2021 – The year to be the difference. #BeTheDifference will forever resonate in my heart and will forever remind me of the great institution that is IIG and the industry in which it operates. The IIG also celebrated its milestone birthday as it turned 110 years old. In celebrating this birthday we remembered and paid homage to those that have been a part of the IIG, appreciating the work and commitment that they put in to make it a success.
The year was by no means an easy one for South Africans due to the presence of Covid 19 and the devastating impact that it had on people’s lives and livelihood, leaving many children orphaned and many people unemployed.
While we were coming to terms with the perpetual existence of the virus, the country experienced unprecedented riots and looting in July 2021 mostly taking place in KZN and Gauteng leaving an even bigger dent on the country’s economy and unemployment rate. Mental health issues came to the fore more and more as people lost hope.
Despite these challenges, the IIG remained relevant after 110 years of its existence. In many ways, the IIG demonstrated its ability to bond the non-life insurance industry. Be the difference was especially relevant in times such as these. 2021 taught all of us that we must stand together to make a difference and be the difference. #BeTheDifference will forever mean that we can do it, We can rise up, We can start something new, We can be excellent and see opportunities and We can make things happen.
In planning for 2021 we identified some of the challenges that the IIG faces:
- COVID-19 had placed significant pressure on the future relevance and financial position of IIG
- Suspended networking events
- Face-to-face programmes are still mostly suspended
- The IIG Income streams are under threat due to the financial impact that the pandemic has had on most organisations.
The IIG had to find additional initiatives to further strengthen its position.
This led to the focus in 2021 being:
- To engage the market to understand its needs
- Provide additional educational offerings that focus on essential industry competencies
- Align IT skills with South African insurance needs
- Develop a hybrid model of engagement with the industry
- Ensure POPIA compliance
- Celebrate the 110 years of IIG’s existence
The IIG kicked off the year with a “difference” as we started to implement our hybrid approach. The 2021 inauguration dinner was held at a studio in Midrand and was broadcast on the internet. It attracted 816 viewers in South Africa, 8 viewers in Dubai, 6 in the UK and 20 guests at the venue. Mam’ Gcina Mhlophe told a powerful story of “the rise of the African Woman” while Vocal 03, an acapella group of 3 high school boys from a disadvantaged community in Mofolo, Soweto got an opportunity to perform in front of a big crowd for the first time.
Vocal 03 performing at the 2021 Inaugural Dinner
We introduced 2 new educational programmes to the IIG portfolio.
The year 2021 saw the IIG launch a brand-new industry competency training which was named UpSqill, a play on the words “to up skill” and sort to close the gap in the industry for innovation, problem solving, and critical thinking. These are skills and competencies identified by Inseta as necessary competencies for the 4th and 5th industrial revolution, and very much need in our industry.
The programme was facilitated by Dr Jeff Chen , full time faculty at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, has an in-depth experience and interest in executive modules aimed at fostering innovative leaders, strategists and consultants. Facilitating the diverse composition of delegates is where Dr Jeff’s experience lies, and the diversity of the group positively contributed to the conversations. This programme was accredited with 5 CPD points, a great way to start the then new CPD cycle.
Another programme that was developed for relevance was the Information Science and Technology (IST) Programme with GIFS. It was the first-of-its-kind education initiative and was designed to fast-track digital transformation in the Short-Term Insurance (STI) industry by fully immersing IST graduates who are already in the industry into the STI world.
In an article published by Personnel’s Ashleigh Webber she stated that “Just 13% of graduates were seen by HR Professionals as “ready to hit the ground running” when they entered the workplace, according to Pearson Business School research. This is while two-thirds were seen as “somewhat ready” to work.”
The report further indicated that graduates themselves believed that their time spent at university did not fully prepare them for the world of work, of specific concern is the internet of things (IoT) and the fourth industrial revolution. Due to the need for InsureTech and the demand placed on the Information Sciences & Technology the IIG in partnership with GIFS (Graduate Institute of Financial Sciences) have developed the year-long Information Sciences & Technology (IST) programme sponsored by SASRIA.
The non-life insurance sector is currently experiencing some pressure to perform because of a few factors, some of which are:
- The demand for the insurance sector to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution and what it brings
- The consumer demand increases for platform-based interactions
- Organisational demands for real time information and insights to ensure better service delivery and to enhance cyber security increases as we traverse the digital unknown
Out of the 25 learners who started the programme, 24 graduated and 1 was terminated because of relocation.
In June we held a very successful Youth day event in a form of a career day which allowed the youth of the industry to do something meaningful for the underprivileged youth of Gauteng. On 15 June 2021, the IIG in partnership with the Insurance Young Guns hosted a youth day event targeting grade 11 and 12 learners as well as unemployed youth from disadvantaged communities. The message of the day was to give hope in the midst of hopelessness and provide school students with the opportunity to learn more about the lucrative and vibrant insurance industry. The aim was to ensure that the students know that a career in insurance is a real opportunity that will give them some direction in their future.
Due to covid 19 lockdown restrictions which only allowed 50 people in a venue, we invited 30 unemployed youths and learners from Soweto and Thembisa. We ensured that the organisers, speakers and panelists were all young people from the industry. A special thank you to the Insurance Young Guns for partnering with us on this.
