When I received my APA (Accredited Product Adviser) designation at the end of last year, I gave myself a little pat on the back for a job well done. It was a great feeling to get recognition for the hours of study I’d put in on top of my day job, a feeling that I’m sure was shared by all graduates at conferrals earlier this year.
I soon realised, however, that there wasn’t really any time to rest on my laurels. If I wanted to continue towards my goal of completing the CIP (Certified Insurance Practitioner) I knew I’d have to start planning for more exams but, in addition, there was also the whole area of my CPD (Continuing Professional Development) requirement to address. Getting the designation was one thing, maintaining it, was another.
Do I really need to do CPD?
Let’s deal with the rules first, if you are working for a regulated firm providing advice and information in connection with retail financial products then, to comply with Central Bank regulations, CPD is compulsory. In other words, there’s no avoiding this ‘obligation’ if you want to maintain your designation/grandfathered status - which is basically your licence to work in a regulated role in the insurance industry.
When I thought about it though, packing CPD in just the ‘regulatory requirement’ box seemed a little unfair. While completing my qualification and gaining ‘on the job’ experience provided a certain level of learning and expertise, CPD is that final cog in the career wheel that allows me to continue to maintain and reinforce my knowledge and competence as a professional.
How was I going to complete my hours?
As a holder of an insurance designation I need to complete at least 15 hours of relevant CPD content every year. Those 15 hours have to be appropriate for the designation I hold (Commercial & Personal General Insurance) and I also have to ensure that at least one of the hours completed relates to ethics. In addition, the Minimum Competency Code 2017 (MCC 2017) requires me to complete at least one hour per function I fulfil within the 15 hour requirement. If some of this sounds a little confusing, then the ‘Your end-of-year CPD checklist’ blog can come in helpful and is worth checking out.
One piece of advice I received from colleagues, when I told them I was completing my CPD requirement for the first time, was to try ‘break the back of it’ early on and get some hours on the board. With that in mind I attended three of the Institute’s lectures in their Spring/Summer face-to-face CPD series, including ‘An introduction to forensic investigation of fires for insurers’, which, although not something I deal with regularly in my job, was hugely entertaining and really helped my understanding of the area.
Done for this year
There’s a certain sense of relief, but also achievement, that comes with completing your CPD submission for the year. While finding the time to fit in the hours was tough on occasions, I have to admit that it certainly allowed me to diversify my knowledge base and re-inforce some previous learning along the way.
If you still have some CPD hours to complete before the 31 December deadline then its worthwhile checking out the Institute’s CPD Activities page for some pointers.
Good luck….and don’t forget to ‘Click Submit’ when you’re done!