The recent introduction of the compulsory regulatory exams on level 1 and level 2 for the insurance industry will make a major contribution to the professionalisation of the industry. This, in turn, will further the aim to improve service to consumers as the purpose of the examinations are to ensure that the consumers of financial products are served by professional, knowledgeable intermediaries.

The examinations arean extention of competency requirements of the “Fit and Proper” determination that also encompasses honesty and integrity, operational ability , financial soundness and continuous professional development.

The qualifying criteria were developed by the larger industry and the FSB with almost 200 experts involved in the development thereof.

The level 1 exams test the factual knowledge of financial service providers (FSP) about the FAIS Act, its codes, FICA and the prescribed functions of key individuals and representatives. The exams have no relation to the type of products a FSP is licensed for nor are they credit bearing.

The level 2 examinations deal with product category specific aspects and will ensure that FSP’s are able to give consumers the most recent information on product lines and their applicability in practice.

The exams are not based on any particular NQF level and results will not be recorded on the National Learners Record Database (NLRD). These exams must be successfully completed by 31 December 2011. The FSB plans to officially roll out these exams through the four approved examination bodies during May 2010.

Website to improve information access in insurance industry

Access to information in the insurance industry has proven to be a bit of a headache – not because there is too little information, just the opposite. In the past this has lead to confusion with consumers as to whom to trust and which sources are reliable.

The new FIA website has, however, brought some simplicity and a single point of entry to reliable information from and to the industry. The site aims to provide easy access to information for consumers, the media and the industry as a whole.

The site offers a Helpline where questions can be asked and experts in the field will supply answers. It further contains a Hotline where complaints and matters of concern could be lodged. This offers consumers an opportunity to get clarity on issues and raise problems that they experience.

A service provider directory is also available and consumers now have a facility from which they can select a service provider according to area and services rendered. All service providers are FIA registered and can be contacted directly from the listing.

Links to relevant legislation provide easy access to the more technical aspects of the industry and users have do not need to wade through numerous laws to find what they are looking for. Links to role players in the industry provide contact details and access to the major stakeholders in the industry.

All users are invited to sign-up on the RSS feature on the site to stay abreast of news updates.

Article provided by: FAnews