American Association of Insurance Management Consultants

Code of Ethics

The Association

The American Association of Insurance Management Consultants (AAIMCo) is dedicated to providing a medium for the exchange of ideas for its members through organized conferences and seminars.

The Association, through self regulation and a Code of Ethics, shall advance the professional standards of service and performance.

The Association shall encourage its membership to network, to provide referrals for each other and to provide an atmosphere for joint undertakings.

The Association shall develop and maintain a sound public relations program to promote its image within the insurance industry, as well as with the public.

Forward

The Code of Ethics is directed primarily at insuring and safeguarding the quality of services provided by the members of AAIMCo to the public it serves. Secondly, it is directed at achieving orderly and courteous professional conduct among the membership of AAIMCo.
The Code of Ethics provides a set of standards which members regard as a minimum level of acceptable professional conduct. The Code clarifies the nature of behavior which professional colleagues deem essential for maintaining the reputation of the profession and the services it provides. The Code provides to the public an assurance that AIMCo is imposing on itself high standards by which it is willing to be judged. The Code forms the basis for disciplinary procedures through which allegations of professional misconduct are addressed.

General Principles

The General Principles of acceptable professional conduct required of each member of AAIMCo are as follows:

  1. A member shall conduct himself/herself at all times as a professional and in a manner which will maintain the good reputation, integrity and good faith of the profession. A member shall exercise due care and shall sustain his/her professional competence by keeping informed of, and complying with developments in, professional standards. Professional excellence shall be the foundation and the constant focus upon which the member’s practice is based.
  2. A member shall perform his/her professional services with integrity, good faith and due care, and the member shall sustain his/her professional competence by keeping informed of, and complying with developments in, professional standards.
  3. A member who is engaged to express an opinion shall hold himself/herself free of any influence or interest regarding the client’s affairs. The member shall not allow any such influence or interest to impair his/her professional judgment or objectivity, nor shall the member engage in any activity which, from a public perspective, would cause an appearance of such.
  4. A member has a duty of confidence regarding the affairs of any client. The member shall not disclose, without proper cause, any information obtained in the course of his/her duties, nor shall he/she in any way exploit such information to his/her advantage.
  5. A member shall treat each other member with the courtesy, consideration and respect which is due professional colleagues, and each member shall conduct himself/herself in the same manner by which he/she would like to be treated.

General Rules of Professional Conduct

The Rules of Professional Conduct set out below are intended to serve as a guide for the members of the Association in the conduct of their professional affairs. Since no set of rules can hope to cover adequately the wide range of situations with which members may be faced, the rules must be subject to interpretation. Violation of the following rules may render a member liable to disciplinary action by the Ethics Committee of AAIMCo.

