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The Chartered Insurance Institute (also known as the CII) is a professional body for the insurance sector. The CII's purpose, as set out in its 1912 royal charter, is to 'Secure and justify the confidence of the public' in its members and the insurance sector as a whole. It aims to do this through setting standards of integrity, technical competence and business capability.

In February 2016 Sian Fisher joined the Chartered Insurance Institute as CEO, taking over Sandy Scott's 16-year tenure. In November 2016, she launched a Strategic Manifesto outlining a 5-year plan, the foundation of which remains to fulfil the Charter's purpose of building trust in insurance and its practice. The change programme is driven by four key core strategic themes


The first Insurance Institute was established in Manchester on 14 March 1873 with the aim of providing an environment for the social exchange of knowledge and ideas on the subject of insurance, with a particular focus on fire insurance, given the number of textile manufacturers in the city. The Insurance Institute of Manchester had a selective membership policy and required members to hold senior positions within the industry, which led to the creation of a Junior Insurance Institute (later Insurance Association of Manchester) in 1883 to provide education to those new to insurance.

The second local institute to be formed was the Insurance and Actuarial Society of Glasgow founded in 1881, which held education as its main focus. Following that the institutes of Ireland (in Dublin, 1885), Norwich (1886), Birmingham (1887), Yorkshire (in Leeds, 1888), Bristol (1890), Newcastle upon Tyne (1896) and Nottingham (1896), were formed, though with varying names, e.g. Insurance Social and Musical Society of Bristol.

There was a growing interest in the idea of a central institute which would bolster the work and profile of the existing institutes, and so in March 1897 a conference of representatives from the 10 institutes was held in Manchester, and it was decided that they should form an association called The Federation of Insurance Institutes of Great Britain and Ireland. At this conference it was also proposed that an annual journal of papers on insurance should be produced, that the institutes should jointly offer examinations and certificates, and that an insurance clerks’ orphanage should be established.

Initially, the responsibility for the Journal was assumed by the Birmingham and Glasgow institutes, while the Yorkshire institute and the Manchester association prepared the educational programme, proposing that the Federation should act only as an examining body while local institutes undertook the teaching. The Insurance Clerks’ Orphanage was established as an independent organisation in 1902, operating out of the offices of the London Salvage Corps.

At the 1906 conference of the Federation it was decided that a royal charter should be sought and that the London Institute should act as a headquarters. In 1908, as a step towards gaining the charter, a constitution was agreed between the institutes and the name was changed to The Insurance Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. The royal charter was granted in 1912 and the Insurance Institute of Great Britain and Ireland became the Chartered Insurance Institute. At this time there were 21 local institutes in Great Britain and Ireland and 4 affiliated institutes from within the British Empire.


The Royal Charter incorporating the Chartered Insurance Institute was granted on 17 January 1912 by His Majesty King George the Fifth. Each royal charter that is granted is unique in format and content as it is drawn up and contains the Bye-laws deemed relevant by the body to be incorporated. A new Supplemental Charter, replacing all former versions of the Charter, was granted by Queen Elizabeth the Second on 27 January 1987.

Article 3 of the CII's current Charter identifies the six "objects and purposes for which the Institute is constituted":

  • (a) To promote efficiency and improvement in the practice of insurance among persons engaged or employed in that activity, whether Members of the Institute or not, to render the conduct of such business more effective and professional, to secure and justify the confidence of the public and employers by the conduct of reliable tests of the competence of persons engaged or employed in insurance and the provisions of reliable assurances of their trustworthiness and to provide and maintain a central organisation for those purposes;
  • (b) To promote and assist the study of any subjects bearing on any branch of insurance;
  • (c) To collect and form a body of expert opinion on the law and practice relating to all things connected with insurance;
  • (d) To exercise supervision and control over the professional standards and conduct of the Members. To seek to improve the professional status of Fellows and Associates and to promote the interests, welfare and advancement of the Members in general;
  • (e) To provide information and advice about employment in insurance for Members and others;
  • (f) To assist Members and the dependants of Members or of deceased Members suffering financial hardship by such measures as may be deemed appropriate and to contribute directly or indirectly to the work of the Insurance Charities and any other appropriate fund or charity.

