New offices and a new chief executive have given fresh impetus to the Bermuda Insurance Institute.
The organisation is looking to raise its profile, and that includes reaching out to the next generation of potential students to encourage them to consider career options within the insurance industry.
For Malcolm Butterfield, who has been appointed CEO, it is also an opportunity to give back, to share his decades of experience in the field, and “help the future leaders of this industry to become first class professionals and work at the quality level that we would all expect”.
The organisation was created in 1970, when 12 insurers came together to build opportunities for people interested in study insurance on the island. Today, the BII has 73 member companies and counts on the direct support and input of more than 50 individuals, most of them volunteers.
Last year the institute put on a record number of “lunch and learn” events to promote aspects of the industry.
It has now moved its offices from Church Street to the heart of the island’s international business quarter. The new offices are on the ground floor of Tower 2 at O’Hara House, the home of XL Catlin on Bermudiana Road, while its accredited testing and examination centre is now in the neighbouring Chubb building.
Mr Butterfield thanked the companies and their staff for making the relocation possible.
The institute aims to raise its profile. Mr Butterfield said: “Not because we have not had a high profile over the years, but just as the industry has reinvented itself over the past few years, we have decided to reinvent ourselves and move the bar higher, because we want to be viewed as a significant component of the industry.
“We are important to developing and training their staff to be good leaders and professionals that do high-quality work.”
Shannon Totten, chairwomen of the BII’s governing council, said: “The industry is made up of intellectual capital. We are here to support and develop the intellectual capital of the island.
“For the past few years, the BII has raised its offerings, both in numbers and quality. However, I’m not sure that our profile was raised at the same time.”
The vision of the road ahead includes strengthening the BII’s relationship with members and reaching out to new entrants in the insurance and reinsurance industry; creating greater awareness of its exams, courses, seminars and workshops; and introducing legacy events that celebrate “significant individuals” that have made important contributions to the industry in past decades.
It will also be reaching out to, and partnering with, schools and others. Mr Butterfield said: “We have to help people understand how this industry works. By forging links with Bermuda College and high schools we catch these students early and educate them about this industry.
“Our job is to help them understand, by forging links with the public and private sector and schools.”
While Ms Totten said: “It is as much about raising awareness and understanding. Even if you are not on the path to be directly in the industry, there are so many others who support it.
“Insurance and reinsurance is the backbone of how the economy works; it gives a fascinating purview into the world of business.”
She tells students that if they enjoy business and learning about how the economy works on a local, regional, global basis, then insurance is a good choice as it “makes things happen”.
Also, in a world where many young people seek careers that involve new technologies and cutting-edge developments, the insurance industry can compete. Ms Totten said analytical modelling and tools are increasingly being applied to the sector.
Using her own speciality as an example, she said: “I’ve been a casualty underwriter for 25 years and it is only in the past five years that I’ve been able to use casualty analytics modelling tools, because they did not exist before. My area of expertise is at that intersection [of technology] where the property cat people were 20 years ago.”
Additionally, the BII has a new certificate in data analytics.
“That intersection of data analyst and data scientist — insurance is going to need those people,” said Ms Totten.
The demand for such professionals is clear, with data scientist named the best job in America for the past three years. Data analyst is also listed in the top 40, according to the US-based Glassdoor job search website.
Mr Butterfield is enthusiastic about the possibilities ahead for the BII, and about his new role.
He was Bermuda’s Registrar of Companies for five years before becoming a managing director and partner of the Advisory Practice at KPMG for 19 years.
He is proud and grateful for those opportunities, and said: “I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of the industry. Under my watch was the most significant overhaul of the Bermuda Insurance Act that led to the class system of 1, 2, 3, 4.”
Mr Butterfield served as chairman of Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario, for seven years, and he said that seeing at close quarters the impact of education and development on young people and professionals provided the impetus for him to accept the CEO role at the BII.
He added: “It’s a great way to give back by taking the leadership role of the BII. I bring my long list of contacts and can put them to work, and my experience. Hopefully, it will be a winning combination in helping our students to become first-class individuals in this great industry in Bermuda.”
• The BII has a website at http://bii.bm/