We all know 2020 was quite a remarkable year. Although many had the sentiment and wish for 2020 to fly by and so 2021 could start already. From an IIG perspective, although Covid-19 and the resultant Lockdown turned 2020 plans on its head, in many ways the curveballs the pandemic threw at society unlocked the ability to really laser-beam focus on strategic outcomes.
Earlier in March 2020 at the Inaugural Dinner before the news of lockdown, the IIG announced the 2020 theme #InsuringTomorrow, and the institute committed to 3 outcomes:
- Digitalising the IIG experience
- Focusing on efficiencies and a scalable foundation within the IIG office
- Ensuring a continued Transformation focus through our programmes and council
Industry Outlook, Night-Golf and the Year-End Picnic with The Parlotones, along with our graduation events, were the only in-person events hosted over 2020 – all social-distancing protocols were observed. When lockdown was introduced, we realised the need to very quickly digitalise in line with our first objective, and I am proud to update you all that over 2021 we held 22 CPD-accredited Insights sessions (versus an initial planned 8 sessions) showcasing both local and international speakers who have joined us from areas including Kansas, Zurich, London and Munich. The IIG offered 24.5 hours of CPD content, all delivered free to the delegates who attended due to the restructured event costings. Some webinars exceeding 600 delegates which is testament to the quality and collaboration the institute coordinated.
Besides CPD-accredited educational events, the IIG also delivered further digital engagements with our industry friends which included:
- a workout session with professional trainer Jordi
- a cook-along in collaboration with the Insurance Young Guns (IYG) led by Executive Chef Dereck Nair for Youth Day 2020,
- Ladies Appreciation event in collaboration with Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) which saw over 370 ladies enjoy internationally acclaimed acts by comedian Trevor Gumbi and mentalist Larry Soffer, along with thought leadership by various female executives and trailblazers in the SA insurance industry
- The Broker Leadership Forum in collaboration with the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA) with MC and guest speaker Bruce Whitfield who hosted key broker principles and lead a conversation with Discovery SA CEO Hylton Kallner, Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip and the FIA CEO Lizelle van der Merwe.
- The CEO Round Table is an exclusive by-invitation-only event that brings together a group of influential insurer and reinsurer principles and executives. It provides a platform for these leaders to engage with a leading thought leader and discuss key strategic insights affecting society at large. In 2020, we humbly hosted many of the SA insurer CEOs where MC Bruce Whitfield provided thought leadership on the economic and political climate of the current and emerging South Africa, and thereafter guest speaker was the renowned University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng addressed the delegates.
Continuing on the digital promise, the IIG executed against the promise made at Inaugural Dinner for a Careers Portal hosted by the IIG website, to leverage our vast membership database and offer a slick and robust platform that linked talent to opportunity. This is now live and free until the end of March 2021 for employers to advertise their vacancies. The 2021 president will engage you on the commercials surrounding this recruitment chassis.
Our second objective was stabilising the IIG office, searching for efficiencies and ensuring continuity in process, rigour and governance not as dependent on councillor institutional knowledge.
Early in 2020, the IIG Exco recruited an office manager, Salome van der Mooren, to replace Liebie du Plessis whose temporary contract expired. Mpho Tlagadi who had also been on a temporary contract for an extended period was also formally recruited as an office administrator. Their employ has reinforced capacity and a foundation to the IIG administration and as society reopens post Covid-19 herd immunity and vaccinations the office’s workload will scale.
All processes within the different portfolio have been mapped and documented. In addition, there was a major drive to secure all outstanding payments and we are pleased to report back that the IIG now has less than R47,000 outstanding debtors. Furthermore, the IIG created a Netcash account which unlocks the ability to receive payments other than EFT, extremely flexible and useful especially for fund-raising and in-event purchases.
Another long outstanding item for the IIG was the VAT registration at SARS. The journey to VAT registration has spanned multiple years and encountered various obstacles along the way, of which the impact has been formally raised in the last 5 annual financial returns and audit reports. Early February 2020 saw SARS accept the IIG VAT registration, with the result that the contingent liability noted at previous AGMs was now realised at R284,282.
