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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is necessary in an ever-evolving insurance sector

27 May 2020 Thokozile Mahlangu, Chief Executive Officer at the Insurance Institute of South Africa

Even in unprecedented times, the onus for our individual career development rests on us. We cannot hold anyone at ransom for how fast or slowly we get to climb the corporate ladder. Those of us with a vision, goal and a plan often get there faster than others because we utilise all the tools at our disposal to this end.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a means of staying up to date with market activity, changes in legislation and practice, changes in areas of specialization, or simply to study further in fields related to your market or interests. It provides means to constantly learn and sharpen ones skills in order to provide efficient and superior expert service to their clients and to keep abreast with what is happening around us.

In a digital world that’s beginning to open up, CPD will play a bigger role than ever. Those who have kept their finger on the pulse of activities within the sector will reap the best results. The recognition of insurance as an essential service during the national lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic is an indication of the importance of the insurance profession. This is the time to delve into the IISA elearning platform and virtual training that are currently underway. It’s time to be immersed in knowledge that you may not have time to attain during a normal year.

The deadline for professional membership CPD is 31 May.

Members are advised to take advantage of the elearning platform, and virtual training through online platforms. Together, these can go a long way in assisting members to enhance their knowledge and be up to date with their CPD requirements.

All activities must be completed within the cycle in order to be accepted. Any CPD requirements or activities completed before or after the applicable cycle will not be accepted. They fall either into the previous cycle or the next.

Knowing and complying with your CPD requirements also leaves room to go beyond your designated hours per year, which means that you acquire more knowledge in your field than is prescribed. This translates favourably to your career path as it allows you to be a league above your peers, to offer more than just the mundane. After all CPD should not be treated as a tick-box exercise, but rather taken as an opportunity for career and knowledge advancement.

More and more the insurance sector is becoming client focused. Data gained from Millennial and Generation Z clients (current and future) shows a more attentive and demanding customer base. To meet the needs of these clients, we will have to do more than we’ve done before. To do more we need to understand what more can be done within bounds. This knowledge is readily available through the use of accredited courses in the sector.

We cannot be complacent about the direction this industry should go. We must be vigilant and willing to take the necessary steps in advancing the sector as a whole through the advancement of our own personal development. Upskilling is therefore no longer a luxury or even an option, we literally cannot know enough. Whenever we get to the point of being unteachable, that’s when we should seek out skills enhancement opportunities more vigorously. It is important, in ever changing times, to stay in a position of constant learning.
As English clergyman William Pollard once said: “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

You can never be ahead of knowledge, and you are not called to be. What is required of you is to remain curious and never stop learning. This way, you will keep up with the motions of an ever-evolving industry.

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