It is probably true to say that the Association of Burglary Insurance Surveyors (ABIS) owes its formation to the Insurance Institute of London because the need for such a body became apparent during the course of the many technical discussions held by members of the Institute Advanced Study Group 71. This group was formed to investigate methods of protection against Burglary and a report setting out its conclusions was presented to the members of the Institute on 3 December 1952.
Three members of the Study Group felt there was a need for further technical research and collaboration with other interested parties on the subject of protection against burglary, and that this need might be met by the voluntary efforts of Burglary Surveyors employed by Insurance Companies. The Chief Burglary Surveyors of fourteen offices were approached and a preliminary meeting held.
Following this meeting, a circular letter was despatched to some forty companies requesting attendance at a General Meeting and at this meeting, held on 21 January 1953, it was resolved to form the Association of Burglary Insurance Surveyors. Membership was to be personal (and not representative of companies) and was confined to surveyors employed by Insurance Companies in the Greater London area.
Subsequently, it became necessary to widen the rules relating to membership, which is now open to surveyors employed by Lloyds and Insurance Brokers and Loss Adjusters, and also self employed consultants working in the same field throughout the country and overseas.
A similar but independent Association has been formed in Australia and there are individual members in other parts of the world belonging to the UK Association. Membership for ‘retired’ members is now also possible. Current membership exceeds 400.
The Association became a Limited Company on 18 January 1979.
The Association of Fire Insurance Surveyors (AFIS ) was formed in 1976 following a meeting of surveyors employed by insurance companies and brokers. Despite the existence of other fire surveying groups at the time the need for a further organisation was identified and thus AFIS was born.
The aims of AFIS were to provide a forum for fellow surveyors to access and develop technical knowledge and understanding of the principles and developments within the fields of fire protection and fire engineering along with related areas that those involved in fire surveying were assessing and reporting on, e.g. business interruption, business continuity planning, flood damage, subsidence. In addition to this accumulation of knowledge and professional development the Association also aimed to provide a forum in which members could network both on a professional and social basis. These aims have been successfully achieved.
Mirroring ABIS and other surveying associations this knowledge and networking was provided through regular monthly meetings at which lectures were presented by a wide range of speakers a good number of whom developed and still enjoy a good working relationship with the Association and its members. In addition to the monthly meetings each “season” of lectures culminated with an “outside visit” to a fire protection/engineering related company or site. In its lifetime AFIS provided some 168 technical lectures and organised 24 “outside visits”.
Despite its meetings and membership being London/South East based AFIS listed members throughout the UK with numbers always hovering around the 100 mark. In addition to access to the meetings members also received copies of FSE and this fire journal’s forerunners.
Despite the success in meeting its aims the Association accepted the need to address the changing world of insurance and surveying hence its merger with ABIS in 2005 to form the new surveying association AiS, within which former members of AFIS and its committee continue to play an important role.
In late 2004 a group was set up by ABIS with an invitation to AFIS to create a new body. This was to reflect the long-standing change in the surveyor’s role to that of a generalist as opposed to the tighter specialisations of the earlier years. The chosen mode was to use the Limited Company status of ABIS, this Association to change its name to “The Association of Insurance Surveyors Limited” from 31st December 2004 and become the vehicle for the change. AFIS would wind up at the end of their 2004/5 season and merge into the new grouping, with a new Board of Directors having representation from both previous Associations.
ABIS duly carried the change in name at an Extraordinary General Meeting on the 1st December 2004, and the first Board Meeting as AiS took place on the 5th January 2005, with a new, smaller Board comprising as expected, Directors from both ABIS and AFIS.
The Society was founded in 1907 by the visionary Mr A C Cockburn. He was a consultant engineer and electrical surveyor for the Norwich Union, where he drew up one of the first set of electrical installation rules for any insurance company.
Mr Cockburn was concerned about major insurance companies formulating their own differing electrical rules. As well as the Norwich Union, the Phoenix, the Westminster and the Guardian each had their own electrical rules.
However Mr Cockburn’s attempts, in 1897, to arrange a joint meeting of electrical surveyors fell through. There was simply not enough interest between the various insurance companies of the day on a standardised approach.
The observation was made, some years later that, had this been successful, insurance offices would probably have led such rules instead of the Institute Of Electrical Engineers
Ten years later Mr Cockburn tried again. The time was then ripe for electrical surveyors to get together, not only to discuss the risks and hazards associated with new innovations, but on electricity in general with a view to agree on a uniformity of approach
Mr Cockburn managed to gather 15 electrical surveyors, from the then major insurance companies to meet for an informal dinner for friendly discussion on technical matters. This was held at the Holborn Restaurant.
In 1908 the societys membership was expanded to include 2 surveyors from each of the major insurance offices of the day, comprising the chief electrical expert and the chief surveyor.
Initially meetings were irregular. In 1910 the decision was made to put these on a more formal and regular basis. So subscriptions were increased, from 7/6 to 12/6, to include the cost of 5 dinners, resulting in the format that remained in place for the lifetime of the Society.
By 1912 membership had improved to 31 and around 25 attended each meeting.
It was also decided then that topics for meetings would be expanded to include all subjects arising out of the ordinary professional work of fire and electrical surveyors of the time, & not purely electrical subjects.
By 1916 to reflect the contributions of all disciplines of insurance surveying the societys title was expanded to The Electrical & Insurance Surveyors Society.
In 1959 membership was extended to include all insurance surveyors, provided they were over 40 years old and had attained at least 10 years fire surveying experience.
The society, as with most organisations, changed with the times. This included several name changes to reflect its changing role, the last being The Fire Insurance Surveyors Society.
Presentations included all aspects of Risk Control and touched on Security and Health & Safety.
Unfortunately the long standing and traditional format were not enough to maintain the Society in a changing world, with surveyors now necessarily multi-discipline, and with its long-standing limit on membership numbers. After celebrating its Centenary in 2007, and a change of venue soon after, it was able to carry on only a further three years.
The offer of a merger with AiS was accepted, and the Society wound up after 103 years with a Final Supper on 7th October 2010.
1953 – 1966 Stan Price
1966 – 1969 Don Bûgg
1969 – 1972 Ken Bolton
1972 – 1975 Mike Hunt
1975 – 1978 Roland Twist
1978 – 1981 David Potter
1981 – 1984 Ken Bolton
1984 – 1987 David Dabbs
1987 – 1990 Mike Buckley
1990 -1993 Roy Bottomley
1993 – 1996 Barry Faiers
1996 -1999 Ian Wainwright
1999 – 2002 Geoff Clark
2002 – 2004 Andrew Templeton*
2005 – 2006 Colin Robertson**
2006 – 2008 Steve Gale
2008 – 2010 Tony Seymour
2010 – 2014 Mick Fitch
2014 – 2016 Andy Miller
2016 – Present Lee Wallace
* Andrew was the last chairman of ABIS, and the first to serve a two year term.
** Colin was the first chairman of AiS