The theme for the IIG this year has been Passion, Purpose, Pride – and I think our council has really embodied this in all we’ve achieved this year. I have reiterated many times this year IIG is not a one person show. The council is now made up of 18 council members, co-opted members, and ambassadors, and I believe we have a great team of volunteers on board who are passionate and committed to giving back to our industry. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all my IIG colleagues for everything they have done for the IIG and our broader industry.
We’ve had a busy and fulfilling 2019, with a number of highlights. Firstly, we’ve had some really great networking events, I’m mentioning these first because although I think we have evolved enormously as an institute, we at the IIG still believe that there is a need for networking in our industry. Not necessarily at a more senior level where I think people do engage a bit more often, but in the middle and junior management levels where there is a tendency to get stuck in offices and behind desks, and where people don’t always get the opportunity to meet their peers, or people they deal with on a day to day basis.
Our inaugural dinner this year attracted over 400 people, and our exclusive golf day and night golf events were sold out within hours. We also hosted a ladies day for 350 women in our industry as a collaborative effort with Gauteng Women in Insurance, showcasing that there is synergy and a willingness to work with other institutes in our space.
On the education front we have hosted eight insights sessions during 2019. These CPD accredited events are incredibly popular both from a sponsor and an attendee perspective, and again this year a number of these have been sold out events. I think our education team has done a wonderful job of bringing insights sessions and topics that are relevant and interesting, and speakers that have really elevated these events.
Our education and transformation programmes are close to all of our hearts here at the IIG. We were all excited as council to have the most number of delegates ever this year across all of our programmes. I think our programmes offer real value, are reasonably priced, and additionally, offer something that people don’t really get in a traditional office environment.
Our Class of 2019, due to its popularity had two classes this year, with 36 students who participated in this programme which offers technical skills, soft skills training, and also brings our charitable aspect into play. This year we collaborated for the first time with The Insurance Apprentice, using an apprentice style competition format to select our charity for the year, with the winning student on the day receiving a golden ticket through to the elimination rounds of the 2020 Insurance Apprentice. The charity selected for this year was the Ikholwa Childrens’ Home, and our challenge to the students was to make this not just a once-off show of charitable support, but to ensure that it is something that lives beyond 2019. The Class of 2019 have really embraced Ikholwa, raising almost R300 000 throughout the course of the year, and we’ve had the most amazing feedback from the home, with gratitude for the passion and interest that our students have shown to them.
Our Roots & Wings programme also holds a record number of mentors and mentee this year, and I am particularly pleased that we are attracting more and more mentors to the programme. I’ve always said that attracting mentees is easy, but finding mentors is more challenging, and again I think the fact that more people are approaching us and wanting to be involved in this programme speaks to the value that they believe this adds to the young people in our industry. I asked you all last year to stand up and become a mentor to a young person in our industry and I’m so grateful to those that really stepped up this year to help grow young talent.
The ILDP programme at GIBS had another successful year, and we are grateful to Sasria for their continued support of this programme. As you all know, a GIBS leadership programme does not come cheap, and with Sasrias support we are able to offer this at a substantially discounted rate to our members. The 2020 GIBS ILDP students have already been interviewed and selected and we are excited for another year of growing young talent across our industry.
A new and exciting addition to our programme this year was our first IIG Wellness Day, offered exclusively to the students across our education programmes, and with a view to encouraging holistic wellbeing and a better work life balance in the face of the pressures of working full time and studying. It was very well received by all and I hope that we will be able to continue with this going forward.
Our new education offering this year and one which I think we are all very passionate about is our new Insurance Academic Programme, hosted and subsidised by GIFS, and funded jointly this year by the IIG education bursary fund and Sasria. This programme has taken 15 school leavers through an intensive learnership programme, we are pleased to report that they will all be placed in companies within our industry next year. This programme underpins our tagline of ‘insurance as a career of choice, not chance’, and with over 1200 applicants to this programme this year, it really speaks volumes to how hungry people are for these opportunities.
Our challenge with this programme, as with most of what we do at the IIG, is making it sustainable for the longer term. It is true to say that the challenging economic landscape makes it more and more difficult each year to attract new members and increased sponsorships. As we move into 2020, I suspect that this will continue to be the case, and we must as the IIG continue to ensure we remain relevant and important to the short term insurance industry not only just in Gauteng but to our broader industry.
In September a delegation of 38 insurance professionals embarked on our 5th IIG International, this year to San Francisco and Washington DC. We have had the most amazing feedback from delegates this year, and I hope that if you were lucky enough to have joined the tour this year, that you will encourage others to go next year! It really is a wonderful opportunity and not to be missed. The 2020 destinations of India and China were announced recently, and bookings are already open.
Our Annual Dinner is always the highlight of the short term insurance industry calendar, and this year was no exception. It really was a magnificent evening to end off the 2019 networking year, and I would like to thank everyone who played a part in the success of the evening.
Following the annual dinner, we just had one important event on our calendar for this year, being the graduation day for all our education programmes, where we celebrated the success of our delegates across all our education programmes. We at the IIG are all very proud of those students who have embraced and tackled the various programmes head-on this year, hopefully igniting Passion, Purpose and Pride within themselves!
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who came together to make this year a true success, from my fellow IIG councillors and fabulous office staff, to the sponsors for their ongoing support, to my friends and colleagues in the industry for the pleasure of collaborating, and of course not forgetting my Emerald colleagues for their wonderful support and assistance throughout the year.
I hope you all have a truly blessed festive season, be safe if you are travelling, and we look forward to hosting you at some of our exciting IIG events next year!