The Broker Leadership Forum, in association with the FIA, is an exclusive by-invitation-only event that brings together a group of influential broker principles and executives. It provides a platform for these leaders to engage with a leading premier insurer and thought leader and discuss key strategic insights affecting the intermediated insurance market.
The objective of the forum is to strengthen relationships, share market growth strategies and provide the premium insurer / sponsor with a platform to showcase their business to some of South Africa’s leading intermediaries.
This year’s event held on 21 October was sponsored by Discovery. It took the form of a webinar instead of the usual sit down breakfast but this did not detract from a packed agenda and incredible speakers. Bruce Whitefield as the MC hosted the event.
To open the proceedings he introduced the current IIG President, Darryl Grater, who welcomed the participants and noted some of the highlights that the IIG has achieved despite the difficult environment. The IIG has been able to continue with all its educational and impact programmes and now hosts an educational insights webinar almost weekly.
Anton Ossip, CEO of Discovery Insure, then delivered a short address on behalf of the sponsor. The address covered key themes impacting the industry that have been accentuated by COVID-19. The first theme was the need to better understand risk and he highlighted that the Discovery shared value model, which incentivizes clients to improve their health, and driving behavior is even more relevant as clients who are engaged on Vitality and Vitality Drive had better outcomes during the pandemic. The second theme was the acceleration to digital and the outcome here was that brokers need to collaborate with insurers in order to digitize their operations, which will reduce cost and increase efficiency. The final point was that small businesses have been the most impacted by COVID-19 and we as an industry and as individuals need to increase our support to small businesses whether it be by spend or through unique commercial insurance offerings. He ended by issuing a challenge for all companies to commit to paying small businesses on time.
Lizelle Van Der Merwe, CEO of FIA, was next, spoke about the need for collaboration in the industry, and highlighted that whilst these are trying times for brokers, the broker industry had always been resilient.
Bruce then gave a keynote based on his bestselling book ‘The Upside of down’. He stressed that whilst circumstances look bad due to the state of the economy and the impacts of COVID-19, South Africa has actually faced worse conditions in the past and has survived. He also spoke on how this period highlighted the need for good leadership. He closed by stating that a good crisis always provides a good opportunity for those who can see it and take advantage of it.
The last segment was a panel discussion facilitated by Bruce and featuring Hylton Kallner, CEO of Discovery South Africa joined by Anton Ossip and Lizelle Van Der Merwe. Bruce started the panel by asking Hylton to give his impression of the last few months. Hylton echoed Lizelle’s sentiments that Discovery has been able to show resilience at this time through the incredible partnership it has with its intermediaries. He stated that Discovery has been able to grow through intermediaries. A key question to the panelists was what are the three things that brokers should focus on to survive the future. Anton stressed that advice will be more important as risks change and complexity increases and brokers should be technologically enabled so that they can focus less on administration but rather on the important job of giving advice. He also spoke of the need for the industry to adapt to the changing landscape by offering solutions for the risks of today and that brokers are a key part of driving this. Lizelle re-emphasized the need for collaboration and partnership. She also spoke about the issue of business interruption and that it was an important lesson for the industry and highlighted the key role of brokers in helping their clients understand what is covered.
Hylton’s closing remarks were the perfect summary of an insightful morning where he spoke about the need for advisors to continually improve their knowledge and professional education; the ability to utilize technology to create sophisticated broker practices; and the need to diversify income streams by being experts in more than one line of product so that they can give clients holistic advice.
The IIG would like to thank those who attended and looks forward to hosting another forum next year.