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The IISA traces its roots back to 1898 which was later renamed to the Insurance Institute of the Cape of Good Hope. It was agreed that the intentions of the institute are:
Following the evolution in the insurance education environment, it was agreed in 1966 to form a national central body to take over the educational responsibilities within the industry. This led to the formation of the Insurance Institute of South Africa. At formation the local institutes were members of the IISA. The IISA acted on behalf of the Charted Insurance Institute of London (CII) in the registration of examination students in Southern Africa.
The purpose of the IISA has been reviewed to focus on building capacity within the insurance industry through insurance skills development & exposure into insurance as a profession, thereby mitigating skills shortage, improving opportunities for employment & social security thus making a sustainable contribution to the insurance industry and the economy.
The primary responsibilities of the institute to its members and the industry in general is to provide and maintain a central organisation for the promotion of efficiency, progress, knowledge, educational and skills development, welfare and the general good and development among persons engaged or employed in the insurance industry, whether Members or not and to set and communicate standards regarding professionalism and to achieve an image and reputation of excellence. Furthermore, the institute confers the status of Institute membership upon approved persons who comply with the personal standards and academic qualifications and skills determined by the Institute.