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Staff training in a work-from-home world

Meeting regulatory requirements has been challenging for many sectors – not least life insurance


Over the past two years, the global pandemic has had a profound impact on the working practices of many businesses, including working from home (WFH) and how companies communicate with their customers – changes which are now unlikely to be fully reversed.

No more have these changes been evident than in the area of staff training and development.

While eLearning has been commonplace for standard topics such as Health and Safety in 2022, anti-money laundering and GDPR for some years, pre-pandemic face-to-face classroom-style instruction was still a major element of training deliverables within many organisations.

The cross-border life sector was no different in this regard.

However, as the pandemic hit, the need to provide remote learning for staff who WFH became a necessity and, without a general return to the office, training room facilities were typically given over to socially distanced desk layouts, much of which is still in place.

In the space of less than six months, the world of training moved from partially online to largely fully online and is unlikely to swing back as the pandemic recedes.

Face-to-face increasingly a thing of the past

The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) requires all the employees of all EU/EEA and UK life companies and intermediaries post-Brexit, involved in the process of selling and servicing policies to customers to successfully complete 15 hours of relevant CPD training each year.

The purpose of this is to ensure that all life company and intermediary staff dealing with customers have a broad understanding of their needs and the terms and conditions of the policies they distribute.

Since March 2020, it has proved a significant challenge to switch from providing this sort of technical training, which was generally on a face-to-face basis, to delivering it via the remote medium of eLearning.

One example of how to to adapt a learning approach to suit the new environment can be seen in the joint venture between life sector consultancy firm Acuity and eLearning specialists Governance People.

The Life Insurance Professional Development Programme consists of 15 one-hour eLearning modules, each with its own Knowledge Check and CPD accreditation for their successful completion.

The modules cover topics as diverse as financial advice and succession planning, legal principles and consumer protection, pensions and business ethics, distribution models and the Solvency II Directive. The programme builds knowledge from the bottom up to improve the effectiveness of all staff whilst meeting the regulatory requirements.

It’s the first purpose-built programme that specifically covers the content of the IDD as stipulated in the directive while being designed as a complete sequential eLearning programme that provides staff at all levels with a broad overview of the life sector.

The programme runs on a dedicated learning management system (LMS), but it can be customised to run on a life company’s own LMS. The modules are currently in English, but there’s also a capability to develop other language versions as required.

Simon Willoughby of Acuity Corporate Consulting said: “In setting out to develop the Life Insurance Professional Development Programme, the aim was not only to meet the regulatory requirements of the IDD, but to deliver the content in a way that’s accessible and capable of being understood by all levels of staff, providing them with good understanding of how the whole sector works and their role within it.”

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