  1. A member shall comply with the constitution, by-laws, regulations, orders, resolutions and the Code of Ethics of AAIMCo as they may be constituted from time to time by the Board of Directors of AAIMCo.
  2. A member has a duty, in the practice of his/her profession, to be competent, conscientious, knowledgeable, diligent, efficient and free from outside influence.
  3. A member shall accept only assignments for which the consultant is qualified and for which it is believed that there will follow real benefits to the client.
  4. A member shall not charge more than a reasonable fee. Determination of the reasonableness of a fee requires consideration of many factors, including the nature of the service performed; the time required; the consultant’s experience, ability and reputation; the degree of responsibility assumed; and the benefits that accrue to the client. Whenever feasible, the consultant shall agree in advance with the client on the fee or the fee basis.
  5. A member shall not, in connection with any transaction involving a client, hold, receive, bargain for, become entitled to or acquire any fee, remuneration or benefit without the client’s knowledge and consent.
  6. A member shall not sign any letter, report or other document submitted to a client which the consultant knows, or should know, contains false or misleading information.
  7. A member shall avoid any conflict of interest which might impair his/her professional judgment or which may give the impression of such to outside observers.
  8. A member shall not serve two or more competing clients in the same transaction.
  9. A member shall guard as confidential all information of the client which is gathered during the course of a professional assignment. A member shall not take advantage, either personally, professionally or financially, of material or inside information which is entrusted to the consultant, nor shall the consultant make such information available to others without the client’s prior consent.
  10. Before accepting an assignment, a member shall confer with the client or prospective client in sufficient detail, and shall gather sufficient facts, to gain an adequate understanding of the problem, the scope required to solve it and the potential benefits which may accrue to the client. The preliminary exploration shall be conducted confidentially on terms and conditions agreed on by the consultant and the prospective client. A member shall refrain from guaranteeing to a client benefits arising from the provision of consulting services.
  11. Except in those cases where client relationships make it unnecessary, a member shall make certain the client receives a written contract or outline of the services to be provided by the consultant, and where possible, an estimation of the fee to be charged or the fee basis for which services will be provided.
  12. A member shall not, on his/her own behalf, or on a client’s behalf, knowingly engage in any unlawful activity.
  13. A member shall not adopt any method of obtaining business which would detract from the professional image of the Association or its members.
  14. A member shall not permit associates to carry out acts on his/her behalf which, if carried out by the member, would constitute a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  15. A member shall refrain from initiating an invitation to an employee of a client to consider alternative employment. In this context, an advertisement in the press is not considered to constitute an invitation to any specific person.
  16. A member shall retain, for a reasonable time after completing an engagement, documentation and working papers which reasonably evidence the nature and extent of the work conducted in the professional engagement.
  17. A member shall not withdraw his/her services except for good cause, and then only after appropriate notice has been given. Upon discharge or withdrawal, the member should deliver to (or to the order of) the client all papers and property to which the client is entitled. The member shall promptly render an account for 
    outstanding fees and disbursements.
  18. A member, having knowledge of an act of another member which, in his/her opinion, is in violation of this 
    Code of Ethics, shall report the matter in writing to the Ethics Committee of AAIMCo.

Conduct of a Professional Practice

It follows from the foregoing that membership in a professional body conveys a number of privileges and imposes a number of obligations and constraints. These flow from the relationship that a true professional has with both clients and colleagues. Therefore…

  1. It is good practice to have a written contract, letter of intent, or at least a clear oral agreement, between the member and the client, covering the nature of the assignment, scope of work, time of delivery of report and amount of fees.
  2. A member shall not reduce a fee which the member has already quoted to a client or a prospective client in order to supplant another member after the latter’s quotation has been made known to the member.
  3. A member shall not injure or attempt to injure by false or malicious statements, or by innuendo, the professional reputation or prospects of any member.
  4. A member shall be entitled to disclose information regarding the client which is otherwise confidential, for the purpose of defending said member or said member’s associates or employees against alleged professional misconduct. Such entitlement shall extend to any legal proceeding for recovery of unpaid professional fees and disbursements, but only to the extent necessary for such purposes.
  5. A member shall encourage a professional business entity with which the member is associated as a partner, principal, director, officer or employee to abide by the Code of Ethics.
  6. A member may make reference to his/her membership in AAIMCo when providing testimony before a court or tribunal.

Disciplinary Action

  1. Disciplinary action against any member may be taken in the event of any violation of specific provisions (or the spirit or intent set forth therein) of the AAIMCo constitution, by-laws, resolutions, orders or the Code of Ethics.
  2. Disciplinary actions fall under the jurisdiction of the Board of Directors of AAIMCo. The Ethics Committee shall be appointed by the Board and shall be investigative and advisory in nature.
  3. After due investigation, upon recommendation of the Ethics Committee and upon being satisfied of a breach of the Code of Ethics, the Board of Directors of AAIMCo shall be entitled to censure, suspend or expel such member in breach. Upon any such expulsion, the member’s membership in AAIMCo shall be terminated, and the member shall immediately cease to be, or hold himself/herself out as, a member of AAIMCo. Such member shall have the right of appeal within thirty days by submission in writing to a special committee appointed by the Board. The special committee shall be comprised of three former Presidents of AAIMCo, none of which are members of the Ethics Committee.