4+ Reasons that Organizations Like IAIP are Critical to the Insurance and Risk Management Industries

By Brenda McDermott, CPCU, CLP, CIIP, SCLA, AIDA, ARM, AIC

More and more education and professional development is being left up to the individual. Membership in industry organizations is critical to help bridge the gap between on-the-job training and skills needed to meet the challenges insurers and risk managers face today. 

So, what are those four (plus) reasons that make professional organizations critical to the insurance industry?

Number One:  Education. Today’s insurance company training is focused on doing the job – using the computer, the insurer’s processes, and standards – how to do the job the company’s way. For seasoned insurance professionals that may be enough but for newer employees entering the industry it may not.  Think about when you were starting your insurance career. How many visits did you make to your supervisor’s cubicle with questions? In today’s remote and virtual world, reaching your supervisor for an urgent question can often be a frustrating challenge. Frustration leads to job dissatisfaction and loss of staff or poor performance. Knowledge and employee development lead to job satisfaction and success. 

Soft skills are often not part of the training or internal education provided due to increasing demands on the training staff’s time and shrinking resources. The International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP) offers Confidence While Communicating (CWC) and the Certified Leadership Professional (CLP and CLP-A) programs to provide soft skills for professional development and improved communication skills. 

Number 1A. Every job an insurance professional does, no matter their role in the industry, requires effective communication – both verbal and written. Verbal for phone calls, presentations, meetings with staff and clients. Written communication can be emails/ texts/ IMs to reports and letters.  Clear, concise, engaging, and productive communication is needed.

Number 1B. We need more than just the essentials of our job to perform our work successfully. We need to resolve conflicts, navigate difficult decisions and delegation, and collaborate with co-workers to reach a consensus. CLP and CLP-A provide the essential soft skill tools developing insurance and risk management professionals need. 

Number 1C. Today’s onboarding is very limited and generic. It can’t be tailored for an individual’s training needs. New employees get the basic ‘this is how Company X does it’ and how to use the various computer programs and applications. Often specifics such as jurisdictional nuances, how to read a policy, or what policy covers a risk are left to the employee to learn or find out on their own. This is where IAIP’s ICAN! education series can help new insurance professionals learn about policy language and what risk what policy covers. But beyond offering learning opportunities, this need leads me to critical reason number two.

Number Two: Mentoring and networking. IAIP and professional organizations offer their members connections with people across the country of various roles, expertise and experiences who can be a valuable resource or mentor for an insurance professional. Knowing you can reach out for help, advice, guidance, or special expertise to a fellow member who has been there –and made it– can provide a level of comfort and boost your confidence that you can find the answers you need to succeed.

Number Three: The ability to learn about other career opportunities and trends that impact the insurance industry.  IAIP through Today’s Insurance Professionals blogs, webinars, special interest and mastermind groups, educational programs, and convention attendance can share knowledge about our industry and the factors that impact it. Think climate change, AI, nuclear verdicts, and the increased use of technology in our industry. IAIP offers members through all these resources, and videos on our YouTube channel, ways to explore other career opportunities and to gain knowledge that make you more informed and valuable to your employer in your current and future roles. This brings me to our last reason IAIP, and organizations like it are critical to the insurance industry.

Number Four: Career and professional development. IAIP offers its members leadership experience by serving on the board or chairing a committee or task force. Through working on boards or committees, members develop their decision making, negotiating, collaborating and consensus building skills.  IAIP –through its educational programs – give members designations to demonstrate their dedication to continuing education and learning and commitment to their own professional development and the insurance industry. Professionals who have knowledge and resources, and the skills to meet the challenges the insurance industry faces today and, in the future, get noticed. They show decision makers that they are ready for new opportunities when they come, and that they can be counted on to get the job done and done well. 

Insurance professionals who belong to IAIP and organizations like it become more valuable to their employer and the insurance industry.  Using the knowledge and connections an insurance professional gains through their membership helps the new insurance professional of today be the industry leader of tomorrow, ready to meet the challenges, to reinvent the insurance product, and keep it viable for years to come. 

Brenda McDermott, CPCU, CLP, SCLA, CIIP, SCLA, ARM, AIDA, AIC is a workers’ compensation claims specialist in The Hartford’s Major Case Unit.  She is a past International Rookie, Claims Professional of the Year, Risk Management Professional of the Year and International CWC Speak-Off winner. She was the 2022 Region V Insurance Professional of the Year.  She has been a long-term member of IAIP and served in multiple offices at the local, state, and regional levels. A past Region 5 RVP she is currently serving as the Region 5 Marketing Director and Assistant to the RVP. She is co-chair of the International Marketing and Today’s Insurance Professionals committee. She is an MAL in Region 5 from Missouri.

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