#YourIIG had the pleasure of interviewing Thabo Twalo, IIG Deputy President and here is what he had to say…
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am married with three children, a five-year-old girl, a two-year-old boy and a three-month-old, ‘lockdown’ baby girl 😊. The switch to working from home has meant that I spend more time with my family than ever before. At times it has made it difficult to focus on work but watching the little ones grow and growing my relationship with them has been priceless.
Career-wise I have been in the insurance industry for twenty years and up until very recently the entirety of that experience has been in the reinsurance space. I cherish that time because it exposed me to many players in the insurance industry and being a global industry, I also got the opportunity to travel extensively.
Learning and development were so important in reinsurance and it became something that I value as well. I think that is what attracted me to the IIG.
What else made you want to be a part of the IIG?
I joined the IIG council in 2019 because I saw it as a way to contribute to the industry. I had always participated in IIG organised events (The IIG Annual Dinner being a highlight). These events and programmes had played an important role in my personal and career development and I wanted to ensure that this 100+-year-old institution continued to help the industry connect, engage and grow. And when I found out about the education programmes it fuelled my desire to get involved.
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
This year I am particularly excited by the launch of the Careers Portal which was the brainchild of our ex-president Darryl Grater. The Career Portal gives individuals an opportunity to make a career in the industry that I love and one that I feel is so important to the economic development of the country. The war for talent is real in South Africa and as the insurance industry, we have to use every advantage we have to attract and retain the best talent. The IIG Careers portal goes a long way to doing just that. The education and mentorship programmes that the IIG runs ensure that we develop and ultimately retain our best talent in the industry which despite all its good endeavours needs to transform to make it fit for the future.
The biggest risks that businesses and individuals face including cyber do not have enough insurance solutions. The question of how driverless cars will impact the insurance industry a few decades from now still hasn’t been answered. For this reason, I am particularly excited about the launch of our IST Graduate programme which is designed to help IT graduates and experts reach their full potential in terms of contribution to the insurance industry.
Education, thought leadership and continuous development have had greater emphasis for the IIG since the beginning of the pandemic but connecting & networking remains just as important as we navigate these uncertain times. It might be tempting for companies to become inwardly focused in response to the impact of the lockdowns and the economic downturn but this is the time to remain closer than ever to your customers and market developments to be able to deliver products and services that are impactful.
The IIG offers virtual and safe (socially distanced) live platforms to help keep your company on the pulse of market developments. Our CEO roundtable and Women’s Day event are examples of virtual events that offer an opportunity to network with industry peers while tackling some of the most important industry questions. The Presidents Golf Day which was held recently allowed many insurance practitioners to safely interact with clients and partners.
Can you share a funny anecdote to help people know you better?
Earlier I mentioned that the IIG Annual Dinner was always the highlight of the IIG calendar. Well, this one year I got a bit too enthusiastic on the dance floor and had a small slip. Fortunately, or so I thought, I was able to stick out my hand to break the fall and save myself from too much embarrassment. A week later my hand was still hurting and eventually, I went to the doctor who confirmed that it was broken. You can imagine the “break dancing” jokes that I had to suffer through at work. Needless to say, that since then I have favoured the two-step as my go-to dance move.
Any final thoughts?
Now that I am part of the IIG I understand the importance of the support that the IIG gets from our member companies and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their support without which none of what I mentioned would be possible. I would also encourage other companies within the industry to use the IIG as a vehicle to give back to the industry #BeTheDifference.