Revised requirements in terms of underlying qualifications

01 April 2013 Prof J Marx & Mrs Cecilia de Swardt, UNISA Centre for Business Management

In terms of the prescribed requirements set by SAQA for professional bodies, the Unisa IISA Programmes in Insurance will no longer meet the requirement as the underlying qualifications for the various membership designations of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA). A grace period of three years was however granted by SAQA during which the Unisa programmes will still be accepted for the various membership designations. The IISA Programmes will, in the light of the revised requirements, be phased out during the period 2013-2015 and be replaced by a Higher Certificate in Insurance.

The Insurance Institute of South Africa was awarded Professional Body Status by SAQA towards the end of November 2012. One of the benefits of the accreditation is the official recognition of the designations of Licentiate (LIISA), Associate (AIISA) and Fellow (FIISA).

The aforementioned recognition has the following implications for new and current applicants of the various IISA designations:
• All new applicants for the Licentiate membership designation will be required to meet the revised prescribed requirements laid down by SAQA. In terms of the revised requirements, all new applicants for Licentiate membership must have completed a Higher Certificate in Insurance of 120 credits in order to be awarded Licentiate membership. The qualification must be a SAQA registered, full qualification of 120 credits on NQF5.
• Members who obtained their designated memberships prior to 2013 will keep the designations based on historical requirements and need not reapply for the recognition of their designated membership.

Implications for the current Unisa programmes in insurance

The current Unisa programmes are offered as Short Learning Programmes (SLPs) and are quality controlled by Unisa, whilst Unisa as an institution is responsible to the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) for quality assurance purposes. In view of this, Unisa (like all the other public universities in South Africa) does not have to be registered with SAQA. These programmes are also not full qualifications and as such do not comply with the revised requirements set by SAQA for the professional designations.

SAQA has nevertheless granted the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) a grace period of three years in which the Unisa programmes will still be accepted for the various IISA professional designations. This implies that all Unisa students who complete the programmes during the period 2013-2015 can still apply for Licentiate and other designations based on the Unisa Short Learning Programmes (SLPs).

Obtaining approval to offer Higher Certificate in Insurance (HCI)

Unisa is in the process of obtaining approval from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to offer a Higher Certificate in Insurance (HC Insurance) as from 2015. The HC Insurance will be a full qualification of 120 credits at NQF5 and comply with the requirements set for the Licentiate designation.

The HC Insurance will be offered by the Department of Finance, Risk Management and Banking at Unisa. The curriculum will include insurance, accounting and management modules such as Financial Accounting, Business Management, Business Communication and Customer Service.

The current Unisa short learning programmes in insurance will be phased out over the period 2014-15. Students who have not completed the programmes by the end of 2015 will have the option to articulate to the Higher Certificate in Insurance and apply for exemptions for the insurance modules passed as part of the IISA programmes.

The 50% rule on exemptions as required by Unisa will, however, apply; in other words a maximum of five out of the 10 modules in the Higher Certificate may be exempted.

Three-year grace period

In the light of the aforementioned it is important for all current Unisa CBM insurance students to endeavour to complete their studies by 2014/2015 in order to qualify for the Licentiate and other designations during the grace period granted by SAQA.

Students who completed the Unisa programmes prior to 2012 and who have not applied for professional membership at IISA are urged to apply as soon as possible to make use of the three-year grace period.

Unisa CBM might continue to offer SLPs in Insurance, but some curriculum changes are foreseen to accommodate the requirements of the insurance industry beyond 2015.

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