Chartered titles

As a chartered body, the Chartered Insurance Institute has the right to grant specific chartered titles. CII members must first request the grant for a new title at a general meeting of the membership. This is followed by a petition to the Privy Council. If the Privy Council deem the petition agreeable, a minister signs an order allowing the CII to incorporate the right to grant and award the new title. The change is then duly inserted into the Institute's Bye-laws.

The CII has five chartered titles which may be conferred upon individuals in the profession depending upon their specialisation:

  • Chartered Insurance Broker
  • Chartered Insurer
  • Chartered Insurance Practitioner
  • Chartered Insurance Risk Manager
  • Chartered Financial Planner

In addition, there are three Chartered titles to cover different specialisations for organisations in the insurance and financial advice profession:

  • Chartered Insurance Brokers
  • Chartered Insurers
  • Chartered Financial Planners

The Insurance Hall

Chartered Insurance Institute, Aldermanbury, London 02
The Chartered Insurance Institute at Aldermanbury, London.

The Insurance Hall is the headquarters of the CII, located at 20 Aldermanbury in the City of London. The building was proposed by Sir Frederick William Pascoe Rutter (the 1910-11 President) in a speech delivered in 1919 entitled The CII: Its right to work, in which he proposed that the CII should have its own building in London to act as a designated meeting place for members and to house a library to facilitate study. The purchase of the freehold on the land and the construction of the building was funded through donations amassed between 1919 and 1932, and debentures issued to insurance companies. The Insurance Hall was opened by King George V on 28 June 1934.

The Insurance Hall is a Grade-II listed building in a Tudorbethan style with stained glass windows bearing the names and emblems of insurance companies that subscribed to the CII, and finished internally with wood panelling. The building initially contained a 480-seat conference hall, a council chamber, a library, a museum, a common-room and writing room for members, 4 classrooms and offices occupied by the CII staff, the Insurance Institute of London, the Life Office's Association, the Insurance Charities and the Insurance Official's Society.

The Insurance Hall was one of few buildings in the area left standing after the bombardment of 29th-30th December 1940, in part due to the efforts of the house steward, Gordon Edward Stewart, who remained in the building to put out fires during the raid. Following the raid, the CII hosted the events of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and the Institute of Actuaries as their halls had been destroyed.

In 1964 the adjoining land at 21 Aldermanbury was developed into a 5-storey extension to the Insurance Hall to provide more office space for the CII. In 1986, after a period of refurbishment that redeveloped the conference hall and lower ground floor into a banqueting suite, the Insurance Hall was reopened by the Lord Mayor of London.

Coat of arms

Coat of Arms, Chartered Insurance Institute, London EC2 - - 1088457
The coat of arms of the Chartered Insurance Institute

The coat of arms of the Chartered Insurance Institute was granted on 25 September 1933. It is composed of a blue shield displaying symbols representing the four original classes of insurance:

  • Salamander representing fire insurance
  • Three anchors representing marine insurance
  • Two parallel chains representing accident insurance
  • A wheatsheaf representing life insurance

The coat of arms was installed on the façade of the Insurance Hall on its opening in 1934. It was subsequently matriculated in Scotland. Two Scottish Local Institutes obtained the grant of differenced versions, incorporating a castle in Edinburgh and a lamb in Perth.

The full display of heraldic attributes, known as achievement, was granted in 1957 to mark the CII's Diamond Jubilee. The additional elements are:

  • Crown: a Saxon crown and a medieval helmet representing the connection of the site of Aldermanbury with its past history, as the area was the site of an Anglo-Saxon fortified residence.
  • Helmet: the helmet, made of steel, in profile and with its visor closed, denotes the rank of ‘gentlemen and esquires’ who constituted the CII's member base.
  • Crest: the crest takes the shape of a hand grasping a sword by its blade, instead of by its handle, symbolising the risk mitigating effects of insurance. It is also intended to represent the sword of St Paul, a feature of the coat of arms of the City of London, which was, and still is, the main centre of insurance.
  • Supporters: on the right-hand side stands the royal lion of England and on the left-hand side a bearded unicorn, symbol of Scotland. Both have silver fish tails, golden fins and talons to commemorate the Institute's overseas activities. The role played by the CII in the education and support of the insurance profession is symbolised by the books held by both supporters.
  • Motto: the Latin motto ‘consilium scientia’ located beneath the coat of arms. It is interpreted as ‘counsel and knowledge’, emphasizing the dependence of those working in insurance upon sound knowledge and wise advice, owed as much by the Institute to those who seek its aid as by the professional insurer as a member of the Institute to its clients (CII). The motto was first used by the CII in a golden badge created for the president in 1926, and was later incorporated in the achievement.

A representation of the full achievement of armorial bearings was installed on the rear façade of the building.


At the time that the Institute was granted a Royal Charter in 1912, full membership was only open to "men working in insurance." Following the First World War, in 1919, the ban on women sitting exams was lifted. A year later, 25 women entered the Institute. In 1921, the first woman achieved Fellowship. An equal membership fee was introduced in 1966. Until then, apart from diploma holders, women had to pay only a nominal fee to join the "Lady Members Committee". The same year, an alternative cheaper 'lady social membership' was also offered by some local institutes, which was purely for organising and participating in social events.

By comparison, today membership of the CII is open to anyone connected with insurance or financial services, including students intending to join the profession.

As of September 2018, the CII has over 120,000 members across 150 countries. Over 10% of members are based outside of the UK.

There are eight levels of membership:

  • Ordinary: individual members who do not hold a CII qualification.
  • Discover: exclusively for secondary school and college teachers and students in the UK and students enrolled on full-time degree courses at UK universities.
  • Society of Mortgage Professionals (SMP) Ordinary: automatic membership for members of the SMP with the designated mortgage qualification.
  • Certificate: individuals with one or more certificate-level CII qualifications.
  • Diploma: holders of the CII Diploma in Insurance.Designated by the letters "Dip CII".
  • Advanced Diploma: holders of the CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance. Designated by the letters "ACII".
  • Fellowship: holders of the highest CII qualification. Designated by the letters "FCII".
  • Chartered: professional title awarded to members who hold either the Advanced Diploma or Fellowship and have a minimum five years’ industry experience.

Local and affiliated global insurance institutes

Every CII member in the UK, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man is automatically a member of one of 58 local institutes. There are an additional seven associated institutes in Gibraltar and the Republic of Ireland. Members outside of the UK have the option of membership in one of 70 affiliated global insurance institutes.


A strong desire to form a central Insurance Library in London existed before the Charter incorporation in 1912. The objectives of the then Insurance Institute of Great Britain and Ireland included ‘to encourage the study of all subjects bearing on every branch of insurance, and to form a Library for the use of members’. These objectives were then written into the 1912 Charter as the obligation for the CII to maintain a library of resources related to insurance for the benefit of its members. However, it was not until the opening of the Insurance Hall in 1934 that the Chartered Insurance Institute Library was established. Prior to that date, federated Insurance Institutes maintained insurance libraries across the UK and Ireland.

The CII Library was initially run in conjunction with the Insurance Institute of London library. The original intention was to run both libraries side by side, the London Insurance Institute Library as a lending library for members of that institute and the Chartered Insurance Institute Library as a reference library for all members. Both libraries eventually merged into one single Library that now acts as a central lending library and knowledge service for all members.


The Museum has existed since the opening of the Insurance Hall in 1934. It currently occupies a small space on the second floor. It is dedicated to the history of the four main classes of insurance, with a special focus on fire insurance and the history of fire fighting. Early insurance policies and other artefacts from the Chartered Insurance Institute's special collections are on display. The Museum originally exhibited a 19th-century fire brigade engine which is now housed at the American Museum in Bath.

In 1934 the illustrator C. Walter Hodges painted a frieze that surrounds the four walls of the museum area, depicting allegories of marine, fire, accident and life insurance. The Insurance Hall is designated as a Grade II listed building, in part due to these murals.

The CII also exhibits a large collection of over 1,500 fire marks which were bequeathed to the CII by several different donors.

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