Our Humble Beginnings
There are 2 important circulars that recorded the history of SII, in these were stated that Singapore Insurance Institute was established in December 1949 and their roots can be traced back as part of the Insurance Institute of Malaya.
After the split from Malaya, the institute assumed the name of Insurance Institute of Singapore (IIS) officially in 1964 with headquarter based in Singapore to serve the insurance industry.
The primary objective of IIS was to promote the insurance education, sporting and social activities.
During the formative years, there were only two categories of membership, the Singapore members taking on the ‘Ordinary’ category and the Malaysian accorded the ‘Associate’ category.
It was agreed in those years that the President of SII should not join as a member (reasons not known).
Insurance Institute of Singapore (IIS) – 1964 to 1987
IIS was running tuition classes mainly with the help of qualified personnel to prepare students who were sitting for examinations conducted by the Chartered Insurance Institute.
The council felt a need to further enhance the credibility of the insurance education from IIS and hence commissioned a feasibility report of ‘The Singapore Insurance Training Centre’ at the invitation of the Insurance Commissioner. Together with the joint efforts of GIA, LIA and SIBA, SITC was set up as the first training centre of its kind in Singapore.
IIS was well known in those years for organizing many of the sports and social activities for the insurance industry of which the more popular ones are bowling, golf and track and field events.
The social activities were very successful in engaging members and families. There was a record held for one year’s Dinner and Dance event with the sale of 130 tables and the only available venue in Singapore to accommodate was the Shangri-La Hotel. Membership numbers in the 1990s accounted for more than 1000 members in the insurance industry. It was common practice to hold an IIS membership when one joins the industry mainly for the networking benefits from their organized events.
Singapore Insurance Training Centre (SITC) – 1974 to 1987
The main objectives of SITC were ‘to provide and maintain a central organization for promotion of efficiency, progress and general development among persons engaged or employed in the insurance industry with a view to raising the level of professionalism and securing and maintaining the confidence of the public and employers by reliable tests and assurance of the competence and trustworthiness of persons engaged or employed or in any way connected with the insurance industry’.
It took on the main role of conducting courses which are relevant to the insurance industry in Singapore. There were also short technical courses, seminars and workshops on various aspects of insurance know-how and practices so as to offer a full complement of training and educational facilities.
Meanwhile, the IIS (Insurance Institute of Singapore) was in charge of conducting insurance related examinations and the official representatives were tasked with the invigilation of the examinations held at the institute.
A Constitution Review Committee was set up to review the two bodies which in essence suffered from over-lapping and duplication of duties. This began to cause confusion amongst the members.
The amalgamation was in the interest of long term development of the insurance industry in Singapore. Their reasons being:
- The primary objectives of the two bodies were education and examinations and these could be best achieved through an amalgamated body.
- There seemed to be confusion over the role of the SITC and IIS as some of their activities overlapped.
- The IIS did not have a full time secretariat whereas SITC had one and the union can bring about the optimization of the use of the staff.
- To avoid the duplication of effort in seeking for support from the industry and it will also create a pool of talent.
- The imminent need to conduct its own diploma examinations to suit the local condition instead of tapping on CII and AII only.
Singapore College of Insurance – 1988 to Present
Singapore College of Insurance (SCI) took over the reign of conducting insurance related courses and diploma after the amalgamation and SII came under the umbrella of SCI thereafter and remains the only regulated body for approved insurance training programmed. It continues to work very closely with CII to conduct their approved courses and training programmes.
In order to upgrade its image to bestow prestige for its training centre, SCI secured its own building and succeeded in setting up a college for this purpose.
The constitution was amended by Raymond Kwang, then President, that the membership base should be handled by SII so as to prevent the duplication of duties.
Singapore Insurance Institute – 1988 to Present
SII regained its status as a professional institution for individuals seeking professional and social development. It has collaborations with GIA and SIBA to organize social events for its membership base.
The institution was run by councillors in the insurance industry who contribute greatly in their own capabilities to organize many successful events attended by main in the early years.
Many office representatives were formed in many insurance companies who welcomed the subscription of these events and social networking sessions to broaden its network within the industry even though the constitution states that membership is on an individual basis and not under a corporate scheme.
SII’s events, notably the “must attend” events would attract many attendees and membership in the early days numbers more than one thousand. The golf and bowling events were especially popular amongst the members.
It was decided by the councillors then that presidents were to hold the Chair for a maximum of a 3 year period.
Today, the SII continues to run the activities through the hard work and dedication of the appointed council members. It remains to be the only non-trade insurance institute in Singapore today and continues the tradition of bringing insurance professionals together and to enhance their level of professionalism in the industry.