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ANZIIF unfazed by UK institute’s move into Hong Kong

The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) says the merger between the Insurance Institute of Hong Kong (IIHK) and the London-based Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) will not affect its membership or education markets.

ANZIIF has 1000 members in Hong Kong, plus a Hong Kong member advisory board, but CEO Prue Willsford insists the institute is not concerned by its “new” competitor.

“Our membership in Hong Kong is [mostly] through Australian insurers operating in that region,” she told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We’re active in the region because Australian companies have been active there.”

Nor does ANZIIF consider itself slighted. It came close to a merger with the CII in 2008, only for the UK group to call off talks at the 11th hour.

“Both the CII and ourselves want to see the industry getting better and stronger through continuing education and professional development,” Ms Willsford said.

“Obviously our core focus is on Australia and New Zealand. A number of [our members] have a desire to expand in the region and our focus will be on how we can work with Australian and New Zealand companies in the region.”

Ms Willsford says ANZIIF will continue to be a leading professional education provider in the region.

“We find that a number of emerging economies look to Australia as one of the advanced insurance markets in the world,” she said.

ANZIIF has 14,000 members, 75% of which come from Australia and New Zealand, with 20% from Asia.

The IIHK was formed in 1967 and has about 400 members. The CII, which has 117,000 members worldwide, has 1800 members in Hong Kong – its biggest bloc outside the UK.

When the merger is completed next month, the IIHK will cease to exist.

IIHK President Dylan Bryant – an Australian who is also General Representative and Country Manager of Lloyd’s Hong Kong – says the “historic” merger will create “Hong Kong’s foremost professional body in insurance and financial services”.

Although the CII is well established in Hong Kong, a new Hong Kong board and advisory council will be formed to “ensure local requirements and preferences are understood and met through an enhanced membership proposition”.

In 2007 the CII signed a formal agreement with IIHK to work together to promote professionalism, knowledge and standards in Hong Kong.

IIHK members will not automatically become CII members. They will be “invited” to join, and the IIHK says “this is a personal decision for each individual”.

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