Our Insights sessions kept the format of the online sessions. Each Insights was carried out either on Zoom or MS Teams as a 1-hour webinar. In total we brought 21 Insight webinars to the industry, issued 1854 CPD certificates totaling 2197.5 CPD hours from 3039 attendees.
This is an increase of
- More than double the CPD certificates issued in 2020
- Triple the number of attendees and
- Nearly four times the number of CPD hours
The topics covered in 2021 were wide and very topical, with some of the sessions focusing on Corruption and its Impact on our Economy, Net Zero Insurance, Prospects and Perils of 4th Industrial Revolution, Micro Insurance, Resetting The Now and Step Into The Next, Skills Development in the 4th Industrial Revolution, Tailored Solutions for Heavy Commercial Vehicles , Unmasking The Real Tax Rate and All Things Cyber to name a few.
The Broker Leadership Forum themed “the role brokers play in the economy” was a collaboration with Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA). The brilliant Siyabonga Cawe facilitated a discussion with a panel that included experts in the field of non-life insurance – Donald Dinnie of Norton Rose, Lizelle van der Merwe of FIA, Cedrick Masondo of Sasria; Jaco vd Merwe of Deloitte, Peter Olyott from Indwe Risk Services.
In women’s month, the IIG partnered with Gauteng Women in Insurance for a virtual Woman’s Day event themed Uyikho konke – You are everything. 274 people attended the event which showcased Renowned speaker Rapelang Rabana, a computer scientist, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker. South African comedian Tumi Morake and Zolani Mahola of Freshly Ground
The CEO Roundtable with Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart Holdings, who spoke to senior industry officials on the topic of “Leading through Uncertainty”. https://iig.co.za/ceo-roundtable-leading-through-uncertainty/
Other events hosted in 2021 include 2 sold out golfing events, a Sponsor’s cocktail evening, The Past presidents luncheon and the Annual Gala Dinner in November.
We also held a few council meetings and the Councils’ dinner at the Baron at Sandton Gates, with the intention to try to keep local business alive as most restaurants that serve employees in corporate had to close down due to covid 19, this was important to us.
The Be The Difference theme was brought to life by the phenomenal industry youths that made up the Class of 2021 and they have left an indelible mark in my heart.
In 2021 the group of 26 students was split into 2, Saiyans(“warriors of change”) and Ad Astra(“through the hardships, to the stars” in Latin ). The approach to the programme followed a hybrid format, and key events such as the launch and graduation were in person.
A key feature of the Class of programme is improving the networking skills of the students. They built strong networks with each other and today they have life long friends in the industry. The Class of was also given opportunities to network with the council and the industry at our Youth day event, Night Golf, Past Presidents lunch and the sponsors cocktail evening. They took up the challenge and did extremely well, also managing to raise funds for the schools.
Through their many efforts Ad Astra raised funds for Fons Luminis High School in Diepkloof Soweto. Together with the funds raised through the sale of Learner’s artwork at the Silent Auction held on the 19th November at the IIG Annual gala Dinner, the tribe raised R 132 737.00
The group has further decided to refurbish their school library/computer lab and service existing computers which will cost R 216 329.55. The proposed library and computer lab aims to promote a reading culture where critical thinking and basic Microsoft skills are developed and enhanced. All the money raised by the group will be used to refurbish the library into something that is ever lasting and will benefit not only the current learners, but reach more groups of learners, impacting them positively.
Saiyans managed to raise R 112 093.40 which included the portion of the funds raised at the Silent Auction. The group purchased text books and printers for Maphutha Secondary School in Thembisa. They have paid R70 032.14 to the school.
The IIG Roots and Wings Mentorship programme was another success in 2021. The programme is aimed at the development of the Short-Term Insurance industry future leaders (“Mentees”). There were 26 mentees who were paired with mentors holding senior positions at various companies within the short-term insurance industry.
The groups really held it together amidst the challenges of not being able to meet physically, constantly encouraging one other which resulted in a wall of quotes being created by the mentees and the introduction of an all-new IIG #MentorshipMotivationalMondays social media movement that highlights the beauty in the transformation that the programme brings in every individual experience.
The IIG would like to extend big thank to GIBS and all faculty involved: our programme partners for their incredible commitment to the success of the General Management Programme GMP, previously ILDP. Their support to the IIG throughout the year assisted the institute to deliver on a world class programme. 20 delegates wrote their exams in March 2022 and we are looking forward to great results and a festive graduation ceremony.
Learners in the 2020 IIG Academic programme completed their learnership in September 2021. A virtual graduation ceremony was held in March 2022 where 18 learners graduated.
We have made great improvements to the look and feel of our website to make it more engaging. On the website one can find posted vacancies from various companies in the industry and the CPD vault has also been improved to make sure that our members are up to date with their CPD and they can access their certificates easily. Access to information on our education programme and other events is easier to access and being part of this dynamic institute could not be easier.
The financial impact of Covid 19 was felt by all of us in 2020 and in 2021, the spirit of the IIG exploded. The reason for its existence was felt in the initiatives and activities that we embarked on. 2021 found many of us in desperate need of connecting again. Through our educational programmes and networking events, the IIG was at the centre of it all as we reconnected people, engaged them in thought provoking insights sessions and grew them through mentorship and continuous professional development. The IIG is successful because it is a community – a collective effort between its members, sponsors, council members, suppliers and facilitators. I wish the newly elected IIG president, Thabo Twalo all the best in 2022 and pledge my commitment to #ShowUp.