Madam President, the IIG Community is excited to welcome you. It was a pleasure to inaugurate you recently and thank you for putting together the first hybrid function which reached many who thoroughly enjoyed it, albeit virtually. We appreciate all that you have done thus far and are excited about your contribution going forward.
We know that 2021 will be an exceptional year especially given that you have made history as the first black female president of the IIG. Can you please share with us what 2021 has in store?
What I absolutely love about the IIG is the organisation’s desire to lead by example. The transformation has been on its agenda for many years and the IIG has always ensured that they put their money where their mouth is. Past presidents such as Gerald van Wyk, Daniel Stevens and female presidents such as Carla Jordan, have shown that the IIG is an organisation for all who believe in it and who are willing to do the hard work. Me being the first African female president is truly something to be celebrated, however, it does not come as a surprise when you look at the history of the organisation.
I am very excited about the IIG in 2021, coming out of a difficult year that was 2020. It was encouraging to see the strides that were made by the IIG and the industry during that difficult period, and I have said many times that the IIG was very fortunate to be under the leadership of Darryl Grater during that time.
To me, and I’m sure to many others, the IIG stands for community building. Whether it is the short term community or communities that most of us are from. Its vision to Engage, Connect and Grow still stands true 110 years later. The IIG is a catalyst for change as it ensures that the insurance community engages on relevant topics. The connection allows us in the industry to hear from each other and learn. Growth happens at so many different levels as most of our programmes are geared towards education and skills development. These include our leadership programme, the Class Of and Roots and Wings Programmes, the Insights sessions as well as programmes that we have introduced in 2021 – Information Systems & Technology (IST) Programme and Industry Skills Development Programme (Upsqill).
2021 is exciting for the IIG as we are gradually and cautiously going back to face to face events. There is still a lot of uncertainty with Covid 19 as the number of vaccinations being rolled out in the country is not enough to get us to head immunity. We are also very much conscious and cautious as we head into the winter months and are expecting a stronger and harsher 3rd wave in the country.
Our theme for 2021 is “Be The Difference” and we want to bring this theme into all of our deliverables. The focus areas for 2021 are the following:
- Create opportunities for networking
- POPIA Compliance
- Increasing impact and relevance through the introduction of 2 new programmes
The 2 programmes have been developed and will be implemented from June. The first of these programmes is the Information Systems & Technology programme which focuses on young industry colleagues in the Technology field. This programme aims to close the gap between technology and insurance, ensuring that we are building skills and capability in technology to respond to customer needs as an industry. Building this capability is not only critical for the industry, but It’s also critical for the country. This programme is run by GIFS and Sasria has agreed to partner with us. We are looking for more insurers who believe in this vision to partner with us.
The second is the Industry Competency Training (Upsqill). The programme is inspired by a growing realization by the industry that the future skills requirements are behavioural and cognitive rather than technical in nature. Technical skills can be taught or bought, however, the industry needs people that are critical thinkers, that can problem solve and be innovative. This is why we have partnered with IISA to bring Upsqill, which is a 2-day training course facilitated by Jeff Chen of GIBS. Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate of competence and CPD points.
What does sustainability mean to you and how can the insurance industry contribute?
Sustainability is not just a buzz word but what each leader needs to think about. The questions that should be top of mind are “Through our organisations how do we ensure that the planet we live in will carry us and future generations? What part can I or we play to make sure that our country’s GDP and socio-economic challenges improve? What role can we play to ensure that the community in which we operate as a business thrives because if that community is thriving then our business will thrive? And finally, how do we ensure that our business remains successful for years to come?
The answers to all of these questions lie in 3 strategies, contribution to the green economy, business growth and social impact.
The National Development Plan 2030 asks corporate South Africa to be concerned with education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels as well as increasing employment opportunities and building skills in the different sectors.
The country’s official unemployment rate has increased to a record 32.5%, as the number of unemployed in South Africa grew to 7.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
As an industry, we will be sustainable if we invest in education programmes that allow young people to complete their schooling and join the economically active population and contribute to the economy of the country. These are people who will potentially join the industry as professionals and will require risk cover themselves. We can proactively create a mechanism or an algorithm that will educate the young and employ them, this will also give us a guaranteed pool of customers.
The IIG theme for 2021 is #BeTheDifference. What does this mean to you?
This theme is very personal to me. I’m always asking myself what contribution will I make in any situation to see change, if things are not going well I often ask myself what was my contribution. Most of the time the way we contribute is by doing nothing or complaining. I felt it was very important to broaden this thinking to our community to draw attention to the process of self-reflection and get people to make more of an effort to proactively participate.
Be the difference means that you will not stand on the sidelines while things happen and you will not complain if the outcomes don’t meet your expectation. Rather you will throw yourself into industry problems and become part of the solution. Being part of the solution to challenges that relate to products, customers, 4IR, industry and society. It is a pursuit for excellence, passion and ultimately pride for our industry and country.
What would a successful term as president look like for you?
The institution has over 30 items on its calendar for the year. Of course, every one of these items must be a success, however, my success rides on the success of a few of these programmes as I believe they are key to the IIG remaining relevant.
- To continue to inspire others to be part of the IIG- as members, working in the council or as sponsors.
- To have created different opportunities and platforms for people to engage. Our insights sessions will be more frequent as they are digital, the IIG should maintain the attendance of these sessions.
- To gradually provide opportunities for connection and fundraising
- To establish mechanisms that will develop and support technology, problem solving and innovation for the sustainability of our beloved Industry
We are thankful to have sponsors that believe in and always support the IIG. We need more of them. We need all hands on deck if we will be able to address the challenges in the industry and the country. The IIG will not stop being the difference!
Interviewed by: Nolwazi Dladla