The IIG Office (pictured on the left) also moved along with landlord Insurance Institute of SA. The office is now fully functional at Sandton Gate in 7 Minerva Ave, Glenadrienne, Sandton, with the venue having multiple meeting rooms, a boardroom, a storeroom (with dedicated space for the IIG) and a comfortable shared office for both IIG staff personnel. Parking is safe and generous in a basement, enabling and accommodating meetings that involved multiple guests.
The third important objective and promise was ensuring a continued and accelerated Transformation focus through our programmes, and council. I am thrilled to confirm that we were fortunate enough to have continued our Class of Programme with 30 students graduating, and the Roots & Wings mentorship programme with 26 mentorship partnerships concluded their journey (this was the largest intake to date). In addition, together with GIBS Business School and SASRIA, the IIG proudly graduated 26 students from the Insurance Leadership Development Programme (ILDP). Encouraging to us was how so many stakeholders embraced the changes required and simply got on with it, from lecturers to students, to mentors, to sponsors and 2020 witnessed some of the highest marks on our programmes to date.
With South African youth unemployment even before lockdown approaching 60%, and the one risk in insurance being the aging workforce and risk of inadequate knowledge transfer downstream, one programme especially close to our hearts in that it targets unemployed youth from impoverished backgrounds is the Academic Programme which started in 2019 with 15 students. In 2020 we committed to scale and build this programme with a sustainable, repeatable foundation that provides these students with RE5, interview skills, an insurance curriculum and various social and life skill orientation. For millions of South Africans, opportunities like this will be the only way they are ever to find a permanent job, and this programme powered by the Graduate School of Financial Sciences has scaled in leaps and bounds. After the news of Lockdown, GIFS very quickly designed and developed a digital classroom, and together with MTN they commenced the 2020 IIG class of 44 learners who will secure an insurance qualification and an internship into MTN financial services – even more special is that there will be a further 256 such students going through this programme taking the total 2020/2021 class to 300 students. We are immensely proud of the insurance industry in unlocking this opportunity and it speaks squarely to the transformation mandate the council is committed to executing against. We thank Hannover Re, Bryte, Guidewire, and SASRIA for their generous contributions which are enabling these deserving youth.
At this point, I’d also like to thank and honour our marketing team for the immense support and delivery over 2020. Collectively as a team we agreed to scale our digital delivery and social content in order to remain connected with key stakeholders, and to the market. You would have seen detailed updates on all our academic programmes and with our delivering triple the CPD-accredited events, this also created additional workload for all, including the marketing team.
Overall, the IIG grew it’s social media platform audience by 27% overall (now over 17,300 followers), with some platforms showing massive growth – these include LinkedIn at 60.4% and Instagram at 36.7%. The team also refined the publication list for the monthly Informer newsletter and this now reaches close to 1,800 insurance professionals.
In conclusion, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who came together to make 2020 a success, in spite of the multiple and ongoing curveballs the year threw at us. Although we postponed the IIG International trip due to a more appropriate time for travel (all allocated funds remain secure), and unfortunately were not able to host the famous Annual Dinner (Africa’s largest insurance event), the year past was testament to a resilient IIG, where even after surviving various political climates, two world wars, previous pandemics, and economic recessions, riding the Covid-19 wave did our history and legacy of the institute proud.
To my fellow IIG councillors and office staff, to our valued sponsors for their ongoing support and partnering with us to enhance, grow and sustain our beloved insurance industry, to my friends and family, to my colleagues in this industry with whom I have had the deep pleasure of collaborating and creating value with, and last but not least, my colleagues and leadership at Discovery for their ongoing support and family spirit throughout the year – a heartfelt thank you.
I would like to wish the incoming President-Elect Tshepiso Chocho and Council all the very best for a successful 2021, and beyond.