An educational offering

Mitch Cantor of the International Center for Captive Insurance Education tells the story of how the education institution came to be and its offering to the captive insurance industry.

“ICCIE continues to reevaluate its programmes and delivery methods to ensure that it is serving the industry.” Mitch Cantor, ICCIE

Prior to the creation of the International Center for Captive Insurance Education (ICCIE) there were no captive insurance educational programmes. The only opportunity for captive education was internal corporate mentoring or absorbing content at educational sessions at captive conferences.

The problem with internal mentoring was that it relied solely on the expertise of the individuals within the company who may not have had experience with all the various derivations of captives, and internal mentoring does not expose students to new ideas.

The issue with conferences was that the presentations were not subject to peer review or oversight, and there was no testing to verify whether the content was functionally absorbed.

In the late 1990s, the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) and other captive industry leaders recognised that an education programme was needed. Such programmes were needed not just to raise the level of expertise among captive practitioners, but also to battle the perception among some in the traditional insurance industry that captives are somehow “not real insurance”.

They thought that having a formal education programme and designation would add legitimacy to the burgeoning industry. The key was to ensure the programme would serve the worldwide industry in a domicile-neutral manner.

Over the course of a few years, a research firm was retained to conduct market research, provide a feasibility study, and finally put together the beginnings of a plan to partner with the University of Vermont.

The goal was to pair a curriculum developer with industry experts from many different domiciles to establish the initial ICCIE curriculum. In the spring of 2004, ICCIE’s board of directors hired me as executive director to run the programme, which then officially launched in August 2004.

A big investment in inclusion

In the beginning, ICCIE’s most important challenge was convincing people in an industry that had already existed for decades that a new educational programme would be worth the expenditure of precious corporate funds.

However, many in the industry came to recognise that a high level of expertise across the industry would benefit all participants. The adage of “a rising tide lifts all boats” would apply, and investing in employee education would generate a strong return on investment.

A second, less obvious, challenge was convincing captive professionals outside Vermont that the programme would not cater solely to Vermont or domestic captives. This objection was largely overcome in the early years by the inclusion of a large number of non-Vermont captive professionals on the ICCIE board of directors, faculty, and committees.

ICCIE is a now a nonprofit organisation which operates via a volunteer board of directors of more than 20 captive professionals supported by more than 50 current faculty members.

While ICCIE has successfully attracted thousands of students to its programmes and courses, there are still many captive managers, service providers, captive owners and board members who need captive education.

In addition, the well-recognised mass retirement currently hitting the insurance field is impacting the captive industry as well, and captive industry experts are ageing. As a result, ICCIE continues to reevaluate its programmes and delivery methods to ensure that it is serving the industry and providing courses and programmes that the industry needs to thrive.

ICCIE formulates its courses and designations by being guided by a large consortium of industry professionals who provide their input as to what the industry needs.

ICCIE has a large and diverse board of captive insurance professionals, and a committee structure that lends itself to providing the organisation with continuous input across multiple disciplines. The board and committees ensure the ICCIE staff is equipped with the information it needs to plan and execute courses and programmes that serve the industry.

ICCIE students come from every corner of the captive industry. Many of them enrol to get a deeper understanding of their expertise; others who have been in one industry silo for many years seek to widen their understanding of the industry’s diverse aspects and hope to gain a more holistic understanding of captives.

Our goal is to ensure ICCIE students expand their captive knowledge and are better equipped as industry practitioners upon completion of their courses and/or programmes.

Industry feedback

We reached out to some recent ICCIE graduates to comment about their experience with the courses:

“I have been working with captives for six years. In the first several years, I surrounded myself with industry experts to help make good decisions for my parent organisation.

“As I became more focused on optimisation, I realised that I needed more technical expertise to fully integrate and optimise our captive operations. My education at ICCIE has provided me that expertise to understand, design, implement and track beneficial strategies for our captive.” Brad Koland, Land O’Lakes

“The Associate in Captive Insurance (ACI) coursework broadened my knowledge about captives into areas beyond my normal actuarial work. This gave me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of other issues and build a more well-rounded understanding of captives from the ground up.

“It allowed me to interact with other professionals in the industry, some of whom I already knew and others I met for the first time. I would absolutely recommend pursuing the ACI designation to anyone looking for a more complete picture of the multifaceted world of captives.” Eric Anderson, GPW and Associates

“The ACI programme enables the captive insurance professional to build the foundation of knowledge needed for a meaningful career. ICCIE provides a superior alternative risk financing education, impacting the quality and professionalism of our industry. The ACI is the essential captive insurance credential.” Michael Zuckerman, Temple University

“The ACI programme provided a unique opportunity to learn in-depth from seasoned professionals within the captive insurance industry. It facilitated the enhancement of my knowledge of the inner workings of captives and of insurance in general.

“The electives allowed me to tailor my learning experience and, having an accounting background, I was more than happy to dig into the numbers and gain a better appreciation of insurance accounting. The topics discussed were practical, relevant, and timely, and the group assignments led to invaluable networking.

“I am now a better-positioned regulator after having completed this course. I am grateful to ICCIE for providing this amazing opportunity.” Charo Richardson, Anguilla Finance Services Commission

Mitch Cantor is the executive director of the International Center for Captive Insurance Education. He can be contacted at:

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