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The roots of the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII) go back to 1970 when the Bermuda Insurance Diploma Association (BIDA) was formed by 12 leading insurers.  These leaders envisioned future growth in the Bermuda market, and recognized that there was a need for a well trained work force that would be ready to fill some of the needs presented by the expansion.  Through the collaborative effort of the executives of these leading insurers, a movement began to ensure that people involved in the Bermuda insurance market, and those that were interested in pursuing careers in insurance had the opportunity to study insurance locally.

 

The transition from the BIDA to the BII as we know it today occurred during the mid-1970’s. From those early days, the objectives of the BII were clearly set out and remain steadfast today:

 

  • to create and maintain a central organization for people engaged in or associated with the insurance industry,
  • to hold seminars and workshops on topics related to the insurance industry,
  • to encourage and assist the study of any subject bearing upon any branch of insurance, and to promote social interaction amongst members.

 

In the early years, the primary supporters of the BII were the local insurance companies, which offered the full range of personal and commercial insurance products.  Classes were therefore offered in all disciplines of insurance, life and pensions.  Classes were held in the evenings at the offices of the original supporting members, most often at the Bermuda Fire & Marine Insurance Company, and instruction was given by the first Director of Education and Training, Ken Oakley, who was an experienced UK insurance technician.

 

As demand for classes increased, experienced working members of the Bermuda insurance industry began to volunteer their time to teach. The willingness of these individuals to give back to the insurance community has been a hugely important piece of the development of the Bermuda insurance work force.  It has allowed students the opportunity to interact with those already engaged in the industry, and has also enabled the senior practitioners to meet new entrants to the market and to provide opportunities to those with the talent and ambition to succeed.

 

Classes were initially held using the classrooms of the Bermuda College at Prospect in Devonshire, and later at its new facility in Paget.  Predominantly, training was based on the introductory courses offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) in the UK.  The intention was to offer basic foundation courses that were accredited by CII towards further study.  Ultimately, students would strive to achieve the Associate or Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII/FCII) professional insurance accreditations. These foundation courses evolved into the Bermuda Insurance Diploma (BID), which was formatted to allow the continuing student to choose either the UK or the US Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) route to professional designation.

 

In addition to the classes offered by the BII, introductory seminars and workshops were introduced for those just entering the insurance industry or those in related professions who required a basic understanding of the types of insurance transacted in Bermuda.  The Bermuda market went through rapid growth through the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the increase in activity by captive insurers and international companies changed the face of the insurance business on the island.  At that time, emphasis for seminars and workshops was focused on insurance and its related practices, as well as on developments in the Captive Insurance Management business.

 

In the early 1990’s, the reinsurance market began its exponential growth in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, proving that there was an appropriate regulatory environment and superior level of professional and technical insurance knowledge that allowed Bermuda companies to continually evolve to meet changing market needs.  This ongoing change underscored the fact that if Bermudians were to become suitably qualified to fulfil roles in the insurance industry, their development would need to be supported with a high quality local training facility.

 

In 1994, the BII secured its permanent office location in the Cedarpark Centre on Cedar Avenue in Hamilton.  Classes and seminars began to be held during the lunch and daytime periods rather than in the evenings, making full use of the BII’s new headquarters.  More topics related to reinsurance and underwriting were introduced in response to the influx of reinsurance companies and expanded lines of business.

 

In the early 1990’s some of the BII’s member companies expressed interest in locals having the opportunity to achieve university level business degrees while working and studying in Bermuda.  In 1994 the BII partnered with the New York-based College of Insurance, through which a Masters in Business Administration in Risk Management program was offered on a part-time study basis, for professionals working in the industry.  The small number of graduates rendered it uneconomical on an ongoing basis, but the initiative exemplifies the BII’s role in identifying the needs of its member companies and facilitating the educational programs required.

 

As business in Bermuda became more integrated with international jurisdictions outside of the UK, and as more US business was being transacted in the Bermuda market, the need for professionals knowledgeable in US forms, regulations and standards increased.  This resulted in a shift in insurance education from being predominantly UK/CII focused, to more equality with US/CPCU. People in the Bermuda industry began courses of self-study for the CPCU program, and were required to travel to the US to complete the examinations.  In the early 1990’s, the BII was granted permission to proctor CPCU examinations in Bermuda, and later became an on-site testing facility for the Insurance Institute of America (IIA) and the CPCU.

 

In recent years, the appeal of the US-based insurance programs has dramatically outweighed the preference for the CII course of study in Bermuda.  This is partly due to the increased volume of US business now written in Bermuda.  Many students also cite the short answer and multiple choice style of examination, the ability to write examinations on-line, and the very quick provision of final results as reasons they prefer the CPCU over the ACII.  Based on demand, most of the classes and examinations offered by the BII today are related to the IIA and CPCU programs.  With the increasing demands of working in the industry, and the high level of responsibility people are often facing much earlier in their insurance careers, more people are now opting to self-study rather than attend classes.  The ongoing process of reassessment therefore continues for the BII, to find more ways to support those engaged in self study, while still providing classes in areas in which there is still high student demand.

 

In the early 2000’s, the BII converted some of its premises to establish a computerized testing centre, and began to offer CPCU examinations electronically.  The computers are now also used for other types of examinations, including the BID, which was offered electronically for the first time in early 2008. The BID is no longer offered as the majority of students opt for designations via the Institutes in the USA.

 

 

Many seminars and workshops are offered today, from entry level to advanced levels of professional standards.  Multi-day workshops were created many years ago to provide an overview of the general market. The Insurance Induction For New Employees was one of the original workshops, and later the Insurance Induction for Affiliated Professionals was created to cater to a more well-versed audience. Attendance for these workshops has always been great, and they continue to be fully subscribed each time they are offered.  The Insurance Induction seminar is still offered today.  Other workshops and short seminars have been created over the years to address the desire of the market to learn more about current topics. These address a broad range of subjects, including Claims, Finance, D&O Insurance, Life Insurance, Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Sidecars, Statistics, and other relevant topics.  In recent years workshops have been introduced to address some less technical areas of our business, including negotiation, communication skills, leadership development, and business writing. These workshops are well attended, which is testament to the importance the BII’s member companies place on promoting continued professional development.

 

Interestingly, one of the first Bermudians to gain an internationally recognized insurance accreditation, Glenn Titterton, was not only one of the first BII Presidents, but he also became the President and Chief Executive officer of BF&M Insurance Company.  He and other high achievers of the time helped pave the way for future Bermudians to achieve high educational standards, and ultimately earn leadership positions in local and international insurance companies.  His accomplishment also highlighted the commitment of senior members of the Bermuda market to encouraging the study of insurance and related services.  A very high level of commitment to education is prevalent in the market today, and has been a cornerstone of the success of the BII.

The BII has continued to serve its members needs for over 40 years. This success is owing to the ongoing dedication of the BII volunteers, teachers and staff, as well as the employees and management of the member companies.  By working within the framework of the BII’s original objectives while expanding the quality and type of education and training available, the BII will continue to evolve to support the future generations of the Bermuda insurance market