As the first non-UK based Chairman in the Associations history, I am keen continue to maintain its relevance to all of its membership around the world.
I am also passionate about the Association further developing its international reputation for providing a quality examination system. This last year saw four candidates pass their final Fellowship examinations and I would like to add my congratulations to the many others on their achievement. This is the first time in a long time that we have had multiple people qualify as Fellows in one year and is an encouraging sign. I am confident that this will not be an isolated event and that the prospects are good for others to complete their Fellowship exams in the next few years.
This coming year also sees the Association expand its exam repertoire to include a route for candidates to attain the Associate level qualification through a new Offshore Energy module. This is an exciting new development and I look forward to the qualification gaining support from the energy sector in the UK and elsewhere.
With the increasing numbers of candidates around the world sitting the exams in ever more locations, it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge the extraordinary work of David Pannell and the other members of the Examining Committee in setting and marking the exams whilst maintaining the standards for which the Association has become known. We also welcome Peter Mellett as the Independent Moderator to provide a level of independent audit that these standards are being maintained.
The past two Chairman, Andrew Paton and Keith Martin have made great strides in making the Association less UK-centric. Not least amongst these changes is my appointment as Chairman with my being based in New Zealand. The logistics of chairing the Association from the other side of the world will, no doubt, present some unique challenges and I am therefore very grateful to have Burkhard Fischer continuing on as Vice-chairman to assist me. We will be looking to continue our close dialogue with the Association of Average Adjusters of the United States and Canada, the Association Mondiale de Dispacheurs and to developing our collaboration with the Spanish Association.
We will continue to assert the AAA’s profile by means of participation in the biennial seminars held under the auspices of the International Underwriting Association, as well as look to support other short seminars and presentations around the world.
The Association remains available to assist the international insurance and marine bodies where we can. The Advisory and Dispute Resolution Panel remain available to provide the quality advice for which they have become renowned.
Being on the other side of the world, I will be more reliant than usual on the excellent services of our permanent Secretary Ann Waite and our Treasurer Tristan Miller. I would like to thank Ann, Burkhard and Tristan in advance as well as my predecessor Keith Martin and the members of the Committee of Management for all the assistance and advice which I will be seeking from them and on which I will depend in the coming year.
Willum Richards, Chairman, Association of Average Adjusters