Ensuring, assuring and insuring









Dr Louise Boulter and Hilary Smith-Milne ask why are quality accreditations not given direct recognition by insurers in the form of premium reductions or enhanced cover?

Is the insurance industry not valuing voluntary standards and certification as part of clients’ risk assessment and management?

If not, then should these standards constitute a recognised variable for mitigating business, operational and societal risk by insurers in the form of premium reductions or enhanced cover?

Voluntary standards are embedded in a wide range of industries as part of businesses’ strategic culture. This includes over 100 ISO standards in buildings and civil engineering, 177 in nuclear energy, 285 in shipping and marine, over 600 in plastics, and more than 800 in the food industry.

These standards assure customers of consistent quality in products, services, processes, systems and people. They are a means by which organisations can assure key stakeholders that risk is managed effectively. Compliance to a voluntary standard is independently assessed through third party verification and auditing.

In this respect, ISO 14001certification can be used by organisations in annual financial accounts as evidence of effective environmental management required by the Companies Act 1976 (Strategic Reports and Directors Reports) Regulations 2013.

The recently revised ISO 9001:2015 is a standard that applies across all industries providing organisations with an explicit framework and systematic approach for risk assessment and management.

Top management, including directors and shareholders, are accountable. Top management are required to demonstrate leadership and commitment by ensuring risks, that can affect the conformity of a product or service and well-being of the business as a whole, are determined and addressed. Statutory and regulatory requirements need to be identified, understood and complied with.

The insurance industry itself has adopted voluntary standards but not to the same extent as other industries.

The insurance industry may also acknowledge clients’ use of voluntary standards including: the topical ISO 27001:2013 (Information security management) relevant to any industry sector that needs to have appropriate measures in place to manage monetary and data security; ISO 22301:2012 (business continuity management), BS8533:2011 (flood risk assessment), and appears to like BS OHSAS 18001 (Occupational health and safety management).

However, the adoption of voluntary standards by the insurance industry itself and direct recognition of clients embedding these standards in their organisation is not a variable that forms part of consistent insurance industry practice and culture.

Should it be?

The challenges and opportunities raised by these questions will be addressed at an event organised by Dr Louise Boulter, Senior Lecturer Middlesex University Business School and academic adviser to the advisory council CQI and Hilary Smith-Milne a chartered quality professional who is on the advisory council of The CQI.

This event sponsored by Willis in collaboration with the North London branch of the CQI. It takes place on February 3 at Willis.

A keynote speaker at this event is Maureen Sumner Smith, Managing Director, BSI, and experts from the insurance industry.

 To book a place at this event go to: http://willis-cqi-northlondonbranch.eventbrite.co.uk

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