institutes both in the examination candidates and in the number of papers submitted.

The Royal Charter was granted in 1912 and the now “Chartered Insurance Institute” achieved a new status and importance with the membership continuing to grow.

In 1927, the Prudential generously provided the Presidential Badge to mark the Presidency of Mr Bernard Humphrey of the Prudential. This badge is still worn today.

When Aldermanbury, the home of the CII was opened in London in 1934, The Insurance Institute of Yorkshire provided the centre table for the Conference Hall and was the first provincial institute to send a party to visit the new premises.

The Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in 1948 and as a result of draft amendments to the original Charter, 1949 gave many Institutes the opportunity to become a local Institute in their own right, the Insurance Institute of Leeds became such an institute on the 1st April 1950. The first President of the new Leeds Institute was Alex C Thomson.

In 1988 the Insurance Institute of Leeds celebrated its Centenary when the President was Malcolm S Beer, JP, FCILA, ACII. Many events were organised and Leeds hosted the national conference of the CII in Harrogate. In addition, a book on the history of the Institute was written by Eric Johnson from which this article is based.

Listed below are Leeds President’s who went on to become National Presidents:

J B Roberts (Leeds President 1896, 1897 & 1918 – National President 1916)
Sir James Hamilton (Leeds President 1909 & 10 – National President 1913)
A W Sneath (Leeds President 1911 & 1919 – National President 1925)
H Routh (Leeds President 1931 – National President 1952)

The Insurance Institute of Leeds continues to provide the original purpose of education, in order to promote professionalism within the industry.