For the past 20 years or more, professional competency frameworks based on global best practice have underpinned the insurance industry’s approach to training, hiring and professional development.
In 2016, ANZIIF began a collaboration with Vietnam’s Insurance Research Training Centre (IRT), part of Vietnam’s insurance industry regulator, the Insurance Supervisory Authority (ISA), to build an insurance competency framework specific to the Vietnamese market.
The resulting Vietnamese Professional Competency Framework (PCF) was finalised in 2018, following series of workshops between IRT, ANZIIF, industry experts and Vietnamese insurance business leaders.
A FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
By definition, a framework is an overview or outline of interlinked items that supports a particular approach to a specific objective — it serves as a guide that can be modified as required by adding or deleting items.
The professional competency frameworks used by the insurance industries in Australia, USA, the United Kingdom, Singapore and elsewhere are based on identifying and prescribing the core technical and behavioural competencies required to carry out the responsibilities and complete the tasks required of job roles within particular job families.
Given the enormous diversity among industry players, the ISA and IRT agreed to initially focus the development of the Vietnamese PCF on general insurance, encompassing the following core job families:
- Insurance broking
- Customer service
- Sales and sales management
- Compliance (includes internal control/audit)
Each of these job families can be divided into sub-families. ‘Underwriting’ and ‘Claims’, for example, can be sub-divided according to classes and lines of insurance, such as property, liability or marine.
UNDERPINNED BY PROVEN EXPERTISE
To be launched to the local industry on 24 June, the Vietnam professional competency framework is based on ANZIIF proven professional standards.
It allows companies to align technical and behavioural competencies with generic job roles, and the capabilities required to accomplish tasks and responsibilities. It also provides the basis for education and training programs and increases the standard of professionalism.
In the case of the Vietnamese Professional Competency Framework (PCF), the objective is to establish professional standards and associated education and training programs for the Vietnamese insurance industry.
‘The future success of the Vietnamese insurance industry rests on the introduction of professional standards and we are pleased that the ISA is leading the way for the benefit of the industry in Vietnam,’ says ANZIIF CEO Prue Willsford.
‘It is clear that we all share a common goal: to enhance the professionalism and capability of the Vietnamese insurance industry.’
TAILORED TO THE NEEDS OF THE VIETNAMESE MARKET
The PCF incorporates feedback, suggestions and comments from the industry expert panel and an IRT committee of senior Vietnamese business executives and technical experts to ensure that it is relevant, applicable and implementable within the Vietnamese general insurance industry.
According to Prue Willsford, the nature of the frameworks used in advanced economies, and as proposed by ANZIIF for adoption in Vietnam are sufficiently generic at the job role and job description levels to allow companies to amend them to suit their business needs and circumstances.
‘The PCF provides sufficient detail at competency level to ensure that all knowledge, skills and behaviours required of particular job roles are dealt with,’ Willsford says.
‘Competencies are also defined by level of knowledge, skill and behaviours, meaning it can apply to all levels of the profession.’
ENHANCING THE INDUSTRY’S INTERNATIONAL STANDING
Willsford says Implementing a competency framework is crucial if Vietnam’s insurance industry is to realise its potential and remain competitive in a global market in the years to come.
‘ANZIIF has worked with many countries across the Asia Pacific region to provide professional frameworks and to develop localised education and training,’ she says.
‘Collaboration and dialogue between regulators and insurance businesses is the key to achieving this.
‘As an organisation, we feel great pride in having the opportunity to work with the IRT of the ISA and the Association of Vietnamese Insurers (AVI) in turning this plan into a reality.’
INCREASING BUSINESS TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES
According to the ISA, implementing a professional competency framework and associated certification scheme will benefit the Vietnamese insurance industry in numerous ways.
‘A national and internationally recognised professional standards and accreditation scheme will ensure the industry operates with consistently high levels of professionalism, effectiveness, integrity and success,’ says ISA Director General, Mr Phung Ngoc Khanh.
‘Benefits for general insurance companies include the confidence that all employees have the required knowledge, skills and ability to complete the requirements of their jobs, consistently and to adequate levels of professional competence.’
In addition, the competency framework can provide a systematic approach to recruiting and training of staff, career progression and succession planning.
‘Individual professionals gain professional training requirements, qualifications and career progression pathways that are easy to understand,’ Mr Phung adds.
‘They will also gain confidence that they have the ability to fulfil the requirements of their jobs.’
WINNING BACK THE CONFIDENCE OF CUSTOMERS
Benefits for industry clients and customers include confidence that the industry, companies and individual insurance professionals can provide required services to the highest professional standards and integrity.
‘Implementing a professional competency framework in Vietnam is not only beneficial for individual insurance companies, but also for the country’s economy on a macro-level,’ Mr Phung says.
‘At an industry level, Vietnam has already demonstrated leadership by empowering insurance professionals to improve their skill and capabilities through the competency framework.
‘Vietnam has become a role model for its neighbours in Southeast Asia, contributing to a rise in international standards. Raising the standards will certainly assist in helping develop existing strengths.’
PCF IS THE BUILDING BLOCK FOR A CERTIFICATION SCHEME
The proposed scheme aligns closely with internationally used schemes and education and training programs, including those provided by ANZIIF.
ISA’s Mr Phung Ngoc Khanh says implementing the proposed certification and education scheme can be undertaken using a three-stage approach.
‘First, IRT will assess the program and identify gaps and content to modify. Secondly, content must be adapted to suit the agreed framework.
‘Finally, new subjects and learning material will need to be designed and developed to fill the identified gaps.’
Prue Willsford adds that during the implementation phase, IRT could partner with an international provider such as ANZIIF to progressively adapt programs and subjects and to design and develop new learning material.
‘ANZIIF would be pleased and honoured to partner with the IRT to allow the IRT to use ANZIIF subjects and learning material to meet the needs of the certification scheme,’ Willsford says.
’We will be happy to collaborate further with the IRT to adapt ANZIIF learning and assessment material to suit the particular needs of the Vietnamese general insurance industry and to develop new learning and assessment material for inclusion within the certification scheme.’
A STRONG COMMITMENT TO ONGOING PARTNERSHIP
Willsford says ANZIIF is strongly committed to continue collaborating with the IRT and the ISA to implement the proposed competency framework and certification scheme.
Mr Phung Ngoc Khanh adds that through the full-scale implementation of the competency framework and certification scheme, the ISA and IRT can foster an environment and culture conducive to lifelong learning and continuing education in the Vietnam general insurance industry.
‘With the active participation of employers and employees as well as the wide acceptance of the industry, the competency framework will also encourage the development of quality training programs by providers to meet the needs of the community and the industry,’ Mr Phung says.
‘Introducing a professional competency framework to the Vietnamese general insurance industry will bolster the industry for future success by setting minimum standards for training in job roles at all levels.’