INSURANCE TRAINING IN EUROPE

6 July 2016

Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) brings together with the implementation, the obligation of all persons who provide counseling services / selling insurance products to have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality information "fair, clear and which does not deceive" the consumers, regardless of the sales channel they operate.

At this moment directive is finalized and in the full process of implementation at national level, each country having its term until 2018 to finalize its own system with clearly defined technical standards in insurance distribution.

Currently, the Member States are currently in the process of developing systems and tools for rating and monitoring the quality of services rendered by intermediaries through training and certification programs.

In this respect, the European Financial Certification Organization - EFICERT works in recognizing the European certification based on national qualifications and in accordance with well-defined standards. Since 2009, the Institute of Financial Studies is an active member of EFICERT. In 2011, the institute became a member of the Governing Board, and in 2015 organized EFICERT General Assembly in Romania.

EFICERT closely monitored the debate on IDD. To support defining the technical standards, EFICERT organized a survey among its members to serve as inspiration / exchange of experience on professional education through qualification and continuous training so that the diversity of existing systems to be replaced by a unified system - based on IDD (such as the alignment to a minimum of 15 hours of training, according with the Directive).

Romania also participated at this survey through the Institute of Financial Studies.

The survey had a positive result bringing to the fore both current systems before IDD and those under implementation regarding the minimum qualification / professional training process in several countries from Europe. For example, the German system entails testing of knowledge through an examination. There isn’t a minimum number of training hours but it is recommended a number of 230 hours, otherwise the probability of not passing the exam is very high.

Greece has a similar system whereby any person who wishes to work in the insurance field must be certified. They have 4 types of certifications that can be obtained only through an exam. No training is required to take the exam, but experience is required for certain categories in which certification is sought.

The system in Cyprus does not require training completed with an examination but, in practice, for new employees is required an in-house training at the insurance company followed by an examination at the Insurance Institute in order to obtain the certificate of professional training.

In Switzerland, in order to be registered at the FSA, it is required a brokerage certificate which consists of 15 modules with a written and oral examination. Even if the legislation does not stipulate anything in this regard, the insurance industry has created its own training system called Cicero based on credit points.

Albania has implemented a testing system based on credit points in order to obtain license from FSA to be able to practice in insurance.

Beyond the diversity of certification systems in the insurance market, the interest is directed mainly towards the development of knowledge and professional skills for better consumer protection.

Recently, EIOPA published a public consultation document which aims to strengthen the consumer protection in Europe through IDD. In this document, which will be submitted to the European Commission in February 2017, EIOPA invites all interested parties to provide feedback on the following issues: monitoring products and governance, conflicts of interest, payments to third parties, reporting on services provided to customers, etc. More details here.

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