As part of its long-term drive to promote greater levels of professionalism and ethical behaviour in insurance and financial services, ‘Twenty-First Century Professionalism' analyses professionalism in the broader context of how all the professions have evolved, what professionalism means, its role in society and what the public expects from a professional.
Making the case for raising standards and a modern, public facing role for professionalism, it argues that the role of a professional in society should not be taken for granted, as the public often questions the notion that ‘the expert knows best'.
The document looks at the dual challenges facing professionalism:
- Declining trust; where consumerism, the Internet and media scrutiny have combined to lead the public to question the authority of the professions like never before
- The Regulatory Ratchet; where oversight is likely to continue to ramp up following the financial crisis.
CII chief executive, Dr Alexander Scott, said: "The present banking crisis has starkly illustrated the public's concern over professional standards and endangers public trust and confidence.
"The CII has long advocated higher professional standards, pre-dating the Financial Services Authority's Retail Distribution Review, which applies directly only to the retail investment products sector. We believe that general insurance must be moving in a similar direction.
"I am confident that the CII can meet the challenge of supporting the development of a modern profession including the need to ensure we as a professional body support this. Indeed, the CII has the opportunity to build on our legacy and guide the whole sector to a new standard of excellence fit for the twenty-first century while supporting our Royal Charter's ambition to "secure and justify the confidence